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Can Cats Lose Their Meow?

There’s probably been a time when you have wished that your cat would lose her voice when she has sounded out continuous meows because she is hungry or wants attention. But, did you know that your cat could lose her meow? If your cat’s normal meow changes to a hoarse squeak or fades altogether, it’s time for a trip to the vet to determine the cause.

Here are some of the reasons your cat may have lost her meow:

Upper Respiratory Infection

Just like humans, cats can contract an upper respiratory infection that can lead to laryngitis which causes them to lose their meow or to sound hoarse. The most common viruses that cause upper respiratory infections in cats are herpes (which is not the same strain that infects humans) and feline calicivirus. Common symptoms of the infection include runny nose, tearing eyes, sneezing, sore throat and laryngitis. If your cat has these symptoms but is eating and acting normal, your vet will probably recommend just keeping an eye on her. However, if your cat stops eating, is lethargic, has yellow or green discharge from her eyes or nose or just doesn’t seem to be herself, your vet may prescribe antibiotics or some other medications.


Cats can develop growths on their vocal cords or other areas of their throat that can cause them to lose their meow or for the meow to sound hoarse. Besides hoarseness or a non-existent meow, other symptoms of growths include sneezing, coughing and persistent ear infections. If your vet diagnoses your cat with a growth on her throat, he/she may recommend surgery as a treatment if medications are not sufficient enough to treat the growth.

Laryngeal Paralysis

Cats can also develop a condition called laryngeal paralysis which is very serious and will most likely require surgery. Symptoms include coughing, weight loss, difficulty eating and breathing. Laryngeal paralysis is caused by nerve damage to the cat’s voice box (larynx) which causes it to stop working properly. Because of this, the cat will lose its meow or it will sound hoarse.


Senior cats are more prone to developing Hyperthyroidism which is a health disorder caused by the hyperactive thyroid glands. Symptoms include loss of the cat’s meow or a hoarse meow, weight loss and loss of appetite. Your vet can diagnose Hyperthyroidism with a blood test. Treatments include medication, radioactive iodine therapy, surgery, and dietary therapy.


If your cat has been around a rabid animal and she loses her meow or it sounds hoarse, check with your vet for a Rabies test. Other symptoms of rabies include aggression, loss of appetite, paralysis, seizures, weakness and even sudden death. Unfortunately there is not a treatment for a cat with rabies.

Do you have questions about your cat? While our professional cat sitters are not vets, they are very knowledgeable about cats and can help assist you with your questions. We can also direct you to a vet to help you get your cat the treatments that they need if they are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed in this article. TAILored Cat Services is here to help you! Give us a call at 425-923-7791 or visit our services page to learn more about our cat sitting services.