I've moved from a two bedroom apartment into a two storey house. My cats have a lot more room to roam around in. My older cat meows a lot more now. He almost never did before.

When he does it, he does it over and over for minutes at a time. It's a throaty or guttural meow and it sounds somewhat anxious, at least that's how it makes me feel when I hear him. He seems to like to carry his cat toys around when he's doing it though, so do I take that as a sign that he is content?

I'm not sure how I should interpret his new sounds. Any ideas?

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    When you figure this out, tell the world. Some cats do become more vocal as they age; sometimes it seems to be based on interacting with us (mine have figured out that I like it when they "converse" with me), sometimes they seem to think they are interacting with other cats, sonetimes it's the feline equivalent of "oof, it wasn't that hard to make the jump last year", and sometimes it just seems they like the echoes. – keshlam Jan 24 '17 at 14:36

It might be a sign that your cat is somewhat insecure; that he is anxious. I think with his meow he is saying: "Where am I? Where is my place, my territory?"

A toy is a substitute for a captured prey, which a cat will typically take home. Carrying his prey, he might be saying: "This is mine!" and in this case even: "And where I take it, that is my home."

Another possibility: The kind of meow you are discribing also resembles the sound a cat can make in an unexpected encounter with another cat, not one of the other cats in the house or the yard, but one from outside the territory. Maybe there is the scent of another cat in your new house.

The above is based mainly on my personal observations of cats. I am not an educated expert.

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  • This is an interesting perspective that was completely unexpected. there could be some truth to it. I hope he settles in here. – Octopus Jan 25 '17 at 6:13
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    A corroborating anecdote: Whenever Fred had been asleep when the humans went to bed, then woke up in the middle of the night to find the house dark and the humans missing, he would howl and carry around his squirrel's tail (dad was a hunter). Dad would call out, Fred would come running, drop the squirrel tail in the bed, and curl up at dad's feet. – cobaltduck Jan 26 '17 at 20:50

Another possibility, pure speculation: Old cats sometimes lose some or all of their vision, just as old humans sometimes do. It's not completely impossible that he's using the echoes to help learn the new space.

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It may be that moving house triggered him to start meowing more. However, I wouldn't be concerned about the meowing unless there are other signs that he is distressed. When he meows, try talking to him. Some cats like to carry on "conversations" with their humans.

I also wouldn't read too much into the intensity of the meow. I had one cat where I could always tell when she was bringing me one of her toys, because she would meow very loudly and plaintively. The first time I heard that particular meow, I was sure she had been hurt, but I soon learned that it was just her saying something like "look what a mighty hunter I am, for I have slain the fierce toy mouse".

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"It's a throaty or guttural meow and it sounds somewhat anxious" this is the sound of a cat in heat! I am the OP and although I didn't recognize it at the time, because I didn't know what a cat in heat sounds like, I now recognize it. Since making this post I have adopted another cat from the SPCA. The new cat isn't spayed and she makes these noises when she is in heat.

Here are some examples from YouTube of what a cat in heat sounds like.



The real answer though, can't be that he was in heat, because he is a neutered cat and was years before I moved. So, I guess the best way to interpret it is to suppose that he was socially frustrated (maybe?). I'm sure it had something to do with the large empty basement that he was not accustomed to.

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