Cat Lost Voice: 3 Reasons Why Your Cat Can't Meow

A sick cat that has lost their voice sleeping on a pillow

Key takeaways

Sometimes, our kitties can be quieter than usual. Often, this isn't anything to worry about, but on rare occasions, it can indicate a serious health problem.

We're exploring the top 3 reasons why your cat has lost their voice so you can get them the care they need.

We'll also offer our top tips on how to care for a sick kitty so you can be the best pet parent possible.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. 3 Reasons why your cat can't meow
  3. How to care for your cat when they're sick
  4. FAQs
  5. Final thoughts

3 Reasons why your cat can't meow

If your furry friend suddenly can't meow, it means your cat's larynx is inflamed. Cat laryngitis can be caused by many things, some serious and some very common. So, before you begin to panic, check out these top reasons and observe your kitty.

1. Upper respiratory infections

Like humans, a cat's immune system can often be compromised by infectious diseases and general illnesses. When this affects your kitty's upper respiratory tract, it can inflame your cat's throat, leading to cat laryngitis.
Some common infections and their symptoms include:

Feline Herpes Virus: This viral illness causes nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, and fever. 97% of cats are exposed to this virus in their lifetime, so it's super common. Depending on the severity of your kitty's case, they may need antibiotics, but in most cases, they just need lots of rest and care! (source)

Feline Calicivirus: This is another common infection that can inflame and irritate all areas of your cat's upper respiratory tract, causing symptoms like discharge and swelling. However, when left untreated, it can have the potential to cause pneumonia as it spreads to the lungs. This is why it's essential to get your cat checked up if they don't start to get better with care and hydration.

Fungal infections: This is a more serious condition that should be treated as soon as you suspect it. Fungal infections may start in the nose and throat but can quickly spread throughout the body, like vital organs or the central nervous system. It's common for your cat's vocalization to be altered and for painful swelling to occur.

A sick cat sleeping after losing their voice

2. Injury

If your feline friend is an adventurer, they may have gotten into some trouble during their most recent exploration. Whether they've fallen from a height, become trapped or stuck, or got into a fight with some other neighborhood cats, it's possible they've injured their throat.
If this has occurred, your cat's larynx will begin to swell. This can change their vocalization and make it difficult or even impossible to meow!
It can be difficult to identify injuries in cats. If they're in pain, they will usually isolate themselves and avoid anyone going near the area that's sore. Look out for the following signs that your kitty may be injured:

Purring: It may seem counterintuitive because we associate purring with a happy kitty, but it's actually a form of self healing. So, if they're experiencing pain, they will try to comfort themselves by purring.

Excessive licking: Cats will instinctually lick the area that is causing them pain in an attempt to soothe it.

Hiding and not eating: Not eating is a common symptom of pain, especially in a cat's throat. Alongside this, hiding and isolating themselves in an instinctual response when they recognize that they are in a vulnerable position.

A cat hiding after getting injured

Whether they've fallen from a height, become trapped or stuck, or got into a fight with some other neighborhood cats, it's possible they've injured their throat.

3. Object lodged in their throat

Sometimes, when your cat loses their voice, it isn't to do with underlying health conditions at all. In fact, often, they've managed to get something stuck in their throat.
If you've got a particularly adventurous hunter, it's likely they've managed to catch birds, mice, and other small animals. Most often, cats will naturally leave the bits of the animal they don't want to eat. However, hungry cats may try to eat them whole. This can lead to bones getting stuck in their throat.
But this is just one scenario! There are many situations every day that could lead to our cat munching on something that's not safe. Look out for the following signs that something is blocking their throat:

Pawing at their mouth




Difficulty swallowing or breathing

A cat eating a big bowl of food

How to care for your cat when they're sick

If your kitty has a cat cold or is showing cat laryngitis symptoms, it's important you give them the care they need. After all, our furry friends are always there to comfort us when we're ill!

Give them wet food

Avoiding dry and crunchy food can help sooth your kitty's sore throat. They'll also have an easier time swallowing and it'll prevent any further damage to your cat's larynx.
Alongside wet food, you can try liquid treats and nutritious human food, like chicken. Whatever will encourage them to eat more is worth trying!
A cat looking at lots of food offered to them

If your kitty has a cat cold or is showing cat laryngitis symptoms, it's important you give them the care they need. After all, our furry friends are always there to comfort us when we're ill!

Keep them company

It's likely your furry friend is feeling a little sorry for themselves. They may also feel worried or scared if they don't know what's wrong with them. Providing extra comfort and love in these times is essential, especially as they'll want to hide away.
If they are hiding, try to get them out by:

Sitting with them and talking softly with them

Leave tasty treats and strong-smelling food near them

Keep the house nice and quiet and avoid visitors

Take them to the vet

When you notice symptoms that your cat hasn't previously had, your first step should always be to get professional advice. Unfortunately, there is plenty of misinformation online, so it's not enough to simply Google your cat's symptoms.
Talk with your vet over the phone, and if they need to see your kitty in person, book an appointment with them straight away. They'll be able to check your best bud over and prescribe any medicine that will help them recover.
A cat at a vet getting checked up


What should I do if my cat lost her voice?

If your cat suddenly loses their voice, you should get professional advice. While normally this means your cat may have a bit of a cold, sometimes it can indicate a more serious underlying health condition, so it's always important to get them checked.

How long will a cat lose its voice?

Most cats will only lose their voice for a few days at a time. Similarly to humans, when cats get a cold or infection, they can lose their voice. But as soon as they recover, they should be able to meow again!

Why does my cat meow but no sound comes out?

If your cat meows but no sound comes out, this means they have lost their voice. This can indicate that they have a cold or an infection. Keep an eye on them and if it doesn't improve, get professional advice.

Why is my cat's meow weak and raspy?

If your cat's meow is weak and raspy, this probably means they have a bit of a cold! However, it can sometimes indicate something more serious, like an injury to their throat or something blocking their throat. Observe them and seek professional advice if you're worried.

Is cat laryngitis serious?

Cat laryngitis is often not serious. Most of the time, it is caused by a cold or infection that usually goes away on its own. However, it can indicate more serious health conditions, so observe them for a couple of days, and if they don't improve, seek professional advice.

Should I be worried if my cat lost its voice?

If your cat lost their voice, it's probably nothing to worry about. It's usually an indication that they are suffering from a cold or mild infection. However, sometimes it can be caused by more serious health conditions or injuries, so if they don't improve, contact a vet for advice.

Final thoughts

As we've said, if your cat has lost their voice, it's probably just a little cold. But it never hurts to check it out and get some professional advice! For now, observe your kitty and see how they go.
Remember, your cat is also probably a little worried and confused, so make sure you give them some extra love and cuddles and maybe even a little treat!

Written by

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Lauren Jeffries

In this blog, I combine my two areas of expertise: pets and writing. I share my personal experiences alongside plenty of animal behavior research to help owners look after their pets. I have always lived with furry friends and am now a loving cat mum to two orange kitties.

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