My Cat Keeps Meowing And Rubbing Against Everything, Why?

Does your feline companion meow a lot and always seem to be rubbing on everything? Cats can rub against furniture and people and are sometimes quite vocal when doing so. Is this behavior normal? What does it mean? We have everything you need to know right here.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: February 3, 2023 | 10 min read

A cat rubbing against bed to show territory

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It is not uncommon for cats to rub up against their owner’s legs or hands when they want attention. This behavior is often a way of greeting humans and showing affection. Like all feline behavior, though, sometimes our pets can behave in a way that causes us to wonder if everything is okay. Many owners wonder about the reasons why their cats keep meowing and rubbing up against everything.

In small doses, like a cat rubbing up against your legs when you get home, this seems affectionate, but when a kitty does it constantly and will not stop, that is another story. Sometimes this behavior can seem to happen unexpectedly, and there is no apparent reason behind it. This can add to an owner’s confusion and concern.

It is important to remember that feline behavior can be unpredictable at times. Each individual cat is different. What is normal for one may not be as clear-cut for others. Just like most things on the adventure of feline ownership, there is not one specific answer that explains every feline behavior. In this short guide, we look at why cats meow and rub up against things and discuss things owners can do if they are concerned about the behavior.

Why Is My Cat Meowing And Rubbing Up Against Everything?

Sometimes it can seem like there is no explanation for feline behavior, and anything that seems odd or out of the ordinary can get written off as just a cat being her unpredictable, curious self. While this is true in some cases, there are other answers.

Top Reasons Cats Meow And Rub Against Everything

Ginger cat rubbing against a wall
When it comes to cats who meow a lot and rub up against everything, a few different things can motivate this behavior.

Female Cat In Heat

One of the most common reasons cats will rub on things and meow a lot is that they are in heat. For intact, mature females, this is most often the explanation. This behavior happens because females cycle through their heat about every three months. They meow a lot and rub on things to get attention and find an available mate. While this is a prevalent reason felines behave like this, this explanation only applies to female kitties who have not been spayed. Male cats and fixed females will not have this same problem.

A female kitty in heat will have other behaviors that accompany excessive meowing and rubbing up against things. They will be incredibly restless and, in some cases, start excessively licking around their genitals and private areas. You might notice your purr baby trying to get outside or clawing at the doors and floor. She might want to lay close to the floor or will sit with her back end stuck up in the air. Unless your kitty has a medical reason for staying intact or you plan on breeding her, it is recommended to have her spayed sometime in the first year of life. Older kitties who remain intact can develop medical issues down the line and will always run the risk of getting unexpectedly pregnant.

Sharing Scents

Sometimes this rubbing behavior happens because your kitty is trying to share scents. Remember, felines have an incredibly keen sense of smell, far more powerful than ours. They have around 200 million scent receptors in their noses compared to our mere 5 million. They have multiple scent glands located on their heads, paw pads, and even rear ends. Smell and scent are one of the main ways felines identify each other, and they can discern critical things about each other from their aroma. Felines transfer their scents to other pets, people, and objects by rubbing on them.

Marking Territory (Including Owners)

Sometimes, a feline rubbing up against you or other things and engaging in this sense of sharing activity is a way they mark their territory. They are meowing to let everyone know that you, the furniture, or whatever the focus of their attention is, belong to them. Adult male kitties who are unneutered will exhibit more territorial and confrontational behaviors than those who have been fixed. That being said, there is a widespread myth that male felines are more territorial than females. In reality, both can become territorial and protective of certain people, items, and areas of the home. Felines marking their territory sometimes also spray tiny amounts of urine to mark an area strongly with their scent. This is definitely a problem if it happens inside, and worth a conversation with your veterinarian to find the underlying cause of what is causing it.

Wanting Attention

A good majority of the time, your kitty meowing loudly and rubbing up against you or everything else at the same time means they want attention. If the meowing and rubbing are accompanied by headbutting, this is most likely the case. This means your kitty needs your attention, wants to interact with you, and is letting you know they are happy to be with you. Your kitty might be bored and need some playtime or cuddles. If the conduct happens right after you get home, this might indicate that your kitty was bored, tired of being alone, and genuinely happy to see you.

Has Anxiety

Felines can suffer from anxiety and stress just like humans. In some cases, it can be unclear if there is anything immediate causing this behavior. Mrs. Snuggles may start meowing and rubbing up on everything because she is anxious. Felines often suffer from separation anxiety and can start to become uncomfortable if their owners are away from home for too long. They also can become scared and threatened. Felines are far more sensitive than owners realize, and something as simple as the furniture being rearranged, a change in their litter, a dirty litter box, or sudden substantial changes to the household can trigger feelings of anxiety.

Anxious felines can also start to increase their self-grooming, be restless and lethargic, want to sleep a lot, and lose interest in food. Pay attention to your pet, and provide support if they are feeling anxious or threatened. You can speak to your vet about long-term treatment and try to eliminate things in the home that might be causing them to feel this way. Some simple things like leaving a radio or television on when you are not home and providing a wide variety of toys and exercise options throughout the day may help. You can also try using an air purifier or a pheromone diffuser to introduce calming scents into the home environment.

Is Hungry

If this set of actions comes on suddenly and looks pretty intense, your pet is clearly trying to communicate something to you. A good majority of the time, this means purr babies are hungry. Remember, felines cannot tell us how they feel, so they must communicate through behavior. A feline that is constantly rubbing up on things and people while loudly meowing is clearly trying to share something with their owners.

In Pain Or Sick

Pay attention to the intensity level at which your cat is meowing and how hard they work to get your attention. Sometimes this behavior of rubbing up on things and meowing a lot can mean that a feline is in pain, injured, or sick. Felines are very skilled at hiding injury and illness from their owners. They can mask symptoms very well, which can often lead to them being quite ill before owners realize anything is happening. Pay close attention to your cat’s state when they start meowing and behaving this way. Do they seem pained? Are they lethargic? Have they been eating regularly and using the litter box? If your pet seems extremely agitated, confused, or has low energy, contact your veterinarian for an examination.

My Cat Is Meowing Non-Stop

A feline that is meowing nonstop with no apparent trigger warrants further investigation. It may be time to schedule a checkup with the veterinarian for an examination and to ensure nothing is going on. A feline that is behaving this way is very clearly trying to communicate something to its owners. If your purr baby is starting to act hostile or seems distressed, taking an emergency trip to the vet may be worthwhile. Make sure to provide them with plenty of food and fresh water, and if possible, examine them to see if they have any injuries.

Unless your purr baby is exceedingly vocal normally, excessive meowing is usually a sign that there is something else going on. This might not always be a medical situation. Sometimes kitties can feel threatened in their home environment, especially when a new pet or person comes in. Sudden changes to their household environment and daily routine can trigger stress reactions.

There are some breeds that are more vocal than others. These include the Savannah, Bengal, Siamese, Persian, Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Sphynx, Tonkinese, Peterbald, Turkish Van, and American Shorthair. With some kitties meowing a lot and rubbing up against their humans is simply normal behavior for the breed.

Why Is My Cat Rubbing On Me And Purring?

A stray cat rubs against the leg of a person
Purring usually indicates that a kitty is incredibly comfortable, relaxed, and calm.

Purring is actually more common than meowing. When your feline friend is rubbing on you and purring, it generally means they are content and happy. However, if kitties are not relaxed and seem agitated, it can also be a way they are trying to communicate to you that something is wrong. Sometimes a feline will purr when hungry, or they know it is close to mealtime.

Pay attention to the surroundings and the general physical and mental state of your pet. If they are curled up next to you, rubbing their head on you and purring, this is usually a good sign. An angry kitty who is purring and nipping at your ankles or aggressively rubbing on your feet may need more attention.

How Can I Make My Cat Stop Meowing And Rubbing Against Everything? Should I?

Many owners may find this behavior bothersome and want to know how to stop it. Always try first to identify what is causing your kitty to behave this way. Once you have ruled out any immediate basic needs, illness, injury, anxiety, or something that might be causing them to suffer, owners have a choice to make. Depending on your purr baby’s personality, this behavior may be acceptable and even expected. Other times it will seem to start suddenly and can be very invasive.

Once you have ruled out any underlying cause, owners can do a few things if they decide to stop this behavior. Remember that felines rubbing on each other, their trusted humans, and even furniture is part of their normal routine. However, if it becomes excessive, owners may want to step in to try and discourage it.

You can remove a piece of furniture that pets might be drawn to or focused on. If your kitty starts meowing a lot and rubbing on you when you get home, walk in with a treat ready and give them cuddles at arm’s length. Provide them with a distraction to deter them from starting the behavior.

Provide your pet with plenty of entertainment. Keep a revolving variety of toys, things like exercise wheels, towers, and even pathways for them to climb throughout the house. Provide your kitty with plenty of entertainment. Even puzzle feeders can be a fantastic addition and keep them entertained for quite a long time.

Remember that your kitty might simply behave this way because they want to spend time with you. They may need comfort, reassurance, and interaction. It is essential that they feel safe and comfortable in their home. Anytime a kitty behaves in a way that is uncharacteristic of their personality, owners should pay attention. It is crucial to ensure that nothing has disturbed them or is causing them pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my cat meowing and clawing on the floor?

In order to answer this question, it is important to determine if your kitty is clawing at the floor or kneading the floor. Felines often paw at the floor for varied reasons. Sometimes this is common when they eat and is an action they do to comfort themselves. Pawing at their food area helps wipe away their scent and tracks, something they do as a protective instinct. A feline kneading or pawing on the floor may be trying to find a soft place to lie down, might be looking for something, or possibly might be anticipating something like a treat or a tasty meal.

Will my cat ever stop meowing and rubbing on everything?

There is no straight answer to this question. Some kitties will engage in this conduct regardless of what owners do to stop them. There may be absolutely nothing wrong, and this is just something they like to do and how they communicate. Other felines who are behaving this way due to an underlying medical issue or other triggers often will stop the behavior once owners have identified the issue and worked to treat it. Some kitties will always meow and rub up on your legs when they say hello. For others, it is a well-known way to get your attention and for you to do their bidding. Whether or not a kitty will stop doing this depends on the individual animal and specific circumstances.

Is something wrong with my cat if they keep rubbing on things and won’t stop?

Rubbing on objects and meowing are perfectly normal parts of feline behavior. In many cases, these are natural ways a kitty expresses herself and communicates with the world around her. Sometimes this may indicate an underlying issue, but not always. It is usually normal behavior, but owners should always pay attention if things start to get aggressive or seem more intense. Any conduct that seems wildly out of character and starts suddenly is worth a conversation with the vet.

Final Thoughts

Though this conduct can sometimes be annoying and may seem aggressive, most of the time, if a kitty is meowing a lot and rubbing on everything, they are simply acting normal. For most owners, this is a welcome and endearing way a pet shows love. It is essential to pay attention to what is happening around them and the specific circumstances. A cat that is sick, hungry, anxious, injured, or needs attention in some other way may aggressively start meowing and rubbing on everything around. For others, this is a normal way of greeting, so owners should always pay close attention.

Owners who do not appreciate their pets behaving this way can try to discourage it by offering up treats, new toys, and lots of cuddles while redirecting their attention to something else. Keep in mind that the information that we have presented in this article is to inform and guide. It is not meant to substitute for advice from your veterinarian or licensed feline trainer. If you are concerned about your cat’s specific behavior and other symptoms that accompany it, then it is best to contact your vet to discuss your concerns.

Cat playing with a ball

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