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Do Cats Voices Break – Is It Normal?

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Cats have pretty unique personalities. Some felines barely utter a meow, while others like mewling constantly. But, no matter where your kitty ranks on the communication scale, a change in its voice can be worrying. So can cats’ voices break?

Yes, cat voices do break. Cats can experience voice changes for several reasons. These can include laryngitis, trauma, abscesses, and auto-immune disorders, among others. 

If you’re trying to decipher why your kitty is more silent than usual, you’re at the right place. This article will focus on why your cat’s voice may break and what you can do about it. 

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What Is A Feline Voice Break

Technically speaking, a voice break refers to changes in the vocal registers of a cat’s voice. 

That means any changes in the quality of your cat’s meow can be considered a voice break. For example, when your pet is a little agitated, it can constantly meow to express its anxiety. It’s common for your kitty’s voice to go a little hoarse after such vocal bouts. 

However, if a voice break appears out of nowhere, it can be a little worrying. If you notice your pet’s sound has changed for no apparent reason, it’s best not to take any chances and have it looked over by the vet. 

Reasons Why Your Cat’s Voice Can Change

There can be numerous reasons behind why a feline’s voice can change. As cat parents, it’s best to know about these causes so you know exactly how to react when a similar situation presents itself. 

Laryngitis

Generally, a change in voice requires the larynx to be affected in some way. Your feline’s larynx (aka voice box) has several jobs, but one of the most important is helping your pet vocalize. 

Laryngitis is a condition that affects your cat’s voice box. It can result from upper respiratory infections, calicivirus infections, or rhinotracheitis. The condition can cause inflammation of your pet’s voice box, and that’s what causes the voice break. 

Common symptoms of laryngitis include:

  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Heavy or noise breathing
  • Dry coughs
  • Changes in your cat’s voice
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Standing with head bowed or lowered
  • Bad breath

Treatment of laryngitis depends on the underlying cause. For example, if your cat’s voice break results from an upper chest infection, your cat may be prescribed antibiotics. 

Aside from that, if your feline is showing signs of pain, the vet may prescribe it painkillers to help it feel better and get its appetite back. 

Trauma

An injury in the neck area or around the throat can hinder vocal cord function if severe enough. These injuries can be a little challenging for cat owners to discover because there isn’t always an obvious sign. 

For example, not all trauma results in swelling, cuts, or bruises. That’s another reason why a vet visit is essential in case of feline voice changes. 

Abscess 

If you’re unaware, an abscess is collected pus that forms under the skin of an animal. In felines, abscesses are generally a result of cat fights. 

A cat’s mouth and nails contain bacteria that can easily be transferred from its mouth to another feline’s skin in the course of a fight. When the bite or scratch is left untreated, the body sends white blood cells to the area to deal with the problem. 

As the pus forms due to the infection, the affected area grows in size and creates tension beneath the skin, triggering inflammation of the surrounding tissues. The abscess eventually ruptures underneath the tension, and the pus drains out. 

However, the condition requires immediate medical attention to avoid other health concerns. Cats generally tend to get abscesses in the head, neck, back, or tail region. If an abscess develops near the larynx – it can be the cause of a voice break. 

Treating an abscess requires lancing, cleaning, and removing the dead tissue of the affected area to promote rapid healing. Depending on the abscess’s placement, size, and scope, the vet may choose to place the feline under general anesthesia for treatment. 

Once the abscess has been lanced and cleaned, your cat may be prescribed antibiotics to discourage the development of secondary infections. 

Auto-Immune Disorders

An autoimmune disease is when the body’s immune system starts attacking healthy cells and tissues, mistakenly considering them a threat. Your feline’s immune system utilizes white blood cells to attack and injure healthy nerves, cells, etc. That’s why damage or injury to the vocal cords (a type of muscle) and larynx in such conditions is possible.

Do Kittens’ Voices Break

It’s not always necessary for a cat’s voice to break due to health concerns like upper respiratory infections. Sometimes, a voice change can be a natural part of the growing process. For example, if your feline has been with you since kittenhood, you may have noticed its voice growing deeper over time. 

Kittens generally have a squeakier vocal register compared to adult cats, exactly how babies’ voices are more shrill. But, the difference between a natural voice change and a voice break due to secondary causes is the duration. 

Generally, natural voice changes will occur over a period of time, whereas a voice break due to, say, laryngitis is much quicker. 

Can Cats Lose Their Voice

Cats can temporarily lose their voice if their bout of laryngitis is bad enough. However, aside from that, a growth in the throat can also affect your feline’s voice and eventually make meowing difficult. 

Not all such scenarios include the possibility of malignancy; however, unfortunately, felines can develop throat cancer. Nonetheless, most of the time, benign tumors (aka polyps) can exert pressure on a cat’s vocal cords – causing definitive voice changes. 

If you’ve picked up on your feline’s voice changing over time, we recommend taking your pet to the veterinarian’s office asap. Early detection in all diseases, not just cancer, can help cut down recovery time and help your pet heal faster.