Do Kittens Cry When They Are Hungry?

Those high-pitched squeals let you know that he is hungry.
Those high-pitched squeals let you know that he is hungry. (Image: Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

When your grown kitties are hungry, all they have to do is dash over to the food bowl and grab a bite to eat. Young kittens aren’t that mobile. You’ll know when your litter of newborn kittens are hungry: They’ll cry as loud as they can until they get what they want.

Hunger Meows

Kittens are born completely blind with their eyes sealed shut. When their little bellies start rumbling, their instinct is to just cry to let mom know it’s nursing time. Their high-pitched mews don’t just signal to mama kitty that it’s time to eat, the mews also stimulate her body to produce milk. The process is very similar to the way human babies communicate with their mothers when they’re hungry.

Other Things to Watch For

Your teeny fur pals will also do other things when they’re ready to eat. During the first couple weeks of life, kittens can’t quite walk yet, so they’ll paddle over to mama and knead on her belly. This motion gets milk flowing, allowing everyone in her litter to eat. Kittens who are just a few hours old can purr as well, explains the ASPCA. Purring is a sound that kittens can make while feeding to let their mama know they are content, since they can’t meow while eating.

Warning Meows

Not all meows are a sign of a hungry kitten. Nursing kitties are often all on the same schedule. The queen feeds them all at once, then stimulates their bowels, bathes them and then puts them all right next to her for nap time. Usually the whole process repeats itself every two to three hours. So typically if the fluff balls are mewing all at the same time, those are hunger cries. But if one feline is screaming at the top of his lungs while his littermates are sleeping peacefully, it could be a warning sign that something is off. He could be sick, constipated, in pain or have some kind of medical ailment, requiring an immediate trip to the vet.

Older Kittens

Once your kittens are a couple months old and are no longer nursing, they’ll probably still cry when they’re hungry. After all, they’re used to getting exactly what they want from mom every time they make a peep. Your furry buddies may come jump on your lap or paw at your feet while you’re walking by, in an attempt to get your attention. Then they’ll wander over to their bowl, tails held high and constantly look back to make sure you’re following. All while “talking” along the way. They’ll guide you over to their feeding area, letting you know that the dish is empty. Of course if baby Felix meows nonstop, he might be telling you that something is wrong.

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