Many of you will know that hubby and me have a cat, and have in fact had our cat for over 18 years now! Both of us were used to having cats about the house before we were married, as both our parents had cats when we were growing up. It was therefore no great surprise to most people who knew us, when we got a cat.
For those of you who have never owned a cat or spent a lot of time around cats, you probably think that they simply meow, and every meow is the same, when in fact this couldn’t be further from the truth as they have a whole vocabularly!
Having said that, hubby and me have definitely thought that in the last few years, our cat has learned a whole new set of meows, as he seems to have been saying all sorts of new weird and wonderful sounds at us. Most cats have a repertoire of meows with different meanings. Usually they are seeking food, attention and other things that make them happy. Cats will often help your understanding along by reinforcing their meow with obvious clues such as staring at the food they want or butting you with their heads to get attention. One of the most pleasant cat sounds is the chirp, a brief meow to greet you when you come home or when they are feeling affectionate.
Here’s a brief description of some of the sounds you might here a cat making:
Low-pitched rumbling growl – Warning! Danger or other threat perceived!
Warble – Most often used to display affection.
Trill – Can denote affection but also inquiry. Mother cats use this sound to call their kittens close.
Low-pitched meow or howl accompanied by purring – Pain, discomfort, stress or fear.
Purring – Usually indicates a happy and content cat, but can also denote pain or discomfort.
Howl – Depending on pitch, indicates sadness, pain, extreme fear or stress.
The silent meow – When a cat looks at us when in a relaxed body position and opens its mouth slightly but no sound comes out, we have received the honour of a silent meow!
It should be noted that when cats talk to us, the sound they actually emit will vary greatly depending on their body posture at the time they make the sound. Each meow will differ in meaning by the tone, volume, pitch, rhythm, and pronunciation.
I’m sure every cat owner will tell you that although our cats cannot actually say any “words” or have a vocabulary like we do. they are still more than able to communicate with us by backing up their sounds with visual aids. e.g. Taking you to the kitchen when they want food, “taking” you to the door when they want out, staring at their food bowl when they are hungry etc!
So, the next time you are gifted with a “word” from a cat, listen carefully as they’re trying to tell you something!