Communication among adult cats is simple and clear, they transmit info mostly through scent, facial expressions, and body language.
When it comes to vocal communication cats yowl for mating, chatter upon detecting a prey, or hiss to chase away intruders. Meowing is not a part of their natural language, it was specifically developed for humans.
It is only present between a mother cat and her kittens. The tiny ‘mew’ from kittens is a delightful, adorable sound, used to grab attention and care from the mom cat. Thus, after growing, they stop mewing unless they want to communicate with humans.
But why cats only mew to humans? Simply because they want our attention, care and affection. When your cat finds out that unlike his peers you can’t pick up scent messages she leaves on your objects, she meows to be noticed. Some scientists say that cats have ameliorated heir meows to specifically manipulate people. We can’t deny that it works.
Cat people know cat language
Dr.Nicholas Nicastro, Ph.D., compiled 100 voices from 12 cats in their real settings with their owners. Then asked 26 volunteers to rate the vocals by their appeal and pleasantness. Cat owners were able to accurately translate 40% of the meows, which is impressive considering their inability to see the cat. The owners linked the meows to the ones their cats made when they were hungry, wanted to be pet or simply angry.
In normal conditions, we can pick up more clues, from the body language and context.
Different meows. Different meanings.
Meows like any sound vary in pitch, length, and volume. most cat people learn the language quickly. high pitched meow stands for a casual “hello!”, chain them and you get a “You’re home! YAY!” or simply “ I’m excited!”.
Pleasant meows are for request: food, or just plain attention. While the harsher or louder ones express discomfort or rebuke.
Generally, the following meows have these meanings:
- Short meow or mew: Standard greeting. “Hello!”
- Multiple meows or mews: Excited greeting. “Great to see you!”
- Mid-pitch meow: Plea for something. “I’d like to eat.”
- Drawn-out mrrroooow: Demand for something. “Open the door. NOW.”
- Low-pitch MRooww: Complaint of a wrong you have done. “Hey—why’s my bowl still empty?”
- High-pitch RROOOWW!: Anger or pain. “That’s my TAIL you just stepped on!”