A Cat’s Meow: For Humans?
If you ever thought that you did a great job training your cat to talk to you, think again. In fact, she very well may have trained you!
While kittens and cats in heat usually do mew or yowl, most adult cats living in your home will meow for one reason: To communicate with people. They meow at us for many different reasons, and if you’re familiar with and responsive to your cat’s meows and requests, then she most likely succeeds in getting whatever she’s asking for.
Some believe that the communication a cat has with a human is an extension of the mews they learned to communicate to their mother cat as a kitten. Since a cat remains dependent on her pet parent throughout life, she remains a “kitten” and continues to communicate her needs that way.
So why don’t cats meow to one another as much as they meow to people? Frankly, they don’t have to.
While adult cats may yowl (while in heat) or growl and hiss (while angry), they usually communicate to one another through body language and scent. (More on this in a future post!) Since most humans don’t pick up on these subtle communication methods (or even if they do), your cat has learned that meowing at you is usually the best way to get a response.
Here are six of the most common reasons house cats meow:
- To greet you when you come home
- When you speak to her
- To request attention (affection or playtime)
- When it’s meal time
- If she needs you to do something (open a door for her, move something out of her favorite sleeping spot, etc.)
- If she’s elderly (meowing may be a sign of mental confusion or disorientation)
Is your cat a big meower? Have you picked up on her language, or is it still a mystery to you? Does she have different words for her different needs? Please share your thoughts in the comments!