The Meaning of Meow

Editor’s Note: please welcome Heather Green to OCR. Heather, who has worked as a vet tech and is mom to four cats, will share her thoughts and tips on living the feline life. As we all know, it a cat’s world and they are gracious enough to let us share it.

(courtesy Heather Green)

There is no doubt in my mind that my cats understand every word that comes out of my mouth. I have four of these fuzzy trouble makers and each of them have completely different personalities, some more tolerable than others, but each very unique. I’ve always heard that babies have different cries for when they are hungry, wet, sleepy, etc. and that got me thinking, do cats have different cries for what they want? After much research, I learned that the answer is undoubtedly, yes.

According to any vet, cats are extremely intelligent animals and communicate through cries, actions and even through p-mail (that’s right! if they are peeing outside of the litter box, they are trying to tell you something) So, I did a little experiment of my own and stopped free feeding my kitties for a day. That night, the cries were so loud and distinct, that I HAD to feed them or spend the night in my car. The same went for love. I ignored my persistent fuzzballs for a day or so and by the second night, they were all over me, meowing, short, sporadic meows for attention. It’s truly amazing that as unassuming as the feline is, they are silently demanding and easy to understand.

When my youngest cat was had a urinary tract infection, he started peeing in our hallway, where traffic was high and he knew I’d see it. As frustrating as that was, I got the message and got him help quickly so he wouldn’t do it again! When the litter box is a little too full, I get the message with surprises just outside of it, letting me know it is time to clean! Oh the joy of these particular little beasts!

The cat’s meow is different with each thing they crave. When I talk to my son who is only 4 months old, I have noticed recently that the cats start meowing and loving on me. The reason is, that is THEIR voice that I use to communicate with them, too. For years, I have spoken to them in the same sweet tones and they know that I am directing that loving voice at them.

So the next time you wonder if your cat can understand you or if kitty is meowing just to hear themselves talk, know that the cat’s meow is a message made just for you!

Heather Green is a freelance writer and the resident blogger for
and advice on nursing schools . Heather has worked as a vet tech and as a professional pet sitter for 7 years. She shares her home with four cats.

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