The reason why cats “meow,” or make meow-sounding noises is still pretty much unknown. Cats can make over 100 different types of vocalisations, all of which have different meanings behind them. Let’s find out more about these different “meows,” and find out what could each of them possibly mean.
Although the basic meow can be used by cats for a number of reason, but more often than not, they use it to draw their owner’s (or other humans) attention. But it’s possible to try and understand what they’re trying to convey, by listening to their meow’s intensity, frequency, and observing their body language. As a general rule, the more intense the cat’s meow is the more urgent the message they’d want to convey.
Purring is heard as a rhythmic sound, emitted in a low volume with varying ranges of frequency. Now, you might think that only domesticated cats purr, but wild cats purr as well! It’s a shared trait by every single cat in the feline family. Cats purr to express how they feel, depending on their age and what they’re currently experiencing.
For example, mother cats use purring to soothe and calm their kittens down during child birth, and the first few days of their life. In adults, they’re most often used to express contentment, happiness, and safety. However, cats also purr due to sickness, fear, and the feeling of being threatened or vulnerable.
The chirp is a sound made by cats with their mouths closed that emits noise similar to that of a trill. This sound is most often used by cats to communicate with their kittens during breast feeding time or weaning. Adults also use this as a way to greet their owners, other family members, and pets (like other cats and dogs).
While humans use snorting as a way to clear their noses, or when they can’t help but laugh uncontrollably loud, cats use it as a means for self-defense. This is what makes a hissing sound, as the cat keeps itself in a low position, with its ears pulled back. Cats typically begin to start making this type of meow once they reach the age of 3 weeks old and above.
Both male and female cats have specific vocalizations for when the mating season arrives. They often use intensely prolonged moans (or meows) that signal to other potential mates their intentions of mating hence, attracting their partners. Males use it to also ward off and warn other males of their presence, and to keep them out of their territory.
There are a bunch of other meows that we haven’t talked about yet, which we will do so on the second installment. Understanding your cat’s meow will help you understand them better, which in turns will aid you to become a more loving, caring, and understanding owner. Don’t forget to come back later to learn more meows, and get to know more about our feline friends all over the world!