Cats Meow to Communicate to People, Not Each Other

24 11 2006

I read somewhere recently that cats don’t meow to each other, rather its something they learned to do in order to speak to humans.

Generally to express or discuss the following:

  • I’m hungry!
  • I want to go out!
  • Help!
  • I want attention!

I’ve been watching my tiny pride of lions (three domestic moggies) and I’ve found that this actually quite true.

Now, purring, hissing and “roaring” are not the same as meowing and used for much different reasons than meowing. I’ve noticed that these things ARE used by the moggies to vocalize to each other.

Cats are masters of communication, and they can communicate very well with each other. Cats will use their body posture, ear position and facial expressions to express themselves to each other (these things can even be read by humans). Take Purring, this is most important in communication between a mother cat and her kittens. The low sound of purring by the mother cat does not carry far and therefore does not alert other animals that could be a threat to her kittens.

Now as cat owners (or slaves in many cases) its up to us to learn how our cats communicate to us. We need to not only learn the different sounds and tones they use, but also we need to be aware and study their facial expressions.

Sources:

http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/May02/cat_talk.hrs.html

http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/vet00/vet00060.htm

http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/jul99/932356970.Zo.r.html

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2 responses

7 06 2009
curtlow

I have seen 2 cats meow at each other while “playing/fighting”. And I don’t mean hissing or growling.

So this is not entirely true.

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