How To Understand Your Cat’s Meow

Written by: Modi Ramos
| Published on December 18, 2014

While some cats are much more vocal than others, all cats meow. From the time they were tiny defenseless kittens, they quickly learned to use their meow in a number of ways to express emotions…and eventually their desires (food!). Every cat uses their “voice” differently, and scientifically it’s been recorded that cats have up to 100 different vocalization sounds. Here are some ways to help you understand the “meow.”



1. The “hello there” meow

This meow is commonly associated with their greeting to you if you or them has been away from each other. This low-pitched, pleasant meow will usually be heard upon arrival, usually when they are rubbing on you or circling between your legs.

2. The “I’m warning you” meow

Sometimes it’s important to interpret your cat’s body language while they are meowing. If your cat’s tail is low, and their ears are flattened or pointed to the back, while making rumbling meowing sounds they might just be trying to warn you that they don’t like something and it better stop–and fast. If not, a hiss may follow immediately after.

3. The “where are you?” meow

A kitty call like this is almost like a summon, a high-pitched chirp as if to say, “are you here?” Your cat usually will make this sound if they are in search of you and wanting to come get some TLC. If they repeatedly make this sound and you don’t see them slinking their way towards you, they may just be stuck behind a closed door and unable to get to you.

4. The “pet me please” meow

This meow can almost sound like a squeak, and can seem interesting because a cat’s mouth may be slightly open already when making the sound. This friendly meow will most likely accompany some pleasing purrs.

5. The “trance” meow

You may hear this one if your cat is using their predatory skills. Whether you’re sitting outside with your kitty or they are perched on a window sill, this chattering meow can be heard when a cat spots something it wants to hunt, like a bird or squirrel.

6. The “I’m ticked off” meow (hiss)

Everyone has heard this before, even from the friendliest of cats. While some cats practice this vocalization more than others, the intent is synonymous with an upset cat. If you’re doing something that a cat doesn’t like, it’s best to stop immediately before kitty follows that hiss with the use of their claws.

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