Cats meow to have a positive conversation with you. A cat “meowing” may just be saying hello, but sometimes it is telling you what it needs right now!
Hello Bonjour Aloha Meow There are many ways to say hello, and cat meows are one of them. Cats only meow when they are interacting with humans. They do not meow to other cats. Although cats have many different sounds (“purr,” “meow,” “meow,”) they only “meow” at us humans.
Why do cats meow to us?
Cats are very intelligent animals and they have something to say. When a cat meows at you, they are actively talking to you. They are most likely making eye contact with you. This purring may be a simple greeting or it may be a cue that the cat wants you to do something. In other words, the meow could be a signal for you to take action.
Should you say a word back to your cat?
According to Marilyn Krieger (aka “The Cat Coach”), a San Francisco certified cat behavior consultant and author of Naughty No More, “Should I talk back to my cat? (Marilyn Krieger, author of Naughty No More: Changing Unwanted Behavior Through Positive Reinforcement (aka “The Cat Coach”), says the answer is “of course.”
She says that meowing is “a form of communication that strengthens the bond between humans and cats.” Krieger encourages cat owners to talk to their cats the same way they talk to their human friends. I talk to my cats,” she says. I encourage them to do so.
When a human responds to a cat’s purr, the kitten pays attention to it. The consequences of a behavior predict whether or not it will be repeated,” Krieger says. So if you respond to a cat’s behavior, such as meowing, the cat will repeat the behavior. That’s how the conversation starts. When a person responds to a cat, they are essentially training the cat to respond to you,” says Krieger. (In fact, the jury is still out on whether you’re training the cat or Fluffy is training you).
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What do cats say?
“Hello! How are you? Your cat may meow when you come through the front door after work, or when you’re looking for a sunny spot in the hallway. It’s a simple one-way communication, similar to a human nod or salutation.
“Hey, pay attention to me”. Cats are social animals just like humans, and they may meow to get your attention. Your response may fulfill their need for conversation and attention. Or, they may have other needs to fulfill. (continued)
“This one’s hungry!” Most cats do not wilt when demanding food. If they are used to seeing their bowl filled with food, they may meow for you to put them back if you forget. Similarly, if you give them food at a set time of day, such as just before bedtime, they may ask, “Should I put out the whisker licking now? It may meow as if to ask:
Where have you been? Some cat owners will find that their pets talk a little more when they are left alone for longer than usual. For example, cats can become very chatty when their owners return from vacation.
“Let me out!” Or “Let me in!” And. Cats go wherever they want, and when an indoor cat keeps meowing at the door, it may be telling you it’s time to leave or come back. Owners with screened-in porches may notice that cats meow when they want to get in and out of the screened-in area. Some cats have their favorite rooms and will tell you if the door is closed.
What if my cat meows too much?
If your cat is suddenly meowing more than usual, something may be wrong. Please see a veterinarian.
Written by Karen Weir-Jimerson.