Do you speak cat? By this I mean do you not only understand what your cat is trying to tell you when he/she meows, do you answer your cat in his/her native tongue. In other words, how many of you will admit to meowing at your cat?
I came up with this article a few days ago as I watched my daughter Laura in action. Here’s a sample of what I heard. We’ll start it off with a cat meow coming from her bedroom.
Elisa: Did someone meow?
Laura: Yea, that was Jasper.
Elisa: What does he want?
Laura: I put him in my bedroom before you got here so we could get the groceries in without anyone running out. Jasper wants out now.
This may sound like a normal conversation concerning a cat in the bedroom asking to be allowed back in the living room area. As it turns out, Jasper wasn’t alone in the bedroom. Out of the potential escape artists (Gizzy is the WORST at wanting to experience the outside world), Laura not only knew who was meowing, but what that particular cat wanted.
I’m going to take this topic a bit farther at the risk of being thought completely insane. Not only does Laura know which cat is meowing and what it’s asking for, she answers by meowing back mimicking the cat speaking to her. What’s worse (or better?) is I now find myself doing the same.
Each cat has a different pitched meow. The closest comparison I can make is how we each have a different voice. Our friends who are around us know us by voice alone. Laura takes that same principal and uses it on our cats. They appear to understand her as she meows back at them.
I often find myself meowing at the cats. They all appear to enjoy this individualized attention.
Sealy and Cassie, who are both black cats, have high pitched meows. They say Me-oh. Garfield, our gold tabby who hopefully is now in his forever home, sounded more like a goat or a lamb than a cat. He would say MA-aaaaa. His meow was different than any cat I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He would come running anytime he was spoken to using his particular pitch meow.
Why do cats have different meows? Does it REALLY matter? Do any of you meow at your cats? Until Laura made this a daily event, I used to talk to the cats in my high-pitched baby voice. Very much like the voice I used on infants and young children when I was a studio photographer. People who have heard my voice on my YouTube videos tell me their cats come running to the computer when they hear me.
I don’t know whether to feel strange or flattered on that subject. It’s much more comfortable to meow at the cats. Um…for the cats. TO the cats? Perhaps not to any humans who may overhear me, but to the cats themselves. I often wonder whether they’re thinking “oh good, mama understands what I’m saying to her. Not only that, I can understand HER!”
It’s good to learn the different meows your cat uses to speak to you. Should your cat become ill, it’s likely you’ll notice a change in pitch to alert you something is wrong.
During my research for this article I learned cats do NOT meow to each other. Cats communicate by movements, noises and chemical signals. So I’m not sure how to explain why a few of my cats meow when looking for their cat friends who just happen to be hiding out in my bedroom. I’m not sure that’s correct. It does make me feel loved to think the cats are “talking” only to the humans in the house.
Readers, please enlighten me and admit you meow to your cats? We can’t be the only cat lovers out there who do this.
I have two questions for you today. Obviously, the first is do you meow at your cats? The other is a bit more serious. Have you ever known your cat was ill by the tone of your cats meow? I’m just curious. Possibly a bit insane……I just HAD to ask.