HomeArticles of Elisa Black-TaylorWhy Doesn’t My Cat Meow?


Why Doesn’t My Cat Meow? — 72 Comments

  1. I think just like people, some cats are quiet and some ‘talk’ a lot.
    Our Walter always has an opinion on everything lol but Jozef is much quieter.

  2. People think I have a great life too Ruth. I go to work at a deserted site and walk around 10 minutes each hour. In between walks I research and write. Then I go home and pet the cats for 2 hours then go to bed. That’s my life every workday. On the weekend I catch up on the sleep I’ve missed during the week and spend more time with the cats.

    I could have had a different life too. I wanted to join the Air Force, but daddy was dead and mama was disabled and you don’t walk away from a parent who needs you. I scored 99% on the Air Force tests given to me in high school. They really wanted me and called me every few weeks after I graduated. If I’d joined I could be retired for life now. Instead, I’ll likely have to work the rest of my life. But I have an easy job so that’s OK.

    • Your comment made me think of how I could have done much more if I had started correctly. I had a messy start to my working life really and even before that. Regrets? Yes. I can’t complain though.

      • People who had a misspent youth are much more interesting than those who always toed the line. Often they are better adults, once they figure out what it is they want to do. There is no shame in “wasting” a bit of one’s youth trying to find the right path or even just to have a bit of fun.

        Oddly, I was a better person when I was young. The older I’ve gotten the more lax and lazy I’ve become and the weaker my self discipline. Now I’m just coasting, but when I was young I really worked hard and demanded much more of myself.

        So which is worse? To screw up when you’re young and it is more tolerated, or to be useless in middle age, when you are supposed to be most productive?

    • Even had you retired from the Air Force, you don’t collect that pension until, I think, age 65, so you’d still be working. My cousin retired from the Navy, but he’s still working at the VA Hospital here.

      It’s very hard to play the what if game, Elisa. Who knows where you would have been deployed or what might have happened? Things work out how they are supposed to, I think.

      • You got that right. I was just going by what one of my high school friends said about retiring 20 years after joining the Air Force and how he doesn’t have to work anymore.

        My what-ifs are played with my first love, who committed suicide in 1998. He’d been begging me to be with him since we were in college and I turned my back on him. That’s really the only thing that haunts me to this day. Biggest what if game ever. He never realized how many people loved him and now he’s gone.

        • He was a fool to give up. You never know what will happen down the road. Jeff wasn’t interested in a relationship, so I went out with Danny, then we got married. Then after Danny died, Jeff had his chance. Jeff was really bummed out when I got married the first time, but he didn’t let on. But he didn’t let me slip away again.

          I sometimes play the what if games, what if Danny hadn’t been killed? But would I ever have lived in West Allis? Probably not. More likely Brookfield or Menomonee Falls, the area he was from. So I wouldn’t have found Monty. Change one thing and a lot of things change. If your first love had lived and eventually you had married, you might still be happily married– but would you have found Furby? He was sent to you to comfort you after your ex husband passed on. Would you still get Furby if you had that first love? Probably not. We can’t have everything we want, but we get everything we need somehow.

          • Getting back to the original subject here, I don’t think Coral needs to meow because her eyes say it all. In every photo her eyes are different. They are very expressive.

            • She’s the sweetest cat. She sits on the floor until you invite her into your lap. She loves being petted. But I do get her and Furby mixed up all the time. Especially when looking at the rear instead of the head.

    • I remembered this later. I think Michael even posted one of those “meow choirs” on PoC once. So it’s already been done. I would like to see real meows added to the music. I think even the composing software I have would permit it. You could alter the meow sounds, but I think leaving them as they are would be best. It’s a very modern idea to use everyday sounds and put them together as music. It’s certainly been done. But has anyone done meows? Someone should. But it’s a big step from writing a few hymns to putting together something like that. I doubt I could pull it off. But I can imagine how cool it would be if someone did it. Maybe they already have and we just have to keep searching for it on the Internet.

      • Tom cats sing in the night lol they really hit the high notes!
        A neighbour had 2 little dogs who when everyone went out and left them, sang a whole tragic opera, honestly they really hit the high notes of their sorrow at being left alone.
        Since one died they have taken in another little dog but there has been no operas since the old one went.

        • Doggie operas. So cute. At least you can hear the music in these animal voices, Ruth, instead of just dismissing their songs as so much noise.

          • The other side of us now we have the rottweiler with a huge deep voice which erupts from his very depths and two little jack russells who are high pitched, so we call their trio The Sonic Boom and the Yappers….you can find music in all of Nature’s creatures if you look hard enough
            Will they ever make the charts? I think not lol

            • Also the birds singing their dawn chorus drown out all the singing tom cats and all the dogs around, the bluet*ts especially go half crazed with the happiness of a new day.

              • The Yappers and the Sonic Boom. That could be a name for a new rock group, but I don’t think it would take off. Or perhaps “Sonic Boom and da Yappers” as a name for a rap group. Probably still wouldn’t catch on.

  3. She can hiss loud enough. Ask Mandy. Ruth, did you forget to take your medication or did you take a double dose of your medication πŸ™‚ Either way, you need to share.

    • I won’t really write a meow song. Just was an idea that sounded cool, but I’ll leave it for someone with ability to give it a shot (or not). I do think being able to hear all these meows we are merely describing IS a valid idea, however, and was really my point.

      I’m trying to stop writing anymore music because I’m like my grandma with her chairs at this point. Years ago, my grandma was bored, having outlived most of her friends and having more physical energy and stamina than even people half her age, she started buying and refurbishing furniture and then giving it to people when it wouldn’t all fit in her house. After my mom received her fourth chair from Grandma she said, “She needs to stop.” So it is with my musical output which just keeps coming, but like Grandma’s chairs, mostly sucks. They weren’t all worth refurbishing and since she always worked very fast, many weren’t exactly high quality restorations.

      After Carl Schalk tore one of my pieces apart at a conference for Lutheran church workers he said, “That’s ok, you’ll get better. You should have seen some of the things I wrote at first.” Except that was nearly two decades ago and it’s just not happening for me the way he said it would, and I have the pile of rejection letters from publishers to prove it. Like Grandma with her chairs it’s time to just stop. Just because something could be done doesn’t mean it should be done.

      • Ruth – this comment is alot of things, love it, you have a particular sense of humour and you are a very good writer I think. I am suprised you don’t write for a living.

          • Thanks, Michael. It’s easy to write when you write about what you know!
            I’ve been thinking I should team up with someone who is a good composer and supply the lyrics for him. I actually have a couple of people in mind. I can write rhyming words to fit any meter or melody– I am getting better at that. It’s the harmony that I can’t write. I’m not a good pianist so I have trouble writing for piano. I write piano accompaniments like an organist who can’t play piano. I keep thinking that maybe there will be a market for that, since as an organist I struggle with choir anthem accompaniments. But the publishing companies don’t agree and they don’t want my organ stuff either, so I think it’s time to just hang it up. Or if I write just not share it with anyone until I somehow manage to prove Carl Schalk right, but by then I might be eighty. Even “Simon’s Song” and the other one about Herman the Police Dog which are posted on PoC are not good. I have friends who can write music, who really can write. They might not have even wanted to attempt those lyrics (when you get away from religious texts lyrics get 100 times harder) but they would have written a lot better music. I always struggled in music theory and composition classes. I was constantly asking for copies of other people’s little theory and composition exercises asking if they’d mind if I put some words to their tunes/harmonies. There’s a song my choir does around All Saint’s and it’s hauntingly beautiful, but only the words are mine. The tune and various harmonies/settings of that tune were this guy Craig’s homework.

        • Marc, that’s what Elisa keeps saying! But writing for a living is a grind and a lot of work. I lack the self discipline to do it. I started a book about Monty, but like all the embroidery projects I started as a kid, it just sits there. Except unlike those pillowcases, my mom’s not going to come along and finish my book for me. So it will never get done.
          I only got good at playing the organ because the pay from that meant I could afford to eat every day. It’s a good thing I’m not independently wealthy or I’d be totally useless. If I don’t have that motivation of needing to eat (today it’s pay the mortgage) I just sit on my butt and play on the computer or watch the boob tube, play in the yard with Monty, or go hiking/swimming/skiing or skating. That song, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” is so me.

          • I think that sounds perfect – I’d love to have time to hang with my cats all day and they’d love it too. They made a remix of that song called ‘girls just wanna have lunch’ – so maybe that fits in better since you do have to eat as you say πŸ™‚

            Nothing wrong with unfinished projects – I have about 20 incomplete bikes to be restored but it’s not about the result it’s about the process in my opinion so it’s good to have things open/unfinished, plus knowing when its finished is the hardest part anyway πŸ™‚

              • Depends on your definition of fun. Going to parties? Not so much fun to me. Hiking, swimming, skating, skiing etc.. now those are fun and I will do them and neglect responsibilities pretty consistently. In my Boo-U days I practically majored in goofing off at Devil’s Lake. UWC-Baraboo’s FB page recently showed a picture of a geology class who hiked up there to look at rocks. Too bad they didn’t offer that class when I was there. I could have hiked the bluff for actual college credit!
                No, I’m a slacker big time. People always say I have such a great life, that I have so much fun. Well, yeah, but I had the potential to actually he somebody and I let it all go down the drain while I sat on top of a rock somewhere and looked at nature.

              • Oh Ruth you ARE somebody! The very special lady who God wants you to be!
                You do need fun in your life.
                I don’t enjoy parties either but if we lived near enough to the sea I’m sure I’d be there gazing at the horizon early every morning and dreaming instead of working, I just LOVE the sea.

              • I have never really seen the ocean, but Lake Michigan is beautiful. I can sit for hours just listening to the waves crash and recede.

          • You don’t need to write a book Ruth. You need to write articles on a regular basis about something you either love or have a great interest in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about cats. I only have to publish once every two months on Examiner to stay on their writer’s list. I just write a lot more than that because I find interesting things to write about. You could be famous with your articles but you spend all of your time commenting. You’re wasting you talent when you don’t balance both.

            • An article is a lot more effort than comments. People just don’t believe when I say I’m very lazy. If you saw the state of my house, you’d get it.

            • Ruth might be a good story teller (fiction) but that is difficult. I do agree with her that it is completely different writing comments to articles. The latter has to formulated and thought through and be coherent and have a point whereas a comment is reactive and off-the-cuff.

              • Articles need to be researched. Though there are a few things that I could just write down knowing all I need to know about the subject already, even if I did that, I’d still need to site studies and sources to back up what I’m saying. Blech. It sounds like doing a research paper and I always hated those. I will never get a Master’s or Doctorate because both degrees consist basically of writing a huge paper, which is then peer reviewed.

                I wouldn’t mind being a humor writer like Dave Barry, but he’s kind of got that market cornered I think. I wonder how he even got started?

          • Sad for you that you’ve never seen the ocean Ruth, standing in the edge of it with the waves rippling around your ankles, looking to the horizon, puts everything into perspective.
            You’d love it!
            We have the North Sea about 3/4 of an hour’s drive away, the sea is always bitterly cold even in the Summer when the sun is shining and it’s warm enough to picnic on the beach,but I love it and we always try to go there to celebrate my July birthday.

            • Lake Michigan is sort of like the ocean. You can’t see the other side, it can get really wild with huge waves just like the ocean and I guess it even has tides, but in a small way and they aren’t as noticeable as the ocean.

              • There are some pet friendly beaches around and I sure wish I could bring Monty. But what if someone had their dog there? He hates dogs. He hates riding in the car. But he’s so fascinated with water. I think he’d like the way the waves come up into the beach and recede again. But he’s just not a cat who likes to travel. I can’t explain that he’d like it once he got there. I’d love to put in some kind of water feature in our back yard. He would find it interesting. He’s been pushing rubber ducks into the bathtub again and enjoying the splash.

                I think I might get a plastic kiddie pool (make that kitty pool) this summer and put an inch or two of water in it. Then I’ll use a fishing lure (hooks removed) in the water as a toy for him to chase. The cool water would feel good on a hot day. I could put a little step in the pool so he could sit on that and go into the water as much or as little as he wanted. It would be shallow so be wouldn’t get drenched, but a little cold water on the paws would help him cool down a bit, I would think.

              • Can you paddle in the lake Ruth?
                We once had a kiddies paddling pool in our garden for Bryan who loved water and we put a toy fish in lol he loved playing in that.
                Part of the beach we go to is banned to dogs, they are only allowed to go to a certain point, I wonder what would be said if a cat went in that part? lol after all it doesn’t say ‘no cats beyond this point’
                I think taking cats on a journey would upset them too much for them to enjoy being there, they like the familiar don’t they.

              • It depends on the cat, Ruth. I had one as a child who went lots of places with us. But I have to remind myself that she was unusual. I can’t expect Monty to be like her. She came to the beach with us, but had no interest in the water, only in hunting in the wooded area there. There is a park here that has no dogs posted, but doesn’t say anything about cats. If Monty were more of a traveler I’d take him to see the ducks.
                I swam in Lake Michigan a lot last year. This year it is as cold as your North Sea and will probably stay that way.
                So Bryan had what I’m thinking of for Monty– a paddling pool with toys. I think Monty will enjoy it. If I can’t take him to experience new things I can bring novel experiences to him.

  4. Laura says Coral is in the bathroom looking up at her and trying to meow. She knows someone has been talking about her. One of my friends said she doesn’t meow because she’s never had to ask for anything.

    • Maybe she does have a problem with her larynx. Or maybe she just needs time. Monty went from no meows or a silent or very faint meow to being very vocal.

      My sister would swap you Coral for her cat Kobe. He is only quiet when he’s on the nip. I think all the meowing is asking for more nip, the little junkie.

      I think PoC readers should record their cats meowing and Michael could create a sort of auditory collage of all the different meows. I’m thinking it could be set to music with a different set of cat meows for each verse and a chorus that would somehow compliment the meows. It could be the meow song. Sometimes I get these crazy ideas and I should just stop, but I don’t. The music could even accompany the meows. What key does Monty meow in? My friend Wendy has perfect pitch– she could figure it out. After she stopped laughing at me.

      • Oh my goodness, Ruth. That is so true that it should be set to music! You have got to get a copy of Garrison Keillor and Frederica vonStade’s “Cat Songs.” You will “split a rib” listening to it, after leaving that comment. πŸ˜€

          • Okay, Babe. I am listening to Tina Turner right now, and she loves cats, just like ALL of us on this website. >..< cheshire.

          • Ruth (Your Monty’s Mom), I think that you just might be the Ultimate Cat’s Meow on these pages… You are certainly one of those, on these pages. I would like to see more pictures of your Monty. [I, sadly, wish that I could put up some of mine of my little Big! full-grown red tabby, and my almost-nienteen yr-old tortie MuckaLuck. You truly are the Cat’s Meow here, afaiac. And, aren’t we all. >^..^< prrrr….!…

      • Monty went from no meows or a silent or very faint meow to being very vocal.

        I have always though that cats develop a meow directed at their human through confidence and the human talking to them. So a quiet cat should change over time in the right household.

        I like the idea of a meow database. I have been meaning to record Charlie some more because he makes some interesting sounds that I have not heard before πŸ˜‰

        We could have a laugh doing a meow sound. But it would be quite technical and tricky. Nice idea.

        This is a nice opportunity to bring up a link to your Simon’s Song. It is still there on PoC and the audio file still works (even after the move to WordPress):

        Simon’s Song (the link opens in a new tab or window)

        • I very much like “Simon’s Song” just as much as before. It is one of those enduring, loving poems that is forever just so.

          This meow database -MROWR!- an almost formidable task, but not quite. πŸ™‚ My last website was auralfx (.com), and was supposed to allow anybody internationally to access English pronunciations of words. The database for mrowrs, meows, etc. would not be nearly as immense…or would it? πŸ˜€ IMHO, positively this is doable. Michael?

          • A cat meow/sound database would be nice but hard to do. Recording sounds is tricky because cats don’t talk to order. Then you have to knit the sounds together and make a large audio file and so on. I do have a page on PoC of cats sounds. There are quite a lot of sounds.

            Cat Sounds

            • Yes, I understand. It seems to be a bit trickier than a database of cat meows. You would have to layer them, wouldn’t you, but if you layer them with a bit of a program, write a shell or basic script in ruby or python or even, before you add the sound in to your main html and program on your site, couldn’t that possibly make it easier? or am I way off base here. (maybe that’s why I could not get auralfx. up and running, besides not having the resources with a database that huge.

              How big would the DB have to be, Michael? (I blv it might be less than what I ws attempting?) πŸ™‚

              • I don’t think it would be as complicated as you suggest. The computer part is fairly straightforward. The difficulty is getting all the different meows recorded and collated to be made into an audio file or video file.

              • I use Garage Band for recording music. One time I wanted to share (and save) one of the old cassette tapes we used to mail back and forth as auditory letters in the early 1980’s. I just stuck the microphone I use to record a live instrument or voice near the tape player and recorded the conversation as if it were a live instrument. It turned out well.
                I would record Monty’s meows with a different device– probably my iPhone instead if a bulky tape player. There is a voice memo feature on my phone. I used it to record a piece of organ music once and it turned out ok. Not the best recording, but not the worst. It might be possible to get some meows with my phone, input them into Garage Band. If I wanted to layer sounds, I’d just start another track. Then you can drag the tracks around to where you want them. Garage Band is pretty easy to use. Michael’s right– the hardest part is getting the meows. But if you know your cat you know when he is likely to be the most vocal. All I have to do us lie in bed at eight a.m. like a slug instead if taking Monty outside in the early morning. When he appears, push the button on the phone and wait for him to pull out the starving baby kitten meow. If I keep ignoring him the meows get louder. Go to the kitchen and put a plate on the counter and they will be more insistent. I think I could capture quite a variety of sounds from him. When Jeff pets him in the morning I could get a loud purr that could be put down as an underlying track.

                • I think I should record Charlie. You record Monty and we splice the recordings together to make some music πŸ˜‰ C & M Style Garage Band (whatever garage band means).

            • Garage Band is a program for recording music. I recorded Simon’s Song with it. My husband connected my digital piano to the computer via a cable he ran under the floor across the whole house (through the basement.) I can play my digital piano and input that directly into the program and it only picks up that, so it doesn’t even have to be quiet. I have a big microphone called a Snowball that I use to input singing or instruments. That is the part where Monty usually meows while I’m singing, so he has to be put outside or in his room. Can I get a meow recorded when I actually want one, that is the question!
              Jeff says if I use voice memo on my iPhobe I can email that memo to myself and it becomes an m4a file, which can be imported directly into Garage band. He says if you send me recordings of Charlie meowing Garage Band will import them. He is checking on exactly what types of audio files the program will accept.

      • May I join in with this forum? Monty’s Mom is just so non-judgemental and kind. Her comments are a joy to read, aren’t they?

        I would just like to let you know, Ruth, in case you don’t already know, Garrison Keillor and Frederika von Stade created a wonderful cat CD yrs ago. One of many favorite songs on this cd is “Alaskan Cats.” I’ve given my copy away to the little neighbor girl, otherwise I could sing out the titles.

        I think that your idea is wonderful!

  5. Elisa, this is second hand information via a cat lover friend, from long ago.

    Her cat (rescued as a stray while very young) didn’t meow either, ever. What she had been told (don’t know source) was that kittens who are separated from their mother at a very young age don’t meow. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this, but it does make some sense biologically.

    • Sounds good. I guess the theory is that the kittens learns to talk through a dialogue with her mother. Purring starts almost immediately and the sense of smell is fully functional at but perhaps developing meowing is through early contact with mum. I don’t know though.

  6. Now Shirley is our talker. She talks to us, she talks to the cats, she even talks to herself. She has to have Siamese in her. Sealy jumps on Laura and stares and meows until she gets up to feed him.

    The meowing Sealy does shows he didn’t mind being in his cage. He never meowed to get out. He sure did meow when he got stuck back in my bedroom a few times. Laura heard him all the way in her bedroom.

    • Elisa my Molly makes sounds very rarely and often when she purrs you can’t hear it but you can feel it. She is naturally just a quiet cat. But my Gigi is becoming a huge talker. She will answer from the other room if you call her. She also doesn’t like it when I leave in the morning and she starts telling me about it long before I am even ready to leave. I guess the wonder of cats is how different and unique they are. It sounds like maybe your Coral either had an owner and never had any success when meowing or just didn’t have an owner.

  7. I wonder if Coral’s voicebox could be impaired. Or maybe she just has nothing to say! Yet. I’ve had cats that didn’t purr for months, and with one of them you could feel her purring, but no noise came out.
    You could check in with an Animal Communicator who could ask her!
    Or I could swap her for my Siamese, Lotus, who will not shut up! (kidding…we love Lotus).

    • I’ll take her in a swap for Charlie πŸ˜‰ Just kidding too. That is quite a nice idea, the voicebox being defective. Might be true. My gut feel is she is quiet, very quiet almost mute as some British Shorthairs are. It is an individual cat characteristic and for her it is taken to an extreme.

    • My Shrimp’s vocal cords were impaired. He did not know anything from the hour that he was born, as far as I know, as my farmer friend asked me to take him. Kitten was emaciated, too weak to move, upper/lower respiratory, infected bite on the back btwn the shoulder blades and neck regions, eyes mattered shut, and limp in my arms, after we picked him up from under the yew shrub.

      Shrimptaro did not meow –just opened his mouth wide in attempt–for two years. His vocal cords obviously came through finally. πŸ˜€ I was so happy for him. Do you think that my talking to him constantly helped? or was it due to my MuckaLucky who washed and prrr’d and meowed, always protecting him (she is eighteen, and has been spayed since eight wks)? Both, maybe? πŸ™‚

  8. I wish you could hear Sealy. Maybe he could teach Coral to meow. You could hear him two houses over. He must have been an opera star in a past life because his voice sure carries. Coral never makes a sound. She’s a shy cat, but she comes out a lot more now than in the beginning. She’s so spoiled. She sleeps in the $120 cat bed Furby won a few years back.

    • I can guess how Sealy sounds because Charlie sounds the same! They must have some Siamese in them.

      I think she is gorgeous. A really fine cat. Sweet.

    • No doubt, sleeping in that $120 cat bad bed that Furby and you won a few yrs back, Coral WILL find her own voice. Elisa, you should hope that she doesn’t find Sealy’s! πŸ˜‰

      I hope that she does; you know that she will! She has you, doesn’t she!

  9. I’ll go for two possible reasons:

    1. She is a quiet girl. Some cats are quiet. This is how the modern British Shorthair was bred to be quiet, it seems.

    2. She sees you as a cat and not another animal because cats don’t meow at each other. This may be because she was feral and is not socialised to people. She will change, I think, in time. She may be a bit traumatised. That is a wild guess.

    3. I’ll do a third! Maybe she does not need to ask because you predict what she wants. Meowing is a request normally. Cats make sounds other than meows but the straight meow to a person is often a request for something. How does she ask for food or something?

    My Binnie was very quiet with a gentle meow. Charlie is loud. There is an obviously wide range of voices amongst the cats and she seems to have clamped up.

    I like quiet, gentle cats. Coral seems to be a really fine cat. A lot of people would find her desirable. Funny she was rescued.

    • Off topic a bit, but you seem to like to mention the cat standard Shorthair breeds, both British and American [are their others?]. As a child, I was so very confused by this so-called “Shorthair” breed… it seemed to me through my visual instincts that all cats were shorthaired, unless they were Angoras or Persians. (And, at nine yrs old, I didn’t understand even those two, until I looked it up in the encyclopedias.)

      Exactly, what it a domestic shorthair in the cat fancy world of breeding? [Thank you, Michael–if you choose to look at this with piqued interest. ;)]

      • Some cats are shorthaired and some longhaired. Some breeds have both short and long haired cats which makes for two breeds while for other breeds the different hair length does not create a new breed πŸ˜‰ Confused?

        The phrase “domestic shorthair” refers to a non-purebred cat (usually) that has short hair. The name for the American Shorthair – a breed of cat – was at one time “domestic shorthair”. I am sure I have made things worse. πŸ˜‰

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