The cat’s miau

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If you have cats you will notice that they ‘speak’ differently depending on what they want from you.

We can think of this as a m-i-a-u

Just an sound stands for contact. A mother cat uses this mmm sound when she calls her kittens. When two cats greet each other they often use this m as well. It can sometimes sound like mmmmrrrrpp

The sound is often used when a cat is in pain. The miau sounds like miiiiiau. When you hear this sound you know that something is not right.

The sound is a sign that your cat wants something. As in miaaaaau. The more they want it, the more defined the a sound is.

The sound happens when a cat is frustrated, or miserable and this sounds like miauuuuu

You tend to find that people who talk to their cats tend to have talkative cats. My cats have always been very ‘chatty’. Even the ones who never made a sound as kittens start talking as soon as they come to live with me. I always have two cats so I think the kitten tends to learn from listening to the older cat interacting with me.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

5 thoughts

  1. My cat is very talkative & I know that I’ve helped with this as I’ve always talked to her lots. As well as the different sounding meows, she also has a range of ‘rrrrr’ & ‘ooooo’. We get silent meows too 🙂

  2. We have many cats (double figures), but the loudest of them all is Kanga – he’s a Havana. Think Siamese, but the colour of a bar of milk chocolate all over. Very talkative, and can be irritatingly loud. Spotty is a little black female moggy who has a very high pitched ‘MEE!’ sound and will nag until she gets fuss. Aggie is a little tabby moggy, she can be very demanding and is currently living in my home office as she’s not well – kidney problems. She knows my routine, and if I’m late getting to work in the morning she will stand on my desk and ‘MAAAAAAOW’ at me until I fetch her breakfast. She also used to love to drink from a running tap, and would go running up to jump on the sink worktop and ‘MAAAOW’ until someone came along to turn the tap on to a trickle, so she could lap from the stream!

    Kanga is nagging my partner outside my office door even as I type!

  3. Absolutely 🙂
    One of my cats loves to stand fairly near the water in the shower so that he can catch all the spray on his tongue (he is long haired and comes out looking like a rat), but over the past year or so he has developed an “I want shower water and I want it NOW” miaow which is totally different to any other of his miaows.
    He tries to demand his shower water at around 6.00am (and gets no response) and at other times during the day. If I go into the bathroom, he comes in just wanting me to switch the shower on for a minute to get dripping water.
    His brother is normal 🙂

    1. Love it! My older cat has this enormous aggrieved bellow when his needs are not being immediately met. You could strap him onto a police car and use him as a siren some days. People ask ‘what IS that?’ as I skulk behind the bushes hoping no one realizes that I belong to him!

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