Can you really learn to meow in a way that your cat can understand?

Hangai Lilla

2024. April 24 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Our experience is that there is almost no cat owner who doesn't meow back at their pet. Whether they admit it or not. However, while surfing the interweb, we were confronted with several videos where the creators showed different meows, which have a meaning in cat language. And the tabbies in the videos sometimes reacted to them.


Can we really learn to meow in a way that has actual meaning for the cat? Find out!

Are you really talking to me, human being?

Meow in your cat’s language

We already know from previous research that cats recognise different tones and pitches of voice, and that they listen when they are called by their own name. In fact, we are now aware that speaking to them in a higher tone of voice, in a kind, babyish way, is appreciated, so they often don’t respond to our lowered tone of voice. It’s not because they ignore us, it’s because they’re not used to it, so they don’t think we’re talking to them.

Cat behaviour expert Molly DeVoss told Inverse, that our whiskered companions also recognise the meows and sounds of other cats. So, for example, she recommends that if you listen to a cat meowing – especially if the cat is stressed or suffering – you should use headphones, because for the cat it sounds the same as if human screaming were played for us.

With this in mind, perhaps they might understand if we try to meow at them in the way we have heard them meow in some cases? According to experts, try as we might, unfortunately, they cannot interpret this kind of human whining as their own language. So the result of the video below – the maker of which tells his cat, in cat language, that the food is here: mah mah mah mah, and then asks his pet to come to him: ma-ah – is probably just a coincidence. Or simply the kitten became aware of a sound and wanted to investigate the source.

So what is the best way to communicate with your cat?

Experts say that if you have been meowing to your cat and you are comfortable with this kind of communication, you don’t have to give it up. It’s not causing any harm and it can be just another way to strengthen the cat-owner bond.

But there is a more effective way to pass information to your pet. The cat’s primary language is not meowing – they rarely communicate with each other this way – but smells, specifically the smell of pheromones. Allow the cat to rub against anything, marking that person or object as safe. You can even use a pheromone spray or vaporiser, which work for almost all cats. These, like the natural pheromones, tell the cat that it is in a calm, safe environment where it can relax and not be in danger. If you want to know more about pheromones and the sometimes quite disturbing cat habits associated with them, you can click here here.

In this article we write about how cats evolved their meow so you can understand them better.

cat meowing human meowing the meaning of meowing whether cats understand human meowing

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