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What does "meow" actually mean?


Does your cat talk to you? If you've spent a lot of time with your cat, the answer is probably yes. Cats have a variety of sounds, body languages and behaviours that they can use to tell you what they are thinking and feeling.

Of course, every cat has its own idea of how and why it communicates. A talkative cat may not tell you that something is wrong, and a quiet cat may keep its problems to itself. But if your cat does communicate, we have a quick guide to what their meowing might mean. (Key word: could. If anyone out there definitely knows what cats always say.... Wow.)

<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Custom" data-headline="Will you help me?"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Will you help me?</h2>

Cats are smart. If they associate you with caring, they may seek you out with meows when they need help with hunger, thirst or discomfort due to certain illnesses or conditions. Your ear as the cat owner is the best interpreter in these situations. If you suspect your cat is ill or in pain, Rex Vets can help.

<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Custom 2" data-headline="Me, me, me!"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Me, me, me!</h2>

Some cats love to be stroked, groomed or admired and will let you know when they are open to these attentions. Have you ever been reading a book, working on the computer, or even participating in a video conference, and your cat got right in the way? It's that kind of meow. 

<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Custom 3" data-headline="Feed me!"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Feed me!</h2>

Cats have an amazing internal clock when it comes to mealtime. But many cats also come earlier, with lots of verbal reminders, just in case you might have forgotten. You'll find that these reminders get louder and more frequent as the time gets closer, turning into shorter, quicker meows as the food actually approaches the bowl.

<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Custom 4" data-headline="I'm stressed!"><span class="first_id_number"></span>I'm stressed!</h2>

Cats are very sensitive to change, whether it's a new home, a new pet or baby, or a change in routine in the house. This type of lonely meowing can be solved by simply spending time with them (see "Me, Me, Me" above). Petting and reassurance can help ease the transition and reduce stress - for both.

<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Custom 5" data-headline="I'm confused!"><span class="first_id_number"></span>I'm confused!</h2>

In some cats, cognitive function can decline with age. If you suspect your cat's excessive meowing is age-related, we recommend making an appointment at your Rex veterinary practice.

<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Custom 6" data-headline="Mine!"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Mine!</h2>

Cats make certain noises when other cats come into "their" territory (even if they only see them through a window). These sounds are less like a meow and more like a scream or yowl. You should not interact with your cat when he is in this mood, but we recommend that you resolve the situation before a physical altercation occurs. 

<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Custom 7" data-headline="Hey sexy!"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Hey sexy!</h2>

If an unneutered cat goes into heat and an unneutered male cat catches on, expect a lot of loud cat serenading. Neutering your pet not only prevents unwanted kittens, but also a lot of seasonal shrieking - it may sound like a love song to your cat, but it can be very unpleasant for you, not to mention your neighbours.

We recommend having males neutered before they become sexually mature to reduce the risk of fighting and the spread of infectious diseases. We are happy to perform these procedures for you at a Rex veterinary practice.

In addition to these common meows, your cat will probably make many other meows for many other situations. Maybe sometimes she just wants to say "Hey!", or "Hi there" or, "Glad you're home". And who wouldn't like to hear that?