Do Cats Only Meow for Humans? Why Do Cats Meow?

Humans have been enamored by our feline friends’ majestic nature for thousands of years. Cat lovers will know that their adorable (or sometimes demanding) meows never fail to capture our attention. Whether they need our attention, food, or just a few cuddles, cats talk to us through their meows! 😺💖

You might’ve heard the fact that cats actually don’t meow toward each other! 🙀 A feline’s primary communication method with each other is through body language, scent, and even facial expressions. So now the question is: what’s up with all the meows? 🤔 Let’s find out! 

Do cats really just meow for us?

According to Karen McComb, a professor of Animal Behavior and Cognition at the University of Sussex, domestic cats actually are imitating a human baby’s cries in their purrs! The pitch range, while they vocalize, is very similar to the frequency that an infant would make. According to McComb, this sparks our human instincts to respond to them, as we all have a biological instinct and urge to respond to a crying baby, which explains why we can’t help but notice their cries! 

Adult cats usually don’t meow at each other, but they meow at people! Kittens meow at their mom so they can be fed or kept warm, but once they reach maturity, they no longer communicate using vocalization. So in conclusion, cats DO meow just for us!

Why do they meow

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the question is if their meows have meaning! And yes, they do! Cat pawrents will know that there are different meows for different wants and needs. Here are some of the general reasons why our feline friends meow. 

  • To say “Hello ~” 😸

After a long day of working and commuting back home, it’s expected that you will hear a long “meoooowwwwwww ~” when you enter the room! This is your little kitty saying hi to you after missing you for the whole day. 

  • For attention 🧶

The cold and stoic reputation cats have is unfair. They love cuddles and spending quality time with their favorite person just like any other furry friend! If you’re just hanging out at home and your cat starts to meow, maybe they are just trying to get some attention, pets, or a little playtime. 

  • Asking for some food 🥫

Food is fuel and our feline friends feel the same way! Sometimes, they can be a little demanding… to the point where they might meow excessively until you have no option but to give them some food or snacks! Meowing for food might also be something that they’re used to doing since they were kittens, so this behavior just continued into a kitty’s adulthood.

  • Let me in! / Let me out! 🏡

Meowing is a way to communicate with humans. If a cat meows excessively while they’re near a door or entranceway, maybe it’s just trying to be let out! The same applies the other way around, if they are outside and meowing at the door – they probably just want to be let in!

  • Cats that are struggling 😿

On the not-so-cute side of things, as a felines’ only method of communication is to meow, they might be trying to communicate that they are in pain. Elderly cats that are suffering from mental confusion or other cognitive dysfunction might meow because they feel confused and disorientated

  • To find a mate 💕

This is a little different, compared to the usual meow. If your feline friend is yowling, they are trying to look for a mate to pass its adorable genes down to the next generation! 

When is it too much meowing?

Before we determine what is too much meowing, as a cat parent, you have to determine the cause of the meow and yowls beforehand. If you’ve tried everything, take them to a professional veterinarian for a check-up, to see if they are suffering from any mental conditions or any illnesses or diseases that might be causing them discomfort. 

Ways to help your feline friend and excessive vocalization 

  • If your cat greets you every time you come home with a friendly meow, there’s probably not too much you can do – but greet them back! Give them all the pets and cuddles they need, because they miss you and just want to show you!
  • If they are meowing for attention, you should not respond immediately and give her attention. If you are doing so, you are conditioning them to understand that excessive meowing is the solution to what they want – and the behavior will continue. Give them attention when they are quiet or polite with their request for head scratches and cuddles instead! Or after the meows, don’t reward them instantly. Wait moments during their silence to respond. This method will take time, but they will surely get it sooner or later! 
  • If your neighbors tell you that your cats meow excessively when you’re not home, they’re probably vocalizing out of loneliness. A method to help aid this would be hiring a pet sitter to spend some time with your feline friend to help curb their loneliness (or maybe a second cat? 👀).
  • Maybe you’ve just put them on a recent diet as advised by the veterinarian, and they’re not happy about it. Consider implementing a high-fiber diet, snacks, or supplements so they can feel more full and comfortable!
    • If your cat is always meowing to be let in or out, maybe it’s time to think about installing a kitty door! So they can go in and out whenever they please. 
  • Spayed and neutering is the ultimate method of helping your feline friends yowl less. When a female feline is in heat – it will be known. The same goes for male cats if they sense a female that is in heat nearby. Spaying and neutering is a way to reduce the stray population and also reduce those meows and yowls that can get annoying! 

Understanding our pets is the best way for us to love them the way they deserve to be! Knowing the reasons why your cat meows at you, and the fact that they only meow at humans might be the most adorable fact you learn today! So tell us, does your cat say hello to you when you get home? 

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