Cat’s meow to their humans to get their attention. They have several different meows to communicate different wants or needs. The chances are that the cat’s meowing before jumping is to alert you to their movement or intention.
People who have cats will tell you that their cat has several different types of meow. As they get to know their cat, they associate the meow with specific needs and wants. Much like a new parent getting to know their babies cry.
The human is the source of food, warmth, and comfort for the cat, so they developed the meow to communicate with us.
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When cats communicate with other cats, they mainly use body language and scent. They will also chitter, hiss and growl. Cats developed the meow to adapt to living with humans. It is their way of communicating with us.
Different Cat meows
Cat’s rarely meow to other cats. Kittens will meow to their mother to get her attention. Otherwise, cats use body language and scent to communicate with each other. Since humans don’t have a keen sense of smell and often miss cats’ subtler body language, they have adapted to us and developed the meow to communicate with us.
A cat will often approach, making a meowing noise. This meow is alerting you to their presence. Our cat has a distinctive meow when he comes home. It sounds like he is calling ‘mum.’ This lets us know that he is home and expects to get attention and treats.
I’ve brought you a gift meow
If you have an outdoor cat, this meow alerts you that they have brought you a ‘gift’ from their travels.
Our cat has a drawn-out meow when he’s brought something home from us. Our dog also recognizes this meow and gets excited to see what he’s brought home!
Feed me meow
The ‘feed me’ meow tends to be quite persistent and is often accompanied by the cat rubbing itself around your legs.
Give me attention meow
The ‘give me attention meow can range from a gentle meow with subtle head-butting to a persistent loud screech with them jumping on you and putting their butt in your face. This meow will depend on how you react to the first meow and meet your cat’s need for attention almost immediately.
Clean my litter box meow
Cats don’t like dirty litter boxes. They are pretty clean creatures by nature and will often refuse to use an unclean litter box. This meow can sound relatively high, as it will be an urgent request from the cat to clean their litter box to use it.
You can read more about litter boxes in my article Can You Move Your Cat’s Litter Box?
The yowling meow
The yowling meow can sound quite ear-piercing. This is to alert you that there is a real problem. Some causes of the yowling meow are:
- Your cat is feeling unwell – if it persists, you will need to take your cat to the vet. Excessive yowling can indicate hyperthyroid disease or dementia.
- Your cat is injured – it is always best to get your cat checked over by a vet.
- Your cat is distressed. Check to see what can be upsetting your cat.
- If your cat is un-spayed, this can indicate that it is in heat and wants to mate.
The warning meow tends to be a low meow often followed by a hiss or growl. This one is giving you a warning before the cat strikes out at you. It could be that you have lifted the cat, and they are not happy about it and want you to put them down. Or you have ignored their previous requests for attention.
Why does my cat meow a lot?
Some cats are naturally very vocal and meow a lot. Just like us humans, you get quiet ones and chatty ones.
If your cat was previously relatively quiet and then suddenly becomes more vocal, then you should pay attention. They are trying to communicate with you, and unless you speak a cat, then a little detective work will be necessary. Check for obvious things first:
- They are hungry and want food.
- They are thirsty and need fresh water.
- They want attention.
- They need their litter changed.
- A change in their environment has made them anxious, and they are letting you know that they are not happy about it.
- They feel unwell.
- They are in heat.
If you have checked all the obvious reasons that your cat could be persistently meowing, it is always best to visit the check-up. There are also cat behaviorists who could offer advice. Your vet should be able to refer you to a reputable cat behaviorist.
Considering that cats can’t speak human languages, they are very good at letting us know what they want or need. All it takes is for us to pay attention to them, and we will learn to understand what they are trying to tell us.
Cats can live 20+ years, so taking a cat into your home is a long-term commitment. Knowing what to look for in your cat’s communication will undoubtedly help you live in harmony with your feline companion. A happy cat will bring you years of love and companionship.
I hope that you have found this article helpful.