Why do cats meow? There are many, many reasons. On this page we'll look at the various meows that Kitty makes, and try to interpret them.
1) Demanding, loud meows
It usually doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out what Kitty means when she issues a loud meow. It can usually be translated as "I want my dinner / a treat / let outside etc. etc. NOW!" Her body language and where she's standing will confirm the verbal demand.
2) Quiet, almost inaudible or even silent meows
There's usually no mistaking this one, either. Kitty is either saying "I'm really cute, give me immediate attention," or she's asking for something that she knows she shouldn't get - like some of your dinner while you're still eating it, for example.
And hey, it works. She knows that you'll become putty in her paws the instant she pulls this little stunt.
A really loud howl may indicate Kitty is in pain, injured or seriously upset. You should always investigate when she howls loudly, to make sure she's OK.
Some clever cats learn that howling like a banshee gets them attention, so they'll do it solely for this reason.
If yours falls into this category, still check up on her when she howls, but if she's just doing it for attention, don't give her any at that point. For advice on curbing excessive meowing, click here.
4) Screeching associated with fighting
Cat fighting screeches are frightening and unmistakable. Why do cats meow before and during a fight?
Sometimes, if a cat screeches loud enough, he will frighten the other cat off before a fight has even begun.
If not, screeching usually continues through the fight as it's adding to the cat's general aggressive behavior.
Cat hissing is also unmistakable. It may be associated with cat fighting, or it may be telling a human, dog or other animal to back off in no uncertain terms.
It is best to back off if a cat is hissing at you, unless you're trying to set an unusual new fashion trend in cat bites and scratches. You're best to let her calm down, and approach her later when she's in a less aggressive frame of mind.
6) Other meows
There are lots of meows that don't fall into the above categories. They can mean all sorts of things. By listening to Kitty's meows in different circumstances, and watching her behavior at the same time, you'll eventually be able to work out what many of them mean.
The answer to the question "why do cats meow?" isn't at all straightforward. Kitty is an intelligent, complex little creature, and you can have a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable time trying to figure her out.