The Cats Meow and Feline Purr

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What’s this Cat Saying

Cats use a lot of body language and facial expressions to communicate with us but this page is about the cats meow.

Did you know that cats can make over a hundred different sounds? Pleasant soothing sounds like the purr, to a wide variety of meows that can have a nerve rattling pitch to it. They can even produce a fierce growl.

They create this range of sounds by passing air over their vocal chords varying the extent to which the mouth is open and altering the muscle tension in the throat and lips.

Every cat owner should take the time to learn the quirks of there animals vocalizations. Being able to distinguish between The different cat meows from your own pets can help with bonding and communication.

House cats converse much more than feral cats because they have discovered that language is important to us humans.

For instance, most of us talk to our cats as we prepare their food. Usually this conversation is about asking them to hold their horses, not to be impatient or greedy.

If we open a door to let them into the house we almost always say hi. If we complain about their wet feet on the carpet often I think they understand to some extent.

It may be in this way that cats associate language with action. In a similar way they can train us to understand their language in the form of different cat meows and body language. A cat will meow in a certain way and run to the door, which obviously means “let me out.”

When we go into the kitchen, a cat will give a quite different meow sound which means “I am hungry.”

The owner is not the only one who can understand this cats meow. If there are other cats in the home which also hear the “I am hungry” meow, they will rush to the kitchen also in the hope of being fed.

Their own cats meow “I am hungry” may sound quite different to the one they have responded to, but they understand it nevertheless, just as we do. We soon learn to distinguish between the different calls if we listen carefully and watch our feline teachers.

What does the Cat Purr Mean

Black Cat Growling

Everyone who owns a cat, and even those who do not own cats are intrigued by the purr of a cat. Most of the time a purring cat is associated with a contented and happy cat. Some cats that are contented and happy do purr.

However there are other reasons for the cat purr. As you pet one of your feline friends you will notice a strange, almost “growly” sound coming from what sounds to be the throat area.

Almost everyone identifies this sound as a cat purr and we associate it to something pleasant. It is much softer then the sometimes jarring cats meow. Since most cats enjoy being petted and they purr when they are pet we think this sound is all good.

This is why when a cat purrs, we automatically assume that it is happy or contented. This is not always the case.

Many veterinarians will tell you that when they see cats that are very distressed, maybe even on the verge of death that many of these cats will actually be heard purring.

A cat that is badly hurt or has medical problems and may be about to die does not sound like a contented cat. Many behaviorists and vets theorize that in this type of case the purring signifies the need and the willingness to be helped.

Cats can purr when they need help or when they just feel good. Kittens begin purring when they are only several days old. The purring and paw paddling lets the mother know that the kitten is being fed properly and that the kittens are okay.

The mother purrs to give the kittens a feeling of security. Later the kittens will purr when they want to play. Whatever the final analysis A cat purr is as interesting as cats themselves.

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