Different Cat Meows: Understanding Cat Communication

Why does my Cat Yowl after Eating

Imagine if you could understand what your cat is saying to you when he meows. Well, let us look at the meanings of different cat meows as we explore cat communication. 

Why do cats meow?

Cats meow when they want to communicate with their human parents. Feral cats will rarely meow or make any form or vocalization unless in danger. Domestic cats, on the other hand, meow to their owners to demand something. 

In this article, we are going to explore different cat meows as well as what they mean. It could be that your cat is hungry or wants to be let outside. Now, to determine the reason why your cat is meowing at you, you must consider the pitch and the circumstances. 


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What do different cat meows mean?

As we have mentioned above, cats reserve meowing to communicate with us. This means that it is vital for you to decipher what he is trying to tell you. However, do not despair as we are going to discuss these meows and other cat vocalizations below. 

There are four categories of cat vocalizations namely:

  • Murmuring pattern e.g. purring & trills
  • Vowel patterns 
  • Articulated patterns e.g. chattering & chirping 


Different Cat Meows

Vowel patterns

Vowel patterns are mostly the use of meowing. As we mentioned above, cats reserve meowing for human communication. Now, it is up to you to determine exactly what your cat is trying to tell you. 

In most cases, your cat will meow at you when he demands something. For instance, if you are an hour late home, he will complain, especially if it is past dinnertime.  

Once again, the vowel patterns will change, based on the message your cat wants to cover to you. Below are some of the most common cat meows and their meanings. 


Understanding different cat meows


The standard meow


A standard cat meow means that he wants something. Usually, your cat will meow at you in a mid-pitched tone. This is to alarm you that he needs something. If it is dinnertime, he is reminding you that his bowl is still empty and you should do something about it. 

Other times, your kitty just wants to be let out of the door, or into another room. Well, cats can be bossy sometimes. He will stand in front of the door and use the standard meow to make you open it. You will have to open it for him to stop. 


The short ‘hello’ meow

Almost every cat owner has encountered this meow. When you wake up in the morning, your cat is eager to see you. He might give you a short meow as you pass by him. Your kitty is only saying hello

He might also meow repeatedly when he is excited. Maybe you just came home from work and you are about to feed him. Seeing you hold his bowl is good enough to have him all excited. 


The long-drawn-out meow

When your cat gives you the long-drawn-out meow, he is emphasizing a request. It follows the standard cat meow whereby your cat is trying to express his needs. If you do not meet his needs after the first meow, your cat is likely going to express the urgency of his need. 

For instance, if you delay giving him food, or letting him out of the door, he might let out a long-drawn-out meow. It could happen at night when your cat needs something or early morning when he wants breakfast. 


The low-pitched meow

When a cat gives you the low-pitched meow, it could mean different things. It is common for a new kitten to meow in a low pitch for the first few nights. This is because he is scared in the new environments. Furthermore, you might have separated him from his family. 

Cats meow in a low pitch when they are afraid or nervous. In most cases, this will stop within a few days. You may assist your cat by spending some time with him. He needs to learn that there is nothing to be afraid of. 

If you are running a multi-cat home, you should keep your new kitten separate from the rest. Give him some room to grow fond of the new surrounding and also you as his new owner. 


The high-pitched meow

Cats rarely use this meow unless they are suddenly startled or in great pain. Thereby, if you hear your cat meowing in a high-pitch, it is important to check on him. 

A good example of a situation whereby your cat is likely to use this meow is when you accidentally step on him. Or, startling him to wake him up. It is more of a yelp kind of meow.  

Cat owners running multi-cat households should beware of this meow. It could be that a cat is attacking the others.


Different Cat Meows

The cat waul 

Sometimes your cat will give you the cat waul, which sounds more like a long-drawn-out high pitched meow. It is common for your cat to use a cat waul when he is sick. 

In other cases, it could mean that your cat is in heat. Watch out for this if your cat is unneutered or unspayed. 


Hissing and growling

Cats are very expressive towards us. And as social as they are, they get uncomfortable, angry and quite defensive at times. When we are talking about the different cat meows there are, we cannot leave hissing out. 

Hissing is usually associated with aggression in cats. It is a sign for you or the element causing aggression to stay away. Unfortunately, some cats are quite afraid of guests and may hiss at them. Warn your guest against aggressively approaching your kitty. 

It is common for cats to fight other cats. There might be a lot of hissing involved in such a case as well. For instance, if a stray cat is coming to your home, your cat will not be very friendly. He might hiss to scare off the other cat or animal. 

Basically, your cat will hiss at an opponent. There is a high chance that he might attack if provoked. 


Murmur Patterns

These are forms of cat vocalization whereby it is more of murmuring with their mouths shut. The sounds include purring and trilling. What do these cat sounds mean?


Cat Purring 

Cats purr to express their contentment. This is why it is common for cats to purr when relaxed or when you are petting them. It shows that your cat is happy and it is quite comforting for him. 

Cat purr sounds like a rumble. In some cases, cats are known to purr more when they are in pain or recovering from an injury. Scientists refer to this as a self-soothing mechanism employed by your cat when he is uncomfortable or sick. 

You should examine your cat for injuries if he seems to be purring more than usual. 


Cat Trilling

cats learn to trill from their birth mothers. Backing up a little, it is important to note that kittens are born blind. And so the mother uses trills and other sounds to guide he brood to follow her. 

Kittens, even when they can see, mimic these sounds to communicate with their owners. he will use trilling to greet you or to get your attention. On the other hand, adult cats will use trilling to say hello to other cats and sometimes to people. 

All in all, trilling is a sign that your cat is happy. He might even rub against you to invite you to pet him.


Articulated Patterns

In some unique instances, your cat might adopt weird sounds that you haven’t heard before. They include chirping and chattering. These sounds are associated with the cat’s natural hunting instincts.

You are likely to hear your cat chirping when he is watching the birds. We all know how they love to chill by the windows watching the outside. If, for example, your cat sees a bird on the outside, he might start chirping. This is an effort to emulate the prey’s noise to attract them with the false sense of security. 

It could also mean that your cat is disappointed. This is usually because he cannot go to the outside to chase prey. You will rarely hear a cat chirping or chattering but when you do, you will identify it.


Different Cat Meows 

Why does my cat meow at night?


A cat will sleep for 16 hours a day, and still keep you awake at night! Well, this is known as nocturnal meowing. While you might go to bed at the same time, your cat will wake up at some point at night. 

he might come over to your bed to snuggle up. However, he is going to want your attention and thus wake you up. At first, he will try using all other means to wake you up until it does not work. then you will have to deal with your cat meowing at night, which is annoying. 


Stop my cat from meowing at night


While giving your cat whatever he needs to stop meowing will work, it could also lead to an ill-behaved cat. he will get used to having it his way, which could lead to excessive meowing issues.

Therefore, you need to understand how to handle a cat who will not stop meowing at night. For instance, you could restrict his access to your bedroom. Keep it locked and get a pair of earplugs to keep you from listening to him meowing. Ignore his woes completely. This way, he is going to learn that meowing does not get him anything.

However, do not yell at your cat to spot meowing. This is only going to create a commotion and he might meow even loudly. Employ tough love techniques to keep him from developing an excessive meowing problem. Listen to your cat and examine his different types of meows so that you can tell when he is nagging you and when he needs something. 



We have looked at some of the common types of cat meows there is. keeping in mind that cats reserve meowing to communicate with their human owners, you must understand the different cat meows as well as their meanings. 

Above, we have discussed the meanings of the various types of cat vocalization. This should help you understand your cat better. Ensure that you feed him on time as well as set aside some time to pet him. This way, you will meet his attention demands and establish a strong bond with him. I hope you can now understand what your cat is trying to tell you. 


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Michael Grover

About Me I have been a pet owner for most of my life. I am now retired and spend my days writing about problems relating to cats, dogs, and funeral poems. I am passionate about stopping animal cruelty in any shape or form. My passion is to help people like you identify behavior problems in cats and dogs. That is what I do. Over the years of my life, I have always kept cats and dogs. About four years ago I retired and found I had a lot of time on my hands, so I started to write all about dog and cat problems. It was suggested that I start up a website and publish my words to help people with their pet problems. I am still writing every day and hope you find my articles useful. Regards Mike Grover

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