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How do cats cry? What does it sound like?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Does it sound like meowing? Do they sound similar or very different that it is easy to tell when a cat is crying and when it is meowing? I've never heard my cat cry before, just meow, but I'm new at this cat owner thing and am not sure if I would be able to tell the difference.
post #2 of 4
Oh, you can totally tell the difference. The meow is a long, drawn out, obviously distressed-sounding sort of meow. If they're in pain, it'll sound more like a yowl; if they're lost or frightened, it sounds more like calling--loud and long. Some cats are more vocal than others. Many cats won't cry when they're in distress; they'll just find a small place and huddle there, looking miserable. Remember that cats' primary language is body language. Watch them to see what they are thinking. Meows are more like their attempt to speak our language!
post #3 of 4
I don't think its typical for cats to cry, as in how a human child would cry w/ tears. Sick/hurting cats usually try to hide that they are in a weakened state and are likely to just hide quietly. Personally, and from what I've read, I don't think cats really experience that particular more human emotion that was evolved to evoke group sympathy in a very social empathetic environment, at least not much. I think they're more about fight or flight, excitement, wants (food/toy), curiosity, location announcement, etc. They can definitely have a diverse vocabulary, that's for sure. Buttercup is quiet, but Wesley will trill, chatter, chirp, and meow a bunch of different ways.
post #4 of 4
Yeah, I agree; a sad cat is unlikely to vocalize the way a sad human might; they are more likely to just withdraw, bunch into little furry balls, and act listless. A very distressed cat might cry, though. Once it gets to the point that they are yowling in that heartbroken way, you know they are quite frightened or in pain. Christy yowls that way when she has hairballs, just before she upchucks. Poor girl; she hates having hairballs. I've been feeding her hairball treats and brushing her, so she has them much less often, but that doesn't make her less distressed when she does. The last time I heard Tiny cry, it was when I'd accidentally closed him into the closet and he was scared that he had been trapped there. When he uses that tone of voice, you better believe I come running!
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