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Translating "Meow"

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I just adopted a lovely big black male cat (neutered) who is quite vocal. Ebony has a series of different meows as follows:

1. a loud aow, aow, aow - repeated several times rapidly, this seems to be a way of calling us or demanding to be fed.

2. meow - a softer voice with a rising pitch; he often says this right before lying down or while greeting a person or entering a room.

3. meow-o-o - a soft meow with the final sound extended; he usually does this just once or twice, usually while exploring the house by himself.

4. a throaty meow - sometimes he does this when I return home from work.

Are all cats similar in the ways they meow? Any ideas on the meanings of the various meows? What is the polite response? I usually go and find Ebony whenever I hear the loud "aow" but I'm afraid he will discover that he has me "trained" and meow whenever he wants attention.
post #2 of 10
Hi Regina,

And you were worried about Ebony being a "latchkey cat"? You already know all his words. What a lucky boy he is that you found him.

My two cats express themselves differently. Tasha just meows loudly whenever she wants attention or food. The same meow, over and over. I interpret it as "ME ME ME ME". She also purrs like a Mack Truck. It's quite funny because she's our delicate little lady.

Basil talks thank you very much. An uneducated person might "hear" his words as being simple meows. He speaks mostly in a series of soft r-r-r-rooOOWWrrrs. The key is the inflection. Sometimes it's a question requiring an answer, sometimes it's an absolute statement of fact. He can continue a conversation for up to 20 mins.

Aside from very soft purring the only other sound he makes is a very loud YOWL if there is a closed door that separates us.

And the best (or worst) kept secret in our house is that he calls me mum. Hubby doesn't like me to tell people (even though he HEARD Basil call me mum) because he thinks they'll think I am looney. But he definitely calls me mum.

I generally answer my cats, just to be polite. Not all cats are vocal, so the ones that are *I feel* appreciate a response. And yes, my cats have me trained very well. Isn't that what humans are here for?
post #3 of 10
Regina - it sounds like Ebony feels right at home already!

Mindy has three or four regular meows that sound similar to Ebony's. Let's see, there's this little chirpy "mew?" when I come home, it actually sounds like a question - she waits right by the door and I think she's saying, "Who is it??" Then she also has her regular conversational meow, for when she's walking around exploring and sees me. I usually repeat the same sound back to her or say her name (I'm still trying to get her to respond to it on a consistent basis...)

She also has a couple of different "I'm annoyed" meows, one when I'm in another room and she's calling me (although, she doesn't really want anything! I think she just wants to make sure I'm there. She has me trained well). And there's a really annoyed loud, repeating "MROW MROW MROW", when she's forced to be somewhere that she doesn't want to be, for example, when she decides in the middle of my shower that she wants to leave the bathroom NOW. Of course, a minute later, she's scratching to be let back in...
post #4 of 10
My 4 month old kitten has at least 4 different meows. Hungry, upset, attention and hello....so far.

My kitty who recently passed away, however, I swear, had so many different meows I could never even count. But not just meows. In fact hardly ever meows, but all kinds of different sounds! He practically had his own language and I swear he understood everything we said. It was the funniest thing ever. :laughing: My husband and he used to have what we called a meow-off. Norty would meow or "ow" and my husband would do it back. This would go on for many minutes at a time. What a riot!! Norty would usually win! But my favorite sounds were the ones he would make when he would look out the window and spot a bird or another cat. He was an inside cat. He made the weirdest, funniest noises I ever heard that were more like yowls and he could really hold a note!! I miss that so much!!! :angel2: Maybe my new kitty will do something similar one day.

You sound like you are really enjoying your new kitty! I am so happy that it worked out so well for you!! Aren't they the most amusing and amazing little critters???

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Boo, Mindy's Mom and Jacqui,

Thanks for your replies! Yes, Ebony is really settling in well. He is getting more active and playful every day. Last night, he was following my husband around so my husband tried walking in circles and zigzags. Ebony kept following and seemed to know that it was a game. Finally, he stepped right in front of my husband and lay down at his feet with one paw up exposing his big belly! Those two have really become buddies. Today when my husband left for work, Ebony gave a whole series of loud "Rrrowrrs" in protest!

Boo, I love that your cat calls you "Mum"! Ebony does the same thing that Mindy does, call from another room just to make sure you're there.

I have been talking baby talk to Ebony after each meow and, like Jacqui, repeating his name. I want him to get used to it in case he ever "escapes". He looks sort of embarrassed for me when I try to "meow" back. The wierd thing is that even without any speech he just seems to know when I'm going to feed him or that I want him to come sit beside me. Well, after all, he IS a black cat!:witch:
post #6 of 10
Do any of your cats "talk back" to you?

We have one very mouthy cat named Winnie. Whenever she is bad (jumping up onto counters, picking at the carpet), we will say in a very stern voice "NO! GET AWAY!", and she will meow back in the same tone of voice, plus not quit doing whatever she is doing. We are forced to physically remove her from the counter or carpet or wherever, and then she goes into the loud whining voice, mew, mew, mew at the top of her lungs until she is released. Sort of an "oh, come one, every other cat gets to be on the counters..."

I think this cat has prepared me for raising grouchy teenagers...
post #7 of 10

My cat who recently passed away used to do that. If we reprimanded him in any way, he would give out this quick "mew", that was sort of like "No!" He would stop whatever it was that he was not supposed to do and then as he would pass by us, he would let out another "mew" with real attitude like he was saying F-you mommy! It was actually very cute and we would laugh about it a lot when he would talk to us this way. He really knew how to communicate.

post #8 of 10
My Termite, who is mostly Russian blue, frequently says uhk uhk uhk to me. It's a greeting of some kind. She also chirps but almost never meows. Do different breeds have different languages? How confusing THAT would be to us (fairly dim) humans! -- JGB
post #9 of 10
My cat Felix acts a little like a dog,he always comes to me when I call his name and he talks to me if I finish a sentence with his name,hes so cute.
Regina,your cat sounds lovely,as hes so volcal, you will be able to have great conversations with him.
All the very best with your new cat Ebony

post #10 of 10

Danielle has a very cute thing she does. After she has been under the bed...(her favorite place after being with us....).... she comes out of the bedroom and does a series of delicate little

meow meow meow meow meow meow meow

And that's it. I wonder what she wants... is she saying..."Here I am ....look at me?" Or something else.

:laughing: :laughing:
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