Cats can be such persnickety creatures. Do you ever get the feeling that they just sort of put up with us humans? Sometimes, their behavior lends itself to certain status roles – cat as the royalty and humans as the court jester or servant. So when they start meowing, we are supposed to automatically know what they want! A cat's meowing; cat calling or caterwauling can have countless meanings, sometimes more than one at the same time.
All this vocalizing is the cat's way of communicating or talking with us. Hissing and purring is also lumped into this vocal communication of cats. If we are to co-exist somewhat peacefully with these furry felines, we have to at least have a basic understanding of some of these vocalizations.
Perhaps one of the best ways for us humans to understand some of these cat vocalizations is to try and read their body language and behavior during their meowing communications. For instance, if you are standing in the kitchen and all of the sudden your cat starting rubbing on you and meowing take a look at its food and water bowls. Chances are that one or both just might be empty. Go ahead and fill the cat's bowls with food and drink. If it stops rubbing and meowing and heads straight for the kitty kibble, then guess what? You have just interpreted one of the cat's many meows!
What happens if your cat starts meowing and scratching, and scratching is not part of the cat's normal behavior? Go take a look at its litter box. Cats do not like going potty in a dirty litter box. If the litter box looks like it needs to be cleaned, then do it and see if the cat continues the meowing and scratching behavior. If you interpreted the cat's vocalizations correctly, it will have gone straight to the fresh, clean litter box to conduct a little “business.” If not, then you still have a problem on your hands trying to figure out what your cat is trying to tell you.
Purring is also part of the cat's vocalization. And when paired with some meowing, you may just have a cat on your hands that is trying to suck up to you. Sometimes, it is for a food treat, a good ear scratching session or a little play time. So it is up to you, as the owner, to interpret that purring and try all three solutions. Chances are that your cat would appreciate all three! Cats are bold animals. If they wanted the ear scratching first, they would probably just head butt your hand until you commenced with the scratching.
The cat's tail can also tell the tale when paired with meowing or some other vocalization. That twitching tail can mean anything from being happy to restless to fearful. For instance, if the cat's tail is twitching furiously and accompanied by a meow, that could signal excitement, meaning they want to play. If you were holding them or petting them, it could mean to cease and desist – they've had enough! If a cat is feeling threatened, they may tuck their tail down low and emit a low growling type of sound or even hissing. The cat's ears may also look pinned back as well.
If your cat is not usually the meowing fool, be certain that you are alert for any signs of changing behavior. Sometimes, when cats get sick, they try not to show their “weakness.” So when they start to meow suddenly, think back to any unusual behaviors. Signs of scratching, potty accidents or loss of appetite could have been a precursor to illness. The meowing is an indicator that they cannot take it anymore and need help. Big changes in a cat's life could also be the key to your kitty's sudden overabundance of vocalization. Have you moved recently? Was there a death in the family? Have you introduced another animal to your home? These can all precipitate the meowing, cat calls or caterwauling.
Of course, all that noise from your cat could simply indicate that they want to play or get your attention. For them, it is especially fun to do this while you, their ever-loving owners, are asleep in bed. Whatever you do, do not show any reaction. Giving them attention – whether positive or negative – just encourages them. Try to ignore them or close your bedroom door. If that doesn't work, keep a water gun by your bed and shoot it with water every time they wake you up with their meowing. Cats hate getting wet!
Your furry family member possesses a multitude of meows and other vocalizations. You may never be able to interpret a lot of what they are communicating to you. However, the few ideas above should give you a good start in the right direction.