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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Or if they don't know there are people around?

I ask, because I've heard that cats meow when they are trying to talk to people. That's what it seems like when my cat meows.

When I see two or more cats together, they might sniff or hiss or yowl or cuddle or stare at one another, but I don't notice that they meow at each other.

So, does anyone know if they meow only to people?
 

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Yes, they do.  A mother cat will meow to call her kittens, for one.

 

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I don't know.  I read once that they don't purr when no one is around.    If they meow to their kittens, isn't that communicating?
 

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I talk to myself when there's no one around (shhh, don't tell) so I'm guessing cats do it too. I'm sure they at least talk to other cats. I've heard them hiss at one another. And, come to think of it, I've heard the neighbor's tomcat yowling at our female cat when he wanted to "visit" her but couldn't get onto the porch with her.
 

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I definitely think  cats meow when there are no people around. Its a form of communication, right? I'm sure cat's use all forms when it's just them. I know my cat "sings" in our livingroom in the middle of the night. She often wakes us up.
 

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No, they bark, until they're caught out. I am told that cats can also speak French, but only on the phone. :p

 

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Katie Salidas said:
I definitely think cats meow when there are no people around. Its a form of communication, right? I'm sure cat's use all forms when it's just them. I know my cat "sings" in our livingroom in the middle of the night. She often wakes us up.
Yes. To wake you up. Cats are control freaks. One of mine does that all the time, it's so annoying!
 

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I think they either just sleep on your favorite jumper or get up to mischief like stomping over your clean kitchen counter. Either way, I don't think they meow when they are alone.
 

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I have 17 cats and I find that the younger ones will meow to each other but the older ones don't, unless they are complaining about something. The older ones do however 'talk' to me, you know, the usual 'Where do you think you have been?? I want my dinner!' sort of conversation.

Generally though, it is pretty peaceful around my house. until one 'finds' a bird or mouse and happily brings it home to me celebrating all the way with joyful cries!!!...

 

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When ever my wife leaves for work my cat Kismet wanders around the house with a small stuffed monkey in her mouth, meowing long piteously mournful meows around the mouthful of monkey.

I sit in my office and call to her.

She keeps on meowing.

Eventually, she drops the stuffed monkey at the front door to wait for "mommy" to come home and goes off to her basket to sulk.



She also likes to play Marco Polo right before bedtime. We go up to bed and she wanders around for about five minutes meowing every time my wife calls out "Marco".

We just don't get out much...
 

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My cat definitely meows at us, but he also does at the dog, when he's looking out the window, lusting after birds and squirrels, almost like he's talking to himself.  Love my kitty. :)
 

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One of my cats doesn't really miaow, she just squeaks now and again. The other one is soooooooooooo noisy, especially when I have visitors or am on the phone. She also wails for attention while I'm sleeping, which drives me mad. I don't often hear them miaowing to each other, though.
 

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I'd say yes, but how would we ever know for sure? Slapping my forehead. Unless you video taped them.
 

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I have thought of putting a video camera us so I can see what they do when I'm at work. It seems they put on a hissing and running show just for me when I get home and need to sleep.
 

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Is this one of those Zen things like...if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound???
 

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Actually....(putting on behavior consulting hat ;D)...

Cats communicate with each other mostly via body language and scent communication. Vocalizations tend to be expressions of emotion and while some cats mew at each other, MOST kitty meows are aimed at people because we reward them.

Oh yes you do! ;) Think about it--meows are DEMANDS for food, open the door, attention, pet me. They start out higher pitched, and the more demanding they become, the lower the pitch becomes. We believe cats have evolved to use meows mostly with people because--well, cats are waaaaay smart! and they recognize humans communicate and respond more readily to vocalizations. When we get up to put food in the bowl, or we pet that head-bonk-meow-wakeup-call, or we open the door...we've rewarded the behavior. It only takes one or two repetitions for cats to put 2+2 together.

Purrs have multiple purposes (purrr-poses). A beacon from mom to tell newborns her location, to lull-aby them to sleep, to self-calm and self-heal (purrs speed up bone healing among other things).

So yes, cats do meow when people aren't around but mostly they reserve meows for cat-human interactions. More info here: http://cats.about.com/od/amyshojai/tp/understanding-cat-language.htm

Different breeds also express themselves in unique ways. Some are very quiet (Chartreaux) and others extremely vocal (Siamese), with most somewhere in the middle. Fascinating subject...
 
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