Cats may have adapted their meows to manipulate people in order to get their needs met.
“Cats don’t do much meowing to other cats,” says Sueda, calling meows “an attention-getting device” to express greetings, approval, demands for food, and more.
Learn the nuances of your cat’s vocabulary so you can detect the difference between a plea for dinner and an urgent cry for help. For instance:
- Purring usually signals contentment and may also be a comfort-seeking behavior when the cat is recovering from illness or close to death.
- High-pitched gurgling or chatting indicates friendliness.
- Growling, hissing, or spitting are emphatic warnings to stay away — at least until the cat has calmed down.
- Caterwauling is a very loud, guttural sound that cats (especially males that have not been neutered) make when threatened by other cats. This sound is common in deaf cats.
Still, every cat is unique.