There is a time comes when all cat owners begin to distinguish their meows and understand what they mean. The outsiders may think we’re a little crazy, but when you’ve been living with your pet for years, you begin to understand even their subtle behaviors, it’s not that we imagine things, our cats have a meow vocabulary for every situation.
A New York psychologist, Mildred Moelk, discovered in 1944 that cats can make up to 16 different sounds to communicate with humans. Yes, for everything that happens in the world there is a scientist who investigates it, and the meows of our four-legged friends are not exceptional.
In his research, called “The Vocalization of the Domestic Cat: A Phonetic and Functional Study,” Moelk put the different meows into three categories that depended on how cats made those sounds. According to her, sounds can indicate these things:
- If your cat makes soft noises with his mouth closed, it indicates that your cat is happy and satisfied.
- If your cat grinds open and closes his mouth, he is asking for something, or he is complaining.
- When your cat mumbles very loudly with a very open mouth, it can mean that your cat is stressed … or in heat.
These sounds are very simple, but inside each category, the psychologist created a much more complex system with the phonetics of each meow. Each apostrophe (‘) is an emphasis and two points (:) is a prolonged sound.
Do you not get it? Well, neither do we, but the research of this cat lover paved the way for an endless number of researchers to conduct their studies to find out if, in fact, our pets are speaking to us in their language.
Do cats talk to us?
Small cats mew to get their mothers’ attention, but when they grow older, they stop. Undomesticated animals do not mumble among themselves, the only ones who do it are those who live with people, but nobody knows what they say or why.
One of the most recognized theories is that developed by another psychologist, Michael J. Owren, who says that they do not speak to us to tell us something, but to manipulate us.
All cat lovers love to think that they want to talk to us and that, at the same point, we will be able to understand them and even communicate with them. But until that day comes, we can only listen to them and dream.