Why do cats meow back when you talk to them?

Why do cats meow back when you talk to them

Cats find humans perplexing. Experts say that cats see humans as sort of as other significant and hairless cats, which are non-aggressive. But apparently, humans don’t communicate the way cats do. You won’t see cats meow at other cats. Clearly, your cat meows at you because it is trying to tell you something.

Cats have developed a meow intended solely to achieve a human’s attention during the course of their domestication.

How cats communicate

It is essential for cat parents to grasp what message your cat is trying to relay to you. Since cats don’t meow at other cats, they convey messages through scent, facial features, touch, and visual communication.

Cats meow at humans to speak their needs or feelings of pain and discomfort. They’ve learned through domestication that they cannot communicate with us the way they connect with other cats, so therefore they meow back when you talk to them.

Isn’t that amazing?

What do cats say once they meow?

To have an improved understanding of what your cat is telling you, here’s a breakdown of your cat’s verbalizations in terms of meow:

  • A short, quick meow is your cat greeting you hello, which could be a sign of pleasure upon seeing you.
  • A single meow is your cat, probably requesting food or water. They will likely want to have your attention because they’re hungry and/or thirsty. Regardless of the reason for the meow, your cat wants your attention.
  • Multiple meows could mean your cat is incredibly excited to see you. Your cat may meow several times once they see you coming home after a week’s vacation or a day’s work. This can be an exciting greeting.
  • A drawn-out meow is your cat communicating a necessity or a demand. As an example, your cat is kept inside a cage for an hour or two and demands to go to her litter box, it’s her way of saying, “let me out now!”.
  • A high pitched meow means your cat is in pain or anger. You’ll have heard this sound when you’ve accidentally stepped on their tail. If not, then your cat can be unwell or injured, and you must take it to the vet. Never disregard this if the meowing continues.

What about communication with kisses? Read: do cats know when you kiss them

What does it mean when a cat doesn’t stop meowing?

When a cat is being excessively verbal, it could mean it is in distress. Here are some other explanations why your cat meows at you:

  • Your cat may be anxious or stressed. One example is trips to the vet. On the way to the vet, while commuting, the journey can be very stressful, especially for indoor cats who are not used to life outdoors. Street noise can make your cat feel anxious and be more vocal.
  • Sometimes your cat would simply meow at you to get your attention. Cats want their humans to spend time with them. It is most likely that your cat needs some playtime. Spend time with it and play with your pet using cat toys.
  • Your cat needs food and/or water. You will instantly know when your cat is hungry or thirsty. It will keep meowing while following you around the house, which is sometimes accompanied by a purr. This is a call to feed your pet with cat food or give it water or those cat treats.
  • Your cat is in heat. Another reason why a female cat is meowing excessively and might even yowl is that it is in heat. Spayed female cats are less likely to do this.

Common questions regarding why cats meow

Do cats understand when their humans meow at them?

The truth is cats will never understand your meowing. As a matter of fact, they will not be able to distinguish your meowing from talking, but surely, your cat will appreciate the effort. As stated earlier, cats do not meow at each other.

Is meowing a cat’s way of manipulating humans?

Yes. This is especially true for household cats. Cats meow as a form of control. Cats often do this when they want something from you because they live with you and are totally dependent on you for almost everything like food, water, cleaning up the litter box, attention, or only just affection.

Is cat breed a factor on how often a cat meows?

Yes, certain cat breeds are more vocal than other cats. The Maine Coon, Siamese, Siberian, Oriental Shorthair, Turkish Angora, Singapura, Japanese Bobtail, and Tonkinese are considered chattier.


In a nutshell, cats have developed meowing as a means to communicate to humans what they need or how they feel. This form of communication can help you better understand your cat to be able to build a strong bond with them. It is also healthy that as a cat owner, you are receptive and willing to listen to what your feline friend is trying to tell you.

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