Can Cats Understand Human Meows? Here’s The Answer

​D​o you want to know if your cat can understand your meow?

We all do. Right?

Well, In this article, I am going to share my experience & tell you if cats can understand human meows or not. Let’s get started

People tend to do it a lot of times around playful cats, they meow and you meow back. They meow some more and you meow even more. Guilty meow-er here! After a few exchanges of meows, I start to feel silly at the same time guilty, because I can’t tell what my cat is saying.

​Then I start to wonder whether my meows mean anything to them. Or, if for some reason, my meows make sense to them. If you are just like me who wondered whether my meows add up to logical thoughts, then you are in the right place.

Why Do Cats Meow

To start things off, try to remember a time when you noticed a cat meow to another cat. Think really hard.

Except for that time my kitten was barely a couple of months old and was still relying on her cat-mom with food and grooming, my cat almost never meowed at her nor to any other cats after that.

This is because cats’ meow is their way of trying to tell you something (as if that is not obvious enough).

​Grown-up cats rarely meow at other cats. The way they communicate with other cats is through scent, body language, facial expression, or touch. Not by a meow.

Their assertive, plaintive, friendly, bold, welcoming, attention-soliciting, demanding, or complaining vocals are for humans. [Cats’ meows are human-directed communication.

​They understand that we cant communicate with them the same way other cats do, thus the high-pitched signings they produce.

Scientists and pet behaviorists believe that cats have refined meow as their language to converse with humans. Pretty cool, right?


  1. Why do cats cry like babies

Can Cats Understand My Meow?

Our cats at home rely on us for everything they need. They reserved meowing as their communication tool for humans. Cats use this when they want something from us, whether it is food, water, reassurance from danger, cuddle time, litter clean up, or they simply want to be noticed.

“If I meow back to them, will they understand?” In reality, cats cannot tell the difference between your meowing from your speaking. No matter how long you have been and how much you have perfected mimicking their sound, it will not result in anything logical to them.

However, cats will appreciate the fact that you are acknowledging them when you meow back. They feel that you are not ignoring them and you are responding in a way that gives them the assurance that you are there for them.

So, don’t give up on meowing.

What Do Cats’ Meows Mean?

Now that we know that our cat’s meows are intended to communicate with us, it is important that we understand what they are trying to tell us. This is especially true when trying to tell their current situation.

If your cat is a vocal one, you will detect differences in the sounds they produce. You may not be able to notice that with a purr, chirp, or chatter, but you will with the many variations of cats’ meows that vary in tone and quality.

To put it simply, when your cat needs food, water, or litter clean-up, their meow sounds pleasing. However, if they are annoyed or angry their unpleasant sounds mean “Take a look at me, human!”

​Here is a [breakdown of cat’s meows and what they mean based on pet behavioralists’ observations.

Short or quick meow: Standard greeting. Like a hi or hello. It means the cat is happy to see you.

Continuous or multiple short meows: Excited greeting. Like welcoming you after a long day of not being together or sometimes being apart. It means the cat is really excited that you are back.

Longer and mid-level pitched meow: A plea. More often, it is the food they are pleading for, but it could also be something else.

​Basically, it means they need something. Check whether they are hungry, their litter needs cleaning, or she needs water.

Long and low-pitched meow:Tells you they are not happy. Cats are not shy to tell you when they are mad or upset.

​You will know instantly. It could be about something you did that they do not like.

Very high-pitched meow: Sign of anger, pain, or unhappiness. You will usually hear this when you accidentally step on their tail.

Look at the video below to get a better understanding of every cat’s meow and what they mean.


​Did you know that cat meows have different types, too​? I didn’t either, but here they are:

  • ​Murmur patterns that involve purring or trilling
  • ​Vowel patterns in variations and diphthongs
  • ​Articulated patterns with chips and chattering
  • ​Strained patterns like hisses and growls

Each cat is his own. There are cats who are vocal and there are those that are rather quiet. Persians and the blue Chartreux breed barely meow. Siamese and other foreign breeds are especially talkative and won’t shut up.


  1. How long do cats remember you

Speak Your Cat’s Language

Now that we know how pretty much useless our meowing is to cats, we are left to wonder whether there is any way we can communicate with them on their own terms.

​Yes! Sadly, most cat language that we can master is leaning on the negative side. The good ones like purring are a little hard to imitate.

Hissing at your cats will make them back off. The same reaction cats do when other cats hiss at them. Short puffs and air being blown mean to start a fight.

​They can surely get this sound even when it comes from a human. Take extra caution, however.

Domesticated cats being short puffed may playfully swat or gently wrestle with you.

But, a skittish can run away in fear. Feral cats may also take it as a sign to get that good attack.

​Always take notice of the fur. If they stand up on end, it signals that they are not in a playful mood. Best to retreat than get lashed out with some serious scratches.

Leave a Comment