Like you, your cat communicates in a variety of ways both verbally and non-verbally. Your cat may flick her tail when agitated; growl when she sees a bird; or hiss to express derision and to tell the offender to back off. But what does it mean when your cat purrs and meows? In this article, we’ll explore this great mystery of the cat world.
The unique purring behavior of the cat has eluded scientists and veterinarians as to why it happens and where it comes from. Common thought says a purring cat is contented. And that seems to make sense, for purring usually comes quickly when the cat is stroked by its owner or some tasty catnip is in the vacinity. Another thought is that purring indicates to close companions of the cat that she is safe and healthy.
A cat may purr just before eating, or while chasing around a new toy mouse. Contrarily, cats have also been known to purr when in a state of agitation or nervousness. So while there are several reasons why a cat may purr, there is no one definitive answer.
What A Cat Is Saying When She Meows
Any pet owner can understand and appreciate the complexity of the cat’s meowing behavior. A cat expresses himself or herself vocally in over a dozen types of meows, perhaps even more. For example, the cat may utter a half-meow half-growl with big eyes fixated on a feathery bird in a nearby tree.
A long deep meow may mean your cat wants to play. Your cat’s short, broken, high-pitched meow may mean she is hungry and wants to be fed, or excitement over getting a taste of canned tuna or milk. A long, loud meow heard throughout the neighborhood may be an indicator of a female cat in heat trying to attract a mate. And a sudden loud, screechy meow may be the cat telling you, “Ouch! You’ve just stepped on my tail for the second time this week!”
In the wild, the cat is a highly social animal and over time has developed complex means of communication. Understanding this communication through the purring and meowing behavior of the cat is a fascinating endeavor, and one that has caused pet owners in particular to truly appreciate the diversity of communicative abilities possessed by these close members of the animal kingdom.