Some cats are more vocal than others—but then you’ve noticed that. Purrsonally, I prefer the fluffy quiet type. I had a talkative cat once. Drove me crazy. Maybe that’s because I like to do the talking.
Lily vocalizes for only two reasons. She sort of yowls when she has captured one of her stuffed toys and is on her way to drop it at my feet. If she decides to play-hunt in the middle of the night, she’ll announce her arrive with her play-prey even then. And she mews sweetly when she wants food or a drink out of the spigot.
Sophie has been a very quiet tortie for most of her 14 years. Lately, however, she has a lot to say. She has developed quite an opinion. She doesn’t like it when Dennis goes outside. She’ll sit at the screen door and call to him to come back in. And she has become demanding. Every evening she demands grass. In fact she threatens us. She’ll look at my philodendron hungrily and cries until someone brings her a few strands of grass from outside or we put her container of grass on the floor where she can reach it. She also meows politely when I place her food bowl on the floor. I consider that a thank you and always respond with, “You’re welcome, Sophie.”
When I visit a neighbor, her cat Joy welcomes me with her meows and chirps. She tells me what she’s been doing that day, describes how she’s fe-line, shares secrets from the neighborhood, and probably asks for treats. She’s part Siamese and very vocal. Her counterpart, George, has never said a catty word to me.
My mother’s cat Smokey (AKA Rags in the Klepto Cat Mysteries) vocalizes, but not excessively. He will respond with a soft “me-aaa” when you speak to him. And when he wants a treat (he lives for treats), he won’t stop chattering until you’ve done your job as a visitor—give him a treat. His voice is soft. But if he’s outside and wants inside and his kitty door is blocked, he’s been known to MEOW!!! so loudly that everyone in the house at the time fears for his very life. When we rush toward the sound, we discover Smokey sitting quietly at the door patiently waiting for someone to open it.
Cats sure know how to get our attention whether it’s through meow-words or actions. Have you noticed your cat mewing at you when you’re on the phone? Does she think you’re talking to her?
I’ve read that cats don’t communicate the same way with each other as they do with people—that they’re imitating people when they “verbalize.” I’m not quite sure that’s true. Cats snarl at one another, yowl, hiss, growl and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard a mother cat make chirping sounds to calm or warn her kittens.