How do I differentiate between “meow” sounds to understand what the cat is saying?

Cats are generally unique creatures, and a lot of what one does doesn’t match up with the others.


Look at what the cat is doing, and remember what the cat usually does.  I find there’s a short list of things a cat can want:

  1. Food
  2. Play
  3. Sensual stimulation
  4. Sleep
  5. Cleanliness

Make no mistake — you have nothing to do with the last two.  So the cat is only interested in one of the first three.


Man, Luna looks fat in that picture.  But along those lines, I find the number one priority of cats is food.  Or at least Luna.  She’ll wait for me to open a door.  I’ll pause and stare at her.  She’ll look up at me quizzically and ask, “meow?”  Then I’ll walk toward the kitchen, and she’ll know she’s getting food!  “MEOOOOWWW!!” followed by another happy “MEOOOOOWWW!!! OMG MEOOOOOWWWW!!! FOODFOODFOOD”

I’ll put her cat dish on the counter, and she’ll jump up on it, getting in the way.  Purrrpurrpurr *nuzzle*.  No more meows necessary once I have her cat dish on the counter.  She’ll then jump at the food, eat for a bit, and give me a long, appreciative stare midway, and then finish to consume her prey.

Then I’ll know, at least for the next couple of hours, that she won’t want food.  So if she approaches me, I’ll know she wants to play.  I open a door, and see her waiting for me.  She’ll ask, “meow?”  If I walk to the kitchen, she’ll certainly be happy and expect a small treat, but she won’t get excited like before.  But instead, if I widen my stance to that of a predator stalking his prey, she’ll lower nose, locking her gaze on me, tensing up.  When I approach, I hear “rrr rr rrrrrr!” and she’ll rush off, her little paws scraping along the hardwood floor, usually sliding and crashing into something.  She’ll find a hiding spot, and I’ll spot her… then resume my stalking pose, and LUNGE AT HER!  She darts out!  “Rrrr rrr rrrr!!!” and again slides… *CRASH!*

Then I’ll toss some of her toys around, including the tiny little fake mice Kimberly Thrush, a friend of Luna, bought her.  And she’ll slide and crash a few times chasing those.

Then… sometimes Luna gets sleepy.  Veerrrry sleepy…

Luna sleepy on blanket with folded paw

This is when she wants nothing more to be immobile for a long period of time.  But she likes to make the most of her inactivity, being tended to by a human.  She won’t meow.  She realizes noise annoys humans.  She’ll instead go limp, like an irresistibly cozy little meatball.  She’ll purr when you touch her.  She’ll stretch!  She’ll nuzzle.  But she won’t be meowing.

So, to recap…

  • Cats meow to annoy the shit out of you
  • Cats first meow, and more loudly, to get food
  • Cats later meow because they want to play, but just a little
  • This may vary, as each cat is weird in its own way
Categories: Actually Happened, Q & ATags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. The sliding and crashing is why we can’t have nice things anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Luna knocked over a glass vase on the floor recently, trying to run away from me. Just plowed right into it. I could see she felt a little bad when it tipped over and shattered, with her body language. She has not knocked over any of the computers, nor the TV yet, so I’m still happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. #4 applies during the daytime hours for Thor and Lok . They need an entourage for their afternoon nap. Our maybe they just want something warm to nap on. Hard to say.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I got back last night after a longish vacation (and am now getting my much-needed Luna fix). I came in the door hoping for adoring purrs and instead got a sternly-meowed lecture from my oldest cat, who did NOT appreciate being left all alone for 2 1/2 weeks, thank you very much. Yes, she had a cat sitter and all the Fancy Feast she could eat, but that was beside the point. Does Luna meow when she is vexed with you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Luna certainly does meow at me, but she’s more happy than vexed. I suppose it’s cat personality there. Luna is absolutely a bundle of purrs when we go away and come back after a long stretch. The biggest example was our honeymoon, which was 11 days. Luna finally started softening up to the cat sitter near the end of it, who went so far as to try singing. But when we stepped through that door, there was so much excitement! And the “melting in our arms” thing too. Very happy cat, when she learns to appreciate us (and forgets later, until the next feeding time).


  4. If my cat is napping when I go into bed and doesn’t see where I went, he walks around calling with a distinct 2 syllable call going up high at the end of the second syllable, like he’s looking for me and calling my name.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Luna does that too. I have no idea why she keeps saying your name. Makes sense for your cat to do it. But seriously, yeah, the strange noises at night… I’m still trying to figure out how that evolved.


  5. I like it when my cat meows as a form of response towards my greeting. Whenever she’s lying down next to the couch but not sleeping, and I walk pass by her and casually call her name in a really pleasing tone, she’d lift her head and and look at me just to meow once. After the meow she’d look away and ignore me while I walk away. But she gets really irritating when she meows endlessly and keeps scratching a furniture nearby only to get me to open the door so she could enter a room that has the AC turned on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally love the lazy cat mode. They vocalize just so they don’t have to move their furry butts. Luna so doesn’t like the A/C. She’s all about the heater. I thought most cats did… but maybe you live in a much warmer climate. Either way, yeah, Luna hasn’t resorted to drastic measures like that yet. She’ll ask to open a closet door by sitting in front of it and staring up at me, so she can explore the closet for a few minutes.


      • I do live in a country with a warm and tropical climate ^^ I think cat’s high level of curiosity is so cute but at times it’s also annoying hahaha they always want to explore all the spaces and rooms even though they have explored many of them a bunch of times before. And sometimes they’re also very persistent in getting what they want. Every night when I go downstairs to pick up a glass of water and my cat sees me, she’d follow me upstairs to beg me to allow her to enter my room. But at night my room is supposed to be cat-free so I rarely allow her to. Then she’d just keep meowing in a really loud volume while scratching a rattan chair in front of the door.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Would move that chair 🙂 Luna usually gets ejected from the bedroom as well at night. We were nervous moving into our current home, because there was a small stairway that led up to the bedroom from the other side. Fortunately, the landlord agreed to install a door to block that off. The battle is won, but not the war…


          • Does she get curious about the door, though? I’m sorry but I just thought of a dialogue and feeling like typing it down 😀
            Luna, sitting in front of the door and staring at it, “Meow?”
            The door, stared back at her, “You. Shall. Not. Pass!”


          • She’s gotten through it once. It’s an accordion type of door, where you stretch it across and it hooks with magnets. My wife didn’t completely close it one night, and, two hours before breakfast time, I heard a lot of racket from that stairwell. It got louder and louder, and I wondered if I was dreaming. Was someone monstrosity about to storm up those stairs and slaughter us? Then… a cat… *jump* MEOW!!! Expectant creepy eyes boring their way into strength of will. Luna got an early meal that day, and we figured out what went wrong later. She hasn’t gotten through since, although she did try the next day.


          • Sorry it took so long to reply! >.<
            I think I can imagine how you felt the moment Luna got into the room hehehe If I were you I would probably be surprised but also annoyed at the same time. It'd be a happy annoyance, though ^^
            And thank you so much for replying to my super long comments ^^

            Liked by 1 person

  6. You don’t sound very well trained. I know that I am a slow learner and it took almost twelve years for me to properly learn to cater to her every whim.

    Liked by 1 person

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