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Why does my cat miaow?

Why does my cat miaow?


Miaowing is actually a learned behaviour, so
compared to their wild counterparts who barely miaow, pet cats miaow
quite a lot and it’s all coming down to the fact that they enlist a positive
response from their owners when they miaow. So, miaows can mean all sorts of different things and it very much depends on the
context between the owner and their specific cat. They can build up quite a
repertoire over time, so somebody who’s had a cat all their life and the cat’s
now quite elderly, generally have quite an extended repertoire of different miaow
sounds meaning different things, from opening the door, having a bit of fuss,
being fed, that sort of thing. So say for example a cat’s got a particular miaow
and the owner knows this means ‘let’s open the door’, that means I’ll open the door
and the cat goes outside. Then this is reinforcing that behaviour on a regular
basis. Now, if that cat were to be rehomed to a different owner and it does a
particular miaow, that new owner won’t necessarily know that that particular miaow means to be let outside. They might just assume that it means ‘I want some food’ and
feed the cat. Now, the cat might be thinking ‘Well, that’s not quite what I
was going for’ so they might try something else, so they
might try pawing at the door to which the owner might think the cat wants to be let outside. So they’ll open the door, the cat goes outside and this then
reinforces the behaviour, so rather than coming to the door next time and miaowing, that cat’s much more likely to paw at the door. So the owner plays quite a
significant role in the communication between themselves and their cat. Some
breeds are more vocal than other cats, so say for example, Siamese cats and some of
the Oriental breeds as well. This is worth taking into account because you
need to understand what their normal baseline is and what’s abnormal for them.
So if you feel that your cat has changed in how vocal they are – whether
it’s more or less – we’d always recommend that you take your cat to the vet’s to rule out
any medical problems, before then seeking a referral to a qualified behaviourist such
as the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors.

Comments (10)

  1. My cat is very very vocal, she meows like she's talking to me
    It's true that they have different meows for different things

  2. It should be "meow". There's no way I'll remember "miaow" at this late stage in my life.

  3. 1. Might be worth putting http://www.cats.org.uk/cat-behaviour in description

    2. Association of pet behaviour counsellors: http://www.apbc.org.uk/

    3. Music a bit too loud in some parts of video – especially very start, and some parts where Nicky is talking.

    4. [nitpicking] First 8 seconds: the slow motion combined with lips moving distracts from text, imho, looks a bit off; either the text is too big or I'm dislike the font

  4. God, I miss my cat…. 🙁

  5. Meoowww.. Nicky is so adorable.. She's my goddes, she's helping me with my cat with her tips…

  6. Is it true adult cats don't miaow to each other?

  7. I want to marry your accent so I can hear it all day long <3

  8. My cat isn't very vocal at all, sometimes she'll let out a tiny miaow here and there but other than that, nothing.

  9. I'm depressed because I want a cat so badly, but am not in a position that I can have one, but I also cannot stop watching cat videos and visiting cats at shelters, which in result only makes me more sad..

    I wish I could fast forward my life about six months from now, then I'd probably be able to have a little kitty cat.

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