Cats are always making some sort of sound or other. From that sound they make when they are unhappy about something to that other sound they make when they’re really unhappy about something. But feline specialists, zoologists, and assorted cat ladies think they’ve broken the kitty code, and now those mysterious noises cats emit — usually in the middle of the night and half an inch from our ears — are starting to be understood. Here’s a smattering of translated cat language.
Kitty says: M-Weh, M-Weh, M-Weh, M-Weh, M-Weh, M-Weh, M-Weh
Sounds like: A supermodel lightly hurling into a laundry hamper full of gauze backstage at a Lenny Kravitz concert.
Means: I need something. I’m not entirely sure what it is but I hope that by constantly making this sound until you start to weep, we can all figure it out together.
Kitty says (sinisterly): Ner-jerrrrrrrrrrrrr
Sounds like: A cello being slowly turned inside out in a mineshaft haunted by the ghost of an asthmatic duck.
Means: Something very, very bad is about to occur, and while I can’t be specific, someone here will be left pained and bleeding. And it won’t be me. It will be you. You will be left pained and bleeding. Well, I guess I can be specific.
While you are listening to music, Kitty says: Rowl-owl-er-owl-erl-a-owl-er-owl-erl-a
Sounds like: A sentient, quizzical cigarette machine on the platform of a Prague railway station circa 1961, asking questions about the meaning of life in a tongue no one can understand.
Means: I quite like their early stuff, but when they introduced that kid who plays second guitar it all got a bit too “weird” for me.
Kitty says: Eee-erm-rem ÔÇª eee-erm-rem ÔÇª eee-erm-rem
Sounds like: Someone rubbing a damp, partly deflated balloon on an equally damp breaded ham.
Means: I will reveal to you the secrets of the universe, passed down to us eons ago by visitors from far-off lands, if you just give me a little bit of that stuff you’re eating … nope? I see, fine, forget it … no, no, too late, you blew it.
Kitty says: p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p
Sounds like: A cashmere jackhammer pounding a corduroy freeway overpass on a midsummer’s morn.
Means: I’m pretty happy now, as this sound indicates, but at any moment I’m going to start making that sound I was making earlier, you know, the one that results in pain and bleeding.
Kitty says: Wom-pa-zeigler-bant
Sounds like: A light explosion in an elastic factory. No one was injured but some auxiliary machinery was singed.
Means: All rights reserved! If you use my image without my permission on the Internet, especially a picture of me in a funny pose, or looking “grumpy,” or sleeping on something strange, or wearing a comical hat or with a badly Photoshopped speech bubble saying something obscure, I will litigate to the fullest extent of the law.
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