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8 Types of Cat Meows and What They Mean (With Videos)

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on April 30, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

8 Types of Cat Meows and What They Mean (With Videos)

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Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats can’t speak to us in our language, which means we need to learn their language if we want to have any hope of figuring out what they’re trying to tell us at any given time. Luckily, that’s easier to do than one might think, as felines can be quite vocal. Not only do they communicate with us via body language, they also talk to us by meowing. Of course, we don’t actually know what they are saying, we’re just basing these interpretations on their further actions and the situations in which they use them.

But what does it mean when our cats meow at us? Are there different kinds of meows? There are! In fact, there are eight common types of meows. We’ll look at each one and decipher their meaning as best we can, so you can communicate better with your favorite feline!

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The 8 Types of Cat Meows

1. “Now” Meow

When you hear this meow, you’ll know it because it may sound like your kitty is saying “Now” rather than “mrow”. And this meow likely means exactly what it sounds like—kitty wants something now! This meow will often show up when your pet is hungry, and it won’t stop until your cat has been fed. It may show up at other times, though, when your cat sees something it wants, like a toy or a squirrel outside.


2. Low-Pitched Meow

A meow that comes in a lower pitch than normal is a warning and a complaint. Your cat is typically unhappy about something, and they’re either complaining about whatever it is they’re unhappy about or warning you to go away before they lash out. Your pet could be unhappy because there’s no food in their bowl, because they want your attention, or because they’d rather not have your attention right now. If a low-pitched meow comes with a growl, it’s a definite warning!


3. Mid-Pitched Meow

A mid-pitched meow is another way for your kitty to tell you they want something. They could be hungry or could want you to play with them. This meow is similar to the “now’ meow; it just might not sound as much like the word “now” as the other meow. It is common to hear this meow in the morning when your pet is trying to wake you up to feed them!


4. High-Pitched Meow

The high-pitched meow is probably one with which you’re familiar. This meow often comes when your pet is in pain (such as when a paw or tail gets accidentally stepped on). It can be a scary meow to hear, but it’s simply your kitty letting you know something is wrong.

This meow might also occur when a cat is angry or when they want help. If your pet makes this type of meow when you’re trying to pet them, it’s time to back away. And if you hear your kitty meowing like this in another room, check on them to see if they’re injured or stuck somewhere.


5. Long Meow

Our feline friends aren’t shy in telling us when they want something, and a long meow may be another way to demand what they want from us! The long meow is a bit more demanding than others asking for things, though, and a bit more pleading. It could show up when your pet wants to go in or out of the house, desires attention, or wants access to something.


6. Short Meow

When the cat gives a short but sweet meow, it likely isn’t a request for something. This is the meow that simply means, “Hi!”. You’ll often hear it when you get back from work or a trip when your cat is winding around your legs to greet you. This type of meow is usually only used for people your kitty knows and just means they’re happy to see you again. So, give your cat a good scritch behind the ears when you hear this meow!


7. Multiple Meows

Does your cat ever meow at you multiple times in a row? Then, they’re probably super happy and excited! It’s similar to the short meow, except there’s a higher level of excitement going on with this meow. So, give your kitty lots of love when you hear them meowing multiple times in a row at you.


8. Chirp

A chirp is more meow-adjacent than an actual meow, but it’s a sound you’ll likely hear a lot from your cat. This sound is learned when cats are kittens, as it’s the sound mama cat makes to say, “Follow me.” So, if your pet is making a chirping noise, they could want you to follow them somewhere or pay attention to them for some reason.

This sound can also mean there’s something your favorite feline wants that they can’t get to, such as a bird outside the window. In this situation, the chirp indicates a mix of frustration and excitement.

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Conclusion

Cats are excellent at communicating with their humans; it’s just a matter of learning their language! While a big part of feline communication comes down to body language, their vocalizations, like meows, can tell you a lot, too, if you know what they mean. Now that you know what the different types of meows likely mean, you’ll be better able to “talk” with your favorite feline and ensure you’re meeting all their needs!

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Featured Image Credit: Stanimir-G.Stoev, Shutterstock

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