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Why Do Cats Meow Back at You?

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Ever wonder what your cat is thinking when they meow in response to your “meow?”

It’s a playful interaction that can mean several things.

It’s not like cats can have a conversation with you using words. They and other animals have to work with what they’ve got.

It’s almost hilarious when it happens to you.

Your cat is meowing back to you with a lock on its face like, “Don’t you understand?”

Why do cats meow back at you?

Cats will meow back at you to signal they are excited, frustrated, hungry, angry, in fear, as well as a range of other emotions.

cat lying on a doormat meowing

The pitch, frequency, and length of the meow can mean different things.

As a cat owner, knowing what they are trying to say can mean a better relationship and making your cat more comfortable.

It can add a deeper layer to your relationship and bring the two of you closer together.

Let’s explore why cats meow back at you and what it could possibly mean.

What Do Cat Meows Mean?

Your kitty is obviously trying to communicate with you, but what are they trying to say?

Some people think domestic cats use meows to get what they want.

Usually, they notice you coming to them making similar meowing sounds and giving them attention.

They understand that meowing at you can get them food, attention, a door opened, or whatever else they desire.

Wild cats and domestic cats can also use meowing as a sign of distress.

If they are cold, hungry, scared, or afraid, they can meow in a call for help or let people know they are there.

cat in the garden meowing

Are All Meows the Same?

No, all meows are not the same.

If you pay close attention to your cat, you’ll notice that the tone, volume, and length of their meows vary.

People have spent years looking at and observing cat behavior, and they’ve come up with some good theories on what the different meows mean.

Meows for Hunger

If your cat is meowing in a low voice, almost like a grumble, they‘re probably indicating they want to eat.

Meows for Getting Outside

Certainly, your cat scratching or sitting next to the door is a clear sign that it wants to go outside and play.

However, they can also communicate this with a meow.

Cats ask to go outside with a long, loud meow that grows louder and longer the more they have to do it. It’s their way of saying, “Hellooooo!”

Meows for Saying Hello

Meows, as long as they aren’t shrill and your cat doesn’t look panicked, are a good thing.

If you’re around your cat and they are giving you chipper, steady meows, then it’s their way of saying hello and nice to see you.

Meows for When They are Excited

If your cat starts meowing enthusiastically in rapid succession, it’s a sign that they’re excited.

They could be sensing mealtime approaching or you’re waving a toy in the air.

It’s an expression of enthusiasm.

close up of a cat with mouth open meowing

Pay Attention to Your Cat’s Personality

Cats are very expressive animals. The longer you’re around them or live with your cat, you’ll learn to better interpret their meows and what your cat is telling you.

There are several different variations of the cat’s meow, and it will take time to understand them.

You can usually find patterns in how your cat responds to being held or fed, and discern when they are annoyed or need help.

It’s hard to know whether your cat is going to understand whatever is behind the meow when you talk to them.

However, pairing a certain type of meow with an activity to try and create some sort of language between you two probably won’t work.

They could misinterpret your tone and likely won’t know what you’re trying to say.

Just be careful because the tone of your meow, the volume, and its length could mean different things to your cat.

The last thing you want is for them to become unsettled or feel threatened when all you’re trying to do is have a little fun.

cat looking up meowing

Do Cats Like When You Talk to Them in a Baby Voice?

We covered some info on cats’ meows and why they often meow back to you when you call.

But what about talking in a baby voice?

We all view our cats as part of our families.

They’re our kids, and we treat them like our little babies.

It’s common for cat owners to talk to their pets in baby voices. But do cats like it?

There is some research that states that cats respond better to higher-pitched voices.

So, if you’re talking in baby talk and your voice tends to go lower, then it could turn them away. (source)

Instead, talk to them in even-toned voices and avoid sharp noises. Your cats will grow to love your voice and will respond positively to play and other interactions.

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