Meow the 39th – Simply Meow

Meow, the sound typically associated with a cat, is not the only sound a cat uses for communication. Yet, the meow is the one sound reserved by cats for humans and that maybe makes a cat so bound up with the sound “meow”.

A typical cat-human interaction

A typical cat-human interaction

Other sounds include the purr, the trill/chirrup, the female call, the mowl (male call), the howl, the growl, the yowl, the snarl, the hiss, the spit, and the pain shriek. The sounds all mean something, with the meow being the most effective in cat-human interaction.

In “The Domestic Cat” (ed. by Dennis C. Turner & Patrick Bateson), an entire chapter is dedicated to the signalling repertoire in a cat’s social life and makes for fascinating reading. Another chapter deals with cat-human interaction.

Bibliographical details:

Turner, D. C., & Bateson, P. (Eds.). (2000). The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour. Cambridge University Press.

Turner, D. C. (1995). Die Mensch-Katze-Beziehung. Gustav Fischer Verlag.

Featured image: Algėrds at the Samogitian language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

OpenEdition suggests that you cite this post as follows:
Edith Podhovnik (May 16, 2015). Meow the 39th – Simply Meow. Meow Factor. Retrieved July 19, 2024 from

Edith Podhovnik

a linguist researching language #purrieties and #meowlogism-s •alumna of SwanseaUni • loves cats • writes about cats

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