Sometimes, the simplest of phonetic methods can help you to better understand a sound made by your cat. Try to listen precisely to how a sound is formed. Maybe you will discover the individual vowels or consonants contained in the sound. Try to imitate the sound yourself so that you can better understand how it was produced—with a closed, open or opening-closing mouth. Listen very carefully for changes in the melody, how short or long the sound is and so on. Why Does My Cat Not Say Anything? Sometimes cat owners ask me whether I know why their cats scarcely meow or make other sounds. In return, I always ask them whether or how often they speak with their cats. Frequently, the answer is either “rarely,” or “well, she seldom meows, but whenever she does, I always quickly say, ‘be quiet.’” I have confirmed it countless times, if we speak to our cats frequently, then they “speak” to us a lot as well. If you want to have a quiet cat, who prefers to communicate with visual signals, try not to speak with her too much. Use visual signals and touch instead.
Why Does My Cat Make Such Funny Noises? When people ask me to interpret the sounds made by their cats, they sometimes say in advance that the sounds are very strange or unusual. Some cats can imitate sounds made by other animals, or even by their people, up to a point. It can be something like a lamp that makes a little clicking sound after it is turned off, which the cat interprets as the sound of an animal of prey and therefore answers with chattering. As already mentioned, our Turbo chirps at the darts when they fly through the air. Some cats also try to imitate the voices of their humans. A little while ago, I received a question from a woman in the United States who wanted to know why her cat meowed with such a wonderfully and unusually deep voice that it almost sounded like a dog barking. I asked her to make a video recording of her cat, which she proceeded to do. She sent it to me a few days later.
On the film, which her husband had shot, the woman could be seen as she was feeding her cat. She spoke to her cat as she did so: “Right, here we go, here we go,” “Yes, here’s the can, it’s just a can,” and “Yes, you’re the one who wanted it, yes, dear.” My phonetician’s ears immediately perceived that the woman spoke with an unusually hoarse and rough voice. I wrote back that it was possible that her cat was imitating her voice, and that is why it barked so roughly and hoarsely. She wrote back right away and said thank you. She had not thought of it herself, but found it fascinating that cats could imitate the voices of their humans so effectively. If your cat makes sounds using a strange or unusual voice, it is possible that they are imitating either your voice or the voice of another person around them or in their family.
Why Does My Cat Answer When I Speak to Her, and What Is It Supposed to Mean? Cats make specific sounds in specific situations. Sometimes they meow at us without any recognizable reason though. Meowing is a vocal signal that often catches our attention. Although we do not always understand exactly what they want from us, we often catch on faster if we conduct a dialogue with them. When you are talking to your cat and get an answer that you do not really understand, try this simple method: answer with a similar sound. Try to imitate the cat sound using the same melody, and see what happens. If the cat meows again, then answer and observe the visual signals (posture and movement) they produce. Your cat might show more exactly what they want. Maybe they will look at the door to the garden, will run to their empty food bowl or will simply sit on the floor, looking at us with wide eyes. If we repeat such dialogues with our cats often enough and pay attention both to the visual signals and to the nuances in the meow-sounds, we can learn more about the various sounds that are preferred in different situations, and will be better able to interpret the sounds our cats make in the future. However…it is possible that cats are just bored sometimes and just want to have a conversation with us.