What Do Cats Think When We Meow To Them?

We’ve all done it. Whether we’re bored, curious or just exasperated, every cat servant has meowed back to their furry overlord at some point, and the reactions of our feline friends run the gamut from pleasantly surprised to utterly confused.

The latter would be an apt description for Buddy’s reaction the first time I meowed back at him. I do recall a friendlier “conversation” in meow between us when he was a kitten and laying adorably on his back atop my desk, playfully reaching out at my fingers with his tiny paws as I typed.

However, it feels like our first real meowningful exchange came one day during a conflict: I needed to get some articles done on deadline, and Buddy was insistently pointing out it was dinner time.

Like all cats, if he doesn’t see some action starting 15 or 20 minutes before Official Meal Time, he makes sure I know Yum O’Clock is rapidly approaching. That’s exactly what he was doing as I pounded the keyboard, trying to tie up a pair of 750-word stories.

“Mmmmmrrrrrrrowww?” Buddy questioningly meowed, looking up at me. “Mmmmmrrrreeeowww? Mrrrrrrrrroooowww!”

Translation: “Uh, Big Bud? Dude? My yums aren’t here. Where’s my food, dude? Where’s my food? Where’s my FOOD?!?!”

He kept at it, increasing the volume, frequency and urgency of his meows to the point where you’d think he was dying, and I couldn’t ignore him any longer.

“Mrrrrrowww!” I mockingly meowed back to him. “I’m Buddy, and my dinner might be late! Mrrrrowwww! So terrible!”

He sat there dumbfounded, and I used those fleeting seconds as best I could. Then he decided that, yes, I was mocking him, and he made his displeasure known.

“MMMMRRROOOWWW! Mrrrrrrrppp!”

“Mrrrrooowww! My dinner isn’t here yet! The world is ending!”

Back and forth it went until he flopped onto my desk, breaking my line of sight with the monitor, and began protesting even more insistently.

This short video from Reddit shows a woman having a meowversation with her cat, who has a decidedly Buddesian look to him:

This kitty’s even got a white bib similar to Buddy’s!

He seems shocked that his human is finally singing The Song of His People, growing more insistent with each exchange.

“So she does speak the sacred tongue of Meow! It is a miracle! Wait, has she been listening to me complain about her all this time and I didn’t know it?!?”

Both reactions are amusing: Human servant laughing uncontrollably, cat having a revelatory moment.

Longtime readers of this blog will remember I once posted an audio clip of Bud and I having a conversation in meow. WARNING: Bud’s roar is extremely tiger-like and may trigger some listeners. If you’re uncomfortable with the sounds of savage and intimidating animals, please consider skipping this recording:

Oh who are we kidding, he sounds like a mix between baby Elmo and an 8-week-old kitten calling to his mommy for milk.

Just, uh, don’t tell him I said that…

How do your cats respond when you meow to them?

7 thoughts on “What Do Cats Think When We Meow To Them?”

  1. When I lived back in Philly, I was a PAWS volunteer, helping with the cats at the local PetSmart. One of the cats was this very hefty dude whose name escapes me. One day I was talking to him about his issues: i.e. You’re too fat, and you’re very cranky. How do you expect to land a home? Not wanting to hear it, he leaned over and began slurping from his water bowl. Then I started to meow at him, in the hope that we could get a dialog going re: his issues and what to do about them. He answered me. BurrrrrUP.. BrrrrrUP. BRRRRRUPPPP. When it finally looked like we were on the same page, he became silent, and began to stare intently at me. Then he dipped his paw in his water bowl, and flunk water in my face. Message received. (A month or two after this interaction, he decided to straighten up and fly right, thereby landing his furever home.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The pep talk worked! “BRRRRUUPPP!” seems to be a common word in felinese.

      You are lucky you only got hit with water. Did you ever see the post I wrote about my cousin’s encounter with a tiger at the Bronx Zoo? Tiger 100, Cousin 0. It was brutal!

      Like

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