One of the perks of keeping cats is their meows. If you are like me you get excited when you understand what your cat is trying to tell you. One thing I find intriguing about my cats is the silent meow. It always has so many meanings depending on the occasion. So, why do cats meow silently? Let us find out
Is the meow really silent?
Sometimes when your cat meows you may not be able to hear it. But that does not mean the meow is really silent. The meow may just be too quiet for you to hear it.
Cats have a well developed sense of hearing. They can hear sound frequencies of up to 64 kilohertz. Although every person is different, the average man can hear sound frequencies of up to about 20 kilohertz. As such cats can hear sounds at great distances. They may incorporate those sounds into their communicative signals.
Therefore the meow may sound silent to you but is audible to other cats and animals such as dogs. As such it is possible that your cat is actually meowing but he or she may not be aware that you cannot hear his or her meow.
Meaning of cat sounds
Cats communicate to us through meows, purrs or chirps. All cats are different and as such their vocalization is different. Cats developed different types of meows after living with humans for several years. They use these meows to communicate what they want.
Humans on the other hand assign meaning to cat meows of different acoustic qualities to different behavioral contexts. As such, it is not uncommon for cats adapt to repeated association of a certain sound with a certain event.
For example you may reciprocate to a certain sound with a treat, midnight snack, being let out, a pet or a scratch. Your cat will start using that sound to ask for what they want.
So why do cats meow silently?
No one has characterized a cat’s silent meow to a certain behavior. Cats have different ways of vocalization. Some cat breeds have a tendency to have silent meows. While other cat breeds tend to be louder.
Here is our suggestion of what most cat lovers associate with silent meows.
1. I want your attention
You may get caught up in your daily activities such that you forget to give attention to your cat as you usually would. Your cat may simply be trying to get your attention.
He or she may give you a silent meow to get you to look at her and pet her.
2. I am hungry or thirsty
Sometimes when your cat is hungry or thirsty they will tell you by meowing. They may realize that whenever they use a low pitched sound you give them their favorite tuna.
Your cat could be telling you, “I am so hungry that I am too weak to speak. Please give me food”.
3. I am sleepy
Cats especially kittens may spend the whole day playing with their toys or meowing at others.
As such they end up too tired that when you try to give them attention they are so sleepy.
He or she may be telling you “I am too sleepy I just want to sleep”
4. I am happy to see you
You may be gone for the better part of the day or for a long vacation.
In the evening when you come back your cat will be excited to see you. She or he may give you a silent meow to try to tell you that she is happy to see you home.
Cats are naturally not as expressive as dogs. They may use a silent meow to tell you how they feel.
Cats love their owners. They may use a silent meow to tell you that they love you and that they are happy to see you.
5. I want to go out
Sometimes cats may use a silent meow to request to be let out.
This is especially true for cats that love spending most of their time out. She may simply be telling you, “let me out. I want to go and play”.
6. Something wrong, please help
Your cat may meow when there is something wrong with her or him and they want you to know.
Cats do not have an advanced communication system like humans do. They however understand that they need to tell you when something is wrong with them.
A number of things could be wrong with them. They could be having one of the following problems;
- A stomach upset
- An irritating skin infection
- They could be injured
- A tooth ache
Your cat knows that you may be in a position to help her or him. A silent meow may be a plea or cry for help.
Read next stages of kittenhood