Can Cats Understand Human Meows? (And What She Thinks)

It would be fantastic to understand the meaning of our cat’s meows at us and that we could meow back at them. We know you ask yourself at least once what our meows would mean to our cats. We will discuss that more.

So can cats understand human meows? Meows are something that cats do naturally to get attention. If you meow at your cat, your cat will appreciate the gesture and create a connection between you two, but they will never really comprehend human meows.

We know many people will meow at their cats and mimic what sound they produce using their mouths. This is something that humans do out of curiosity. Sometimes you would want to know what meow meant. 

Does it have an equivalent in human words? Does it mean “hey” or “hello”? These questions would bother a cat owner, and they would do this experiment where they would meow back at their cats and wonder if their cat can understand them. 

If you are doing this, do not fret because many people out there do the same. This is a real deal. Cat owners would meow at their cat and would think hard if their cat can ever understand them. 

Cats are not always responsive, and their response would be to stare at you and do nothing so nobody can guess if human meows mean something to our cats. But if you are curious about that, you are on the right page because we will discuss cats and human meows. 

Do Cats Understand If You Meow?

Out of curiosity, people would meow at their cats to respond or a hint if they can understand that. So when you meow, your cat will see your gesture as speaking. You see, the human brain and a cat brain are just different from each other. 

You might not know the difference if you talk or if you meow. For them, you are doing the same thing, talking. Your cat might not differentiate if you are meowing or talking. However, your cat will indeed appreciate you for meowing at them. 

They will feel this connection with you as their owner. This can strengthen the bond you have with your cat. When a cat meows, it does not do it to talk to you. 

Cats meow to get your attention. Cats do not even meow at their fellow cats. Cats communicate with other cats using body language and some strange sounds. 

So one thing to know is cats only meow at humans. Cats meow at humans if they want something from you. This is your cat’s way of communicating with you. 

They might meow at you for asking a food or just wanting your attention. If your cat is in danger, scared, or wants to show you some affection, they would meow at you. 

We know that cats are dependent on humans, especially those who have always been in people’s care. This meowing is their one way of communicating with you. 

What Does My Cat Think When I Meow?

Cats have been living codependent with humans for all these years. You might not notice it fully because cats are not showy with their affection for humans, but they care for their humans. 

Communication is also a vital part of your relationship with your cat. This can be quite hard because the two of you speak two different languages. People meow at their cats and would think of what they are thinking. 

If you meow at your cat, your cat will not comprehend what you are saying at all. They might like the idea of you meowing at them, but it will just be empty sounds. 

Given all this, do not be sad because meowing plays a vital role between you and your cats. You see, this meowing exists for your cat to communicate with you. They will meow at you if they want something from you.

On the other hand, if you meow back at them, they will not understand what you are saying. This is just one of the mysteries of life. 

You might meow at your cat, and if they meow back, you would think that they understand you. Your cat is meowing back because you still have not given them what they need or want. 

Can You Insult Your Cat When You Meow?

No. Unlike humans, cats are not emotional. And besides, when you speak or meow, your cat, does not understand you. 

The difference in the way of communicating is the reason for that. When you meow to your cat, they will not think you are meowing or talking to them. They will feel that you are just making a sound. 

Even if you do it intentionally to insult your cat, that will not do. They will not understand you. The only way to tell your cat something is through action. 

Body language is how cats communicate. You need to know what they are saying through their meows and their body language. So no, you cannot insult your cat even if you want to.

cat meows

Do Cats Understand What Humans Say?

Meowing is not a direct answer to communicating with your cat. So what is? When we speak to our cats, they cannot understand us. 

If you want to communicate with them, you can try through body language. You can try purring. Purring is a positive act for cats, but that would be quite hard. Purring is not something humans do. 

Anger is easily communicated, though. If you want your cat to know that you are angry, try shouting or hissing at them. Immediately, they will get the message. 

Of course, this is not something that you want to do with your cat. This is the tricky part. The unpleasant emotions you can easily convey to your cats, but the positive ones are hard. 

So a cat cannot understand what humans say. A cat does not talk to communicate. They act. If you want your cat to know what you are saying, you can try doing that using your body. 

For animals, body language is critical because, unlike humans, they were not gifted with an easy thing to communicate and talk. 

If you are serious about communication with your cat, try experimenting with different body language. In that way, you can communicate to them what you feel and what you want to say.

Do Cats Meow To Communicate With Humans?

Yes. Cats do meows to communicate with you. So if your cat is meowing, they might feel something or want something from you. 

Some cats have different meows. Other cats would meow loudly and others in a silent way. This will depend on what the cat is trying to say. 

It is crucial for you as a cat owner to know what your cat is trying to say. If you want to have an idea of what your cat is trying to tell you, we can help you with that. Here is a guide to help you interpret what your cat is trying to say.

Your Cat Is Meowing In A Very High-Pitched

This meow means a sudden unpleasant feeling. You have to act quickly and figure out why your cat is distressed. This can be a predator or its tail got stuck on something. 

This could also mean that your cat is distressed over someone or something. You might have a kid nearby that is picking on them or throwing them rocks. 

Your Cat Is Meowing In A Low-Pitched

This meow means unhappiness. In a human language, your cat is complaining. It would be best if you started looking for reasons why your cat is feeling unhappy.

This can be due to them being hungry. You should also check if their litter box is clean and you have given them water. 

Your Cat Is Meowing In A Long, Moderate Pitch.

This meow means demand. Your cat is demanding something. If it does this, look for reasons. 

The number one demand of a cat is food. Check its food and its litter box.

Your Cat Is Meowing In Several Short Meows.

This meow means your cat missed you. It is not only humans who experience longing. 

Your cat can long for you too. This can happen if you have gone away for too long or had a vacation.

Your Cat Is Meowing In A Short Meow

This is a typical meow. It means your cat is greeting you and is happy to see you. 

These are the different meows of cats. You can use this guide and try reading your cat’s meow. This will make it easy for you to know what your cat is trying to say. 


In summary, cats cannot understand human meows. Cats have no way of knowing if a person is talking or meowing. The only way to communicate with your cat is through body language. 

You can also try to interpret cat’s meows. However, your cat is happy when you try to meow. The fact that you look them in their eyes and speak something is a good gesture for them.


Image credits – Canva

Share on: