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Why do cats meow?

I just got a new kitten. I understand dogs but I've never had a cat before. Can someone help me understand what my cat is trying to say?

5097 day(s) ago

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Cats meow as a form of communication. Any time a cat meows, it is trying to relay a message to you or another animal, possibly to anyone who may be listening. Four basic types of messages are relayed through meowing: I want food, I want to go outside, I want attention, and help. The exact nature of the message takes a little interpretation on our part, which becomes easier the more time we spend around a particular cat. A few guidelines can also help us determine what message, exactly, the cat is trying to get across.

Loud Meows
Loud and demanding meowing usually means the message is urgent. Urgent messages are usually for food or to be let outside. The louder meows mean that the cat wants something done now, and it canít wait.

Quiet or Silent Meows
Quiet meows that are barely audible, or ones that donít make any sound, are usually those for attention. The cat wants something but it is not so urgent. These types of meows are also used when the cat wants something that it knows may not be possible. An example of this would be if the cat wants something off your dinner plate or wants to lie on some furniture it is not allowed on.

Howling Meows
A howling meow can mean the cat is in pain and needs help. Some cats, however, use this type of meow just to get attention. If you hear the howling meow, always check on the cat, but if nothing is wrong with it, then donít give it any attention or you will only reinforce this bad behavior.

Screeches and Hissing
Screeches and hissing are not really types of meows, but they are distinct attempts at communication. Screeching and hissing usually means the cat is ready to fight, preparing to fight, or trying to avoid a fight by telling another animal to stay clear.

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