Talk:Cat communication

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When cats meow[edit]

The section on meowing makes a bold statement that adult cats don't meow to each other. Since Wikipedia stresses that content be verifiable, I can't simply delete an obviously wrong statement since there's a link to a supposedly reliable source. But the fact that adult cats do sometimes meow to each other should be taken into account. I can mention that my cats sometimes meow to each other, and even as I was writing this, one of my cats went up to the other and meowed (they are both about 13 years old) but I'd run the risk of being accused of conducting original research if I did that. Nevertheless, somebody should find a way to correct this.

Also, the amount that cats meow varies by species, with some such as Maine coon and Japanese bobtails having a reputation for being very loquacious. There's plenty of material out there that people can cite, and perhaps the misconception that adult cats never meow to each other is based on experience with certain breeds or to the exclusion of certain less common breeds.

I'll leave it to a more ambitious cat lover to do the research, but the fact that at least some adult cats meow to each other makes the contrary statement false on its face.Hagrinas (talk) 05:51, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Thank you. Someone told me that cats only meow when speaking with humans and it didn't ring true. I've been trying to observe this amongst the neighborhood cats, but it's nice to see someone else reporting research on this. (talk) 15:14, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

Cat biting[edit]

There is nothing about the bite and lick. I have heard the bite after or during being licked is a "kiss" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:08, 1 July 2006

Not all cat bites are alike. Some cats do take a nip as a show of affection. I've known many cats who will lick, and then take a nip at your finger, and go back to licking. There's a difference between an irritated cat taking a bite and one that takes a gentle bite during grooming behavior.--RLent 20:41, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
I just looked at the current "bite" section and it is very lacking. (talk) 20:49, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Dubious relevance[edit]

I have removed the following paragraph:

When passing solid waste, cats, like many types of predators, release from anal glands a small amount of liquid that scents their feces to mark their territory. Other animals such as the skunk use similar glands for self-defense. During moments of excitement or other strong emotions, a cat's anal sac may discharge, releasing a foul-smelling brown liquid. Anal irritation, possibly shown by the cat rubbing its bottom on the floor and frequent licking of the area, can be a sign that the cat's anal sacs are not being emptied when waste passes <ref>{{cite web | title=Anal Sac Disease | url= | accessdate=October 24 | accessyear=2005 }}</ref>. Although this condition can be treated through the addition of a small amount of bran to each meal, it may require veterinary attention. Shorthair cats are more prone to this problem.

While this sounds like an important addition to the main article Cat, I can't see the relvance to the article Cat communication, especially not in in the section "Other noises". User:Angr 00:49, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

  • This is about communication -- how the cat marks its territory. But I don't see why it's in the intro paragraph. Zweifel 22:19, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Unique Cat[edit]

My cat often times, while purring, bites my hand, then licks it. Is that considered aggressive beahaviour? Or just a way of showing love? -- 06:24, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

I've encountered some cats that exhibit simular behavior. Depending on how hard the bite is, it could mean different things. When the cat is angry it tends to bite harder. Regardless of what the main article says, I would consider this to be a "love bite". There are several reasons why a cat would want to bite you, if it is annoyed, you'll notice. The specific pattern on bite followed by a lick could be some grooming sequence. I once encountered a cat, the bit me when I stopped petting it, what the? --Marco 19:00, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Cat's can bite for many reasons, and like any other form of communication, it's best understood in context. Sometimes it is overzealous grooming behavior or play. Perhaps it is like when a cat will bite at a knot of fur in grooming. I've had cats that while licking my hand, would take a little bite, sometimes harder than I liked. She would take a gentle nip with her front teeth, but when she moved on to the back teeth, it was a bit much. I also had a cat who liked to bite people's feet: the cat learned that when he did this, he got thrown outside. So, when he wanted to go outside, he would start biting people's feet. Some cats will bite if they get overly excited while playing. Even in cases where the cat is biting because they are irritated with you, they sometimes seem to be having a good time biting you. Sometimes the cat is saying "stop", sometimes the cat is saying "you want to play rough, will so can I".--RLent 05:23, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Cats never bite in anger. --WikiCats 11:36, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

I notice that you are a 'Feline Behaviourist', as it is on your userpage, and I wonder if you wouldn't mind helping this article's section on biting? It's just that what you just said seems to completely contradict the opposite section in the article, and if one of you is incorrect, this would seem the way to resolve that in either case. Jaz Mcdougall 01:23, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
My left hand and forearm would probably be evidence to the contrary, WikiCats. 21:48, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I must agree, I've been nearly biten to the bone, they can surely bite in anger, specifically, when being bathed. From what I've noticed, a bite isn't aggressive unless it's accompanied by clawing, the first choice of weapon for a cat. If it bites you and then shreds your arm with some kangaroo kicks, it's probably an aggressive bite. Tail thumping, turned back ears, and so forth should also come before aggression. Sabar 11:30, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
Your cat is tenderizing you for later consumption. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 8 October 2007 (UTC) i like this page

Human to cat communication[edit]

Although communication from cats in the form of audible noses and body language is well documented here and other places, my curiosity involves how cats respond to human communication to cats. It's often noted that when cat owners who regularly talk to their cats it can better "socialize" the cat.

My question is how do cats respond to audibles of higher pitch. I've read a few less than credible places (chat, boards, blogs, etc.) that cats are more responsive to names ending in a long E sound as in "Poofy" or "Blackie." I know that cats can hear higher pitched sounds sounds than humans. It would seem plausible but not necessarily solid. Myth, truth, or maybe? Is there a known reference to this behavior? - Jim 05:47, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

The long E sound isn't necessarily higher-pitched than any other sound. (Just sing the word "cheese" on the lowest note you can hit!) But I have also heard that it's good to speak to cats in the upper range of your voice because they hear high-pitched sounds better. No idea if it's true; my cats ignore what I say to them regardless of what pitch I speak to them in! :-) User:Angr 07:15, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
I heard that cats don't meow in the wild, which would mean meowing is an attempt to talk to or parrot humans; thats very interesting to me, as it paints them as quite adaptive, intelligent beings. I've never heard a wild cat meow, which isn't to say I haven't had exposure to wild cats, so it might well be true. But dear internet, where are the sources?! Jaz Mcdougall 01:28, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
It's my understanding that cats meow much more to humans than they do to other cats, but it would be good to have some links to resources. It seems to be true though, probably because we do a lot more for cats then they could ever expect from a fellow cat except their mother, and meowing can help them get what they want. We do learn to understand what our cat's meows mean, but it's not always completely clear to another human what the cat wants. I had one cat that when it was requestion attention, had a meow that sounded like a question, and acknowledged attention with a short sharp "meh!" sound. Another cat had a meow that it seemed to reserve only for just after a bath.--RLent 05:30, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Cats are more sensitive to high pitched sound than we are. They can hear the sounds made by mice that we can't. One of my cats responds readily to me when I whistle. Cats only respond to what we want if there's something in it for them. If you want a pet that doesn't ignore you get a dog. --WikiCats 10:56, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

I know it would fit under paranormal-style communication, but they say that cats are fairly psychic animals, and I've had major success telepathically talking to my two cats. Plus, it gives me some insight into what they like and they usually respond better to commands, though they still do things on their terms. Think this is just something with my bonding with cats, or do you think that animals such as cats do well with being able to actually voice an opinion, instead of an ambiguous response? 02:22, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

They could hear you,but you would have to teach them English.They can't understand your words,because there just like baby's. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:19, 25 September 2012‎

Cats will naturally use meows to talk with us, it doesn't take long before they realize we aren't paying any heed to their chemical and scent signals seeing as we can't smell them. Either way, my cats only meow for three things. To be fed, to be watered, and to go outside. Then they have a growl for angry, a hiss for really angry, and a high-pitched cry/moan/meow thing for when they're getting bathed or going to the vet.Sabar 11:34, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Small edit[edit]

Just removed the "may also have a medical significance" from the purring section in line with main article - no evidence has been presented for any such significance. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:07, 25 May 2007

Cat sounds[edit]

Some of these cat noises are vaguely defined, they could use some sound clips.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:30, 19 June 2007

The reference to "rehearsal behavior" is rubbish. Cats do not anticipate or practice the killing of prey, nor do they "talk" when killing their prey! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:05, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

I am rather surprised that there is no mention of the 'trilling' noise that cats make when they are playing and in a mood of delight. It seems to me as important as the purr and meow, and should get a mini-paragraph at least. To me this noise is as important as the human laugh. -- (talk) 14:24, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

Talking cats?[edit]

I didn't read anything in the article about this, but what about talking cats? There is a lot of evidence on youtube that cats can say a few basic words. I'm not sure if this is from their memories in previous lives, if they are mimicing their owners, or if they are evolving (they say cats are smarter than dogs and it would make sense for them to learn how to speak). I don't know much on the subject, but maybe a vet can add something. Here are the videos: Itler005 19:42, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Of course they can talk. They use C language LOL :D —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:21, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
meow —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:03, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
Anyone care to guess whether Itler is joking or serious? I'm hoping he/she's joking but you never know with these sort of things Nil Einne (talk) 19:30, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Some cats - particularly Oriental and other 'talkative cats' can make 'word-like sounds' (some of which will be learned from their pet's repeated usage of such terms. Jackiespeel (talk) 18:07, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

Some substantial suggestions?[edit]

It is apparent that those who have written this page love their cats. This is, of course, a good thing. Developing a better understanding of our pets is important--many pet and human tragedies might be prevented by a more careful understanding of what is a very complicated relationship.

The fact that you can find pamphlets and even entire books written on "how to better understand your cat" shows how relevant cats are to the lives of so many of us. These books draw from the authors' careful examinations of the way in which these specific cats behave, and are often compared to the similar observations fo other authors writing similar books. As a "How to take better care of your cat" article, these checked-against-one-another books serve a valuable role. Unfortunately, many of these "guides" or "handbooks" are more a collection of "things I've heard others say (or read/write) and which seem interesting to me."

The lack of cited references of known and well respected writers makes it impossible to know how accurate and generalizable is all the information in this article. The question answered in the book "How my favorite cat communicates" may be different than the answer to the question "how do all cats communicate--whether a kitten who is the constant companion and love of Peter, a boy whose family are nomadic Reindeer herders in Finland or a so-called "killer cougar" in the forests of Central Oregon in the United States?"

Therefore, this article would be even much more useful to an encyclopedia if it placed itself in reference to more systematic studies--a good encyclopedia article is "connected" into/with the rest of the articles in the encyclopedia. The references showing how it does connect, whether in agreement or not, are valuable to help someone reading the article go right to the supporting (or contrasting) articles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rgathercoal (talkcontribs) 06:47, 18 August 2007

Is this more like "Communication among cats?" or "How to tell when your cat is mad?"[edit]

The title of the article, "Cat Communication" would seem to place this article in the realm of the other "fill-in-the-blank" communication articles, but it really does not address the questions or issues surrounding animal communication or of communication in general.

In this article we don't learn why cats react these ways, how much of this sort of interaction the cats are and are not capable of, or whether these behaviors exist in all pet cats (Felis silvestris catus), all cats including those born in the wild (or at least not with a providing pet owner/provider), or even in "cousins" such as the Java Fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), bobcats (Lynx rufus), the endangered wild cat of Northern Scotland (Felis silvestris grampia), or Siberian Tigers (Panthera tigris altaica)?

Is all interaction with one's environment communication? This is a deceptively difficult question to answer. Yet here, in the case of a domesticated allo-animal (an animal other than the "human animal") it is central. Do I need to be aware of my actions, the others to whom I am allegedly communicating, and the larger context/relationships that exist in order for my behavior to be communicative? Orcan we talk about a rock communicating with the hillside, plants and other rocks it causes to join with it in a massive landslide?

I'm not certain whether this article's content would usefully be considered to be "communication," or at least, would be situation-specific communication (as between a particular cat and human in a pet/owner relationship). Do cats purr when no one is around? If so, the purr is probably closer to being considered a sign. Signs are often used to describe something that indicates the likely presence (or state) of something else, like smoke in the forest signals a forest fire near. Others would contrast the sign with a symbol--an intentional act performed (or artifact created) with the intent of altering some other's behavior.

Some of the difficulties of this sort of question pop out as you start to stick things in either the "sign"or the "symbol"; the affected or communicated with categories! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rgathercoal (talkcontribs) 06:47, 18 August 2007

Some examples of potentially useful questions[edit]

There is no mention here at all about non-domesticated cats, nor of feral cats, not even of the wild cats from which, it is believed, all domestic cats decended.

  • Do males communicate differently than females, or about different things?
  • You mention kitten differences, are there other age-related differences?
  • Do cats interact with known other cats differently than they do with strange cats?
  • If tails are a primary communicative mode, what happens to cats with bobbed tails? Is there a difference in the communicative behavior between a cat who has lost a tail (i.e., born with a tail) and the cats whose breed does not have long tails?
  • Would it then be more accurate to talk about "cat behavior" than about "cat communication?"
  • Are these behaviors common to the specie, the genera, the class?
  • Do solitary puma and social African Lion communicate in the same ways? e.g., would a male lion express fear or pleasure in the same way a domestic cat?
  • Do all the various cat breeds--including the hairless cats and other (to my eyes) strange beasts from around the world communicate in the same way as does the typical New York Tabby?
  • Usually in communication we talk about "channels" or "media" through which the communication occurs. That is, different messages can be communicated within/through/as part of the same media. Can different messages be communicated by a cat through, for instance, a purr? Or is a purr always an indication of a happy, contented kitty?
  • Are any of these behaviors "trained" in domestic cats? How can we know? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rgathercoal (talkcontribs) 06:47, 18 August 2007

:meow —Preceding unsigned comment added by 2007 (talk) 10:31, 10 September

ties to other animal communication articles[edit]

My guppies erupt into a "guppie feeding frenzy" when anyone comes near the tank. While amusing, I would have to say it is probably not communication, or at least that "learning" or "conditioning would be better categories.

Asking these sorts of questions is particularly relevant given the ongoing experimentation with dolphins, whales, many birds, all sorts of simians, and pigs, to name a few. Many of these carefully--many would consider them to be formal scientific experiments--are ongoing to help answer many of the questions that are relevant to thinking about how and why our cats behave in certain ways in certain times, places and circumstances; often way too consistently to believe the behaviors are random.

I would expect that any article on "animal communication" ought to be aware of these ongoing studies, where "hints on understanding your cat" would stand on its own.

Likewise, ties to work in anthropological linguistics, (maybe semantics) and learning and memory (from experimental psychology) would be a "must." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rgathercoal (talkcontribs) 06:47, 18 August 2007

lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala cats r cool dogs r cool we r cool mm i like pie —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:22, 19 July 2008

I do hope this is helpful[edit]

I hope those who find the interactions of domesticated cats and humans so compelling will think of this expansion as a fascinating journey into new depths of understanding as we increase the encyclopedic value of this article. I do realize that my perspective and advice might not be entirely welcome. That is a common and expected reaction to someone who says "nice, but needs more work!" Nevertheless, I do hope that this article, as well as the others surrounding cats, will mature, deepen and broaden their focus.
Vagabundus 06:47, 18 August 2007 (UTC)This user is also the above User:Rgathercoal

meow —Preceding unsigned comment added by ReluctantPhilosopher (talkcontribs) 09:38, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

you know i m realy sorry about this — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:58, 12 January 2013 (UTC)


I think that cats can purr when they are not happy, but can they not purr when they are happy? -- (talk) 05:38, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Of course this is the case? Surely purring is not necessarily a requirement for happiness.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:08, 8 May 2008

Weird, Slightly Ugly Cat[edit]

The so-called 'happy cat' in the last picture has a very pointy, mean looking face and he's not so much smiling, but has a strangly evil smirk. I suggest we change it to a nicer looking cat: my cat is very pretty. (talk) 15:27, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Agreed, it looks like the owner just woke him up and he looks rather annoyed. Not exactly a happy picture. Trance Blossom (talk) 13:28, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Also agreed, Im gonna add one of my own pics from flickr :) ΤΕΡΡΑΣΙΔΙΩΣ(Ταλκ) 00:40, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Cat drooling[edit]

Surely drooling is a method of communication? BOTH my cats drool when they are very happy, it seems combined with purring, kneading and singing behaviour. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:11, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

10% of cats drool when they purr. They are incapable of swallowing and purring at the same time (talk) 17:55, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

"Cat Yawning" Picture[edit]

I don't think the yawning cat is the best opening picture for the article. Could we use a better one, or perhaps move one up? Trance Blossom (talk) 01:12, 9 May 2008 (UTC)


In the Other noises section's image, is there not also piloerection involved, as is typical in mammals' combat stances?
--Jerzyt 05:41 & 08:20, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

The Fake[edit]

Sometimes in the cat breeds such as Tuxcedo,black, mask and mantle and so on . They will purr in destress to try to trick you if you pick them up. Usally if they have effection tord the person picking up .If you don't put them down it well follow by flailing of the paws and hind legs.

                    March ,12 ,2009  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:56, 12 March 2009 (UTC) 

This page is frequently vandalized[edit]

I note that there have been frequent deliberately false edits made to this entry by unsigned authors with university related IP addresses. These "authors" should study for tomorrow's classes rather than killing time screwing around with the Wikipedia "Cat Communication" entry. Else they are likely to find themselves in a low-paying and stupefyingly boring bureaucratic job in 10 years, or even more likely, broke and on the street. However, as a nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse, I'm probably wasting bandwidth here. Ah, well. Rarkm (talk) 02:30, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Ok, but there is nothing wrong with messing around in your free time. It's not like anyone takes this page seriously anyways. Life is a balance of work and play. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Msarancibia (talkcontribs) 03:09, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

Mee + Ow[edit]

Besides noting that this article is disturbingly unreferenced and seems to contain a lot of unfounded information which may in fact be completely inaccurate, I wanted to mention that I've read that the two syllables of a cat's meow mean two different things. The "Mee" (or sometimes just "Ee" part means something, and the "ow" (or sometimes "Mow") means something different. Can't remember where I read or heard it, as it was many years ago, but I've heard it from reputable sources more than once, if someone wants to follow through on that and find a source. Softlavender (talk) 10:51, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

I've heard that too. Whether I can find a reference isn't very important because it's pure nonsense. Supposedly the "me" part is the friendly part, the "ow" is the aggressive part, and the two together give the message that the cat is friendly but not fully subservient. But given that many people have cats, it's easy to tell by observation that it's not true. Cats can be quite friendly and use the "ow" part alone. I have a cat that uses it to ask to go out, but will use it only when near the door. What's more relevant might be to cite sources related to the multitude of variations that domestic cats come up with that are very situation specific. Hagrinas (talk) 05:37, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Is this page serious?[edit]

" There is a tendency to think that the cats control humans with subtle forms of communication.[1] " —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:04, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

This whole page is written as though cats owned humans (like the phrase, "You don't own cats, cats own you.") However, I have spotted several flaws with this article such as the section about cats meowing, one part makes it seem as if cats registered complaints to the complaint department! Seriously, though, this page needs fixing big time. --Codyrox (talk) 05:42, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Cats do own humans, you don't really think this page was only started at the free will of a Wikipedian, do you? This was actually created due to the mind control techniques that many house-cats possess, they are very subtle and sly with their psychological control and unfortunately, many, if not all Humans are blind to this activity. So while this page exists, the Felids have won not just the battle, but the war, taking with them the spoils of battle, us. (talk) 09:50, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Ears-back behavior in cats[edit]

When a cat puts it's ears back, this indicates fear or anger only WHEN THE CAT IS FACING the thing it fears or is angry at. A cat with ears back is listening behind itself. In tense situations, this keeps anything from sneaking up on it. Sometimes putting back ears just means the cat is "focusing" it's hearing on something behind it. When this occurs, the “ears back” doesn’t necessarily mean that the cat is angry. In fact, a cat with its’ back turned to you is indicating it trusts you, since a cat will only turn its’ back on something it fears if it is also running away at the same time. To prove this, just try to get behind a fearful or hostile cat. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:00, 5 August 2011 (UTC)


Having just spent a wasted few minutes trying to find this entry I would suggest it be altered to include the English spelling Miaow as well as the American spelling of Meow. --DickyP (talk) 11:55, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Edit 19:31, 31 March 2012‎ by (talk)‎[edit]

Accidentally hit enter before completing the comment. It was: "Removed incorrect picture from meowing sound clip" The pictured cat was yawning, not meowing. -- Abbey (talk) 19:34, 31 March 2012 (UTC)


Why is nyan redirected to this article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by SimonDeDanser (talkcontribs) 10:47, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Apparently because "nyan" is the Japanese word for "meow". I've fixed that now. – Uanfala (talk) 12:59, 5 November 2018 (UTC)

Edit request on 10 July 2012[edit]

Please add: Why do cats sharpen their claws? (this is the only thing I can see that was missed on this very good, complete entry) Cats sharpen their claws to remove the dead cuticle, and reveal the razor sharp claw underneath; also to 'mark' their territory with the scent glands on their feet. Cats who have been declawed do this instinctively, for the same reasons.

SavACat (talk) 20:22, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Not done for now: Removing dead cuticle doesn't seem to have anything to do with communication. The article does mention that the paws release scent. If you can find a reliable source specifically addressing clawing in this regard, please provide it. Rivertorch (talk) 08:53, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 2 Sep 2012[edit]

Remove duplicate, under Purring section:

There is no unique anatomical feature that is clearly responsible for the sound.[10]

The mechanism by which cats purr is elusive. This is partly because the cat has no unique anatomical feature that is clearly responsible for the sound.[10]

Under consideration. I've begun cleaning up the entire section. It's going to happen in fits and starts, unless someone else does it. Rivertorch (talk) 18:29, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

Missing audio references?[edit]

Under purring, there's a couple of sentences on the "audio samples that accompany this article". I've tried looking for these but have only found the meowing one. Is this a remnant of copy-pasting from the article on purring? Silvermael (talk) 16:25, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Chemically Impossible Statement Under "Scent" Section[edit]

Urea (H2N(CO)NH2) cannot possibly generate mercaptans (ie thiols) as there are no sulfur atoms in the molecule. I feel that this error could have arisen by honest mistake in the phrasing, however as it stands now it is not sound. I recommend that the degradation of urea in this environment and the presence of thiols in the urine (if they are bona fide components as opposed to the products of urea) be sourced. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jgwest91 (talkcontribs) 02:24, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

I've posted a note at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Chemistry asking that someone take a look at your query. Rivertorch (talk) 18:59, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Better now?--Livermorium (talk) 03:26, 30 July 2013 (UTC)


Why has the word 'mew' been reverted to 'meow'. This is a matter of correct English. This sound that the cat makes is vocalised by humans as 'meow' just as the sound a dog makes is vocalised as 'woof', or another sound a cat makes as vocalised as 'prrrr'.

The names for these sounds are 'mew', 'bark', and 'purr' respectively. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:01, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

The Miller reference and reference #13 used to verify the vocalisations of cats use the word "meow". To my mind (with no research at the moment), the word "mew" describes the very high pitched, usually highly repetitive, plaintive call of very young kittens demanding attention. I think rather than arguing, we need to research and add appropriate references.__DrChrissy (talk) 17:09, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
If the article is to retain the word "Mew", its useage should be cited. My own research indicates that "Miaow" or "Meow" are much more common and there are many citations for this. I have found nothing to support the idea that mew is a similar description as "bark".__DrChrissy (talk) 17:10, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
Never saw the word "Mew" used in regard to cats before (although I know it is a popular Pokemon) and agree that if there is even such a sound cats make, it would not be the "Meow" sound. Some cats do make an almost silent meow which might sound like mew, but it is not a true meow. A true meow contains both a starting "me" sound followed by a longer "ow" sound. Agree that the "mew" usage must be cited in order to remain. Whose "correct" English are we referring to? VMS Mosaic (talk) 03:20, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
The sound cats make is traditionally written 'meow' in US English ('miaow' in Brit) but the correct name of the sound is 'mew'. It is just like with a dog, the sound is generally written 'woof' but the name of the sound is a 'bark'. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:36, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Please show me any proof what so ever that mew is the correct name of the sound. Simply repeating something over and over again does not make it true. Take a look at the Online Etymology Dictionary [1] entry for meow which doesn't even mention mew. Also see the mew entry [2] where mew is only mentioned as a verb in regard to cats (i.e., it is not the name of anything in regard to cats). Wikipedia is not about personal opinions, so please stop editing you personal opinion into the article. I would suggest WP:THIRD, but we already have a third opinion agreeing that "meow" is the correct name. VMS Mosaic (talk) 02:18, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Your reference states that meow is a 'representation of cat sound'. That is exactly correct, 'meow' is a representation of the sound, an attempt to approximately mimic the sound by means of an onomatopoeic word. As I have explained above the equivalent word for a dog would be 'woof', a word which when spoken is intended to sound like the sound a dog makes. The 'name' for this sound is a 'bark' and the word for making this sound is 'barking'. We say that a dog is barking, going 'woof woof woof'. Now look up 'mew' in your reference. It is defined as 'make a sound like a cat'. We say that a cat is mewing by making the sound 'meow'.
Please try to understand, I am not saying that 'mew' is a correct word and 'meow' is not, I am pointing out that they are two different words with two different meanings. 'Meow' is a representation of the sound itself and 'mew' is the name we give to the sound and the action of making it. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:56, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Here are some links explaining what I mean [[3]], [this link] says 'First verbs used to label animal sounds are listed, followed by figures of speech that imitate those sounds'. Under cat it has first 'mew' as the label for the sound them 'meow' as its representation. It does seem that this distinction is being lost but it has not gone completely yet. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:06, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I did ask for any proof what so ever, so I suppose a personal "Fun Stuff" page by a professor in a college of electronic and electrical engineering (your first link) qualifies under that definition of proof. Your second link doesn't even pass that lowest possible standard of proof given that it defines both mew and meow as verbs (note that mew does not have a ":" after it, so it is simply a member of a non-alphabetical list of verbs). Sorry, but if there ever was a distinction of which I am far from convinced, that distinction has long since passed into history.
I agree a dog barks, but doesn't woof. But a cat meows and, using a very rare usage, mews. Those are the facts as they exist on the ground today. VMS Mosaic (talk) 01:33, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
After reading this, I was curious, so I grabbed a few dictionaries off the shelf. All three agree that meow/miaow is usable as both the sound, and the act of making the sound. Longman (which favours British English) does suggest that 'mew' is an intransitive verb for making the sounds of a cat, but it also says it's a noun synonym of miaow (which is also both verb and noun). Webster's New Collegiate (which favors American English) says that it's an intransitive verb: 'to utter a mew or similar sound' and gives gulls as an example. It also says it's a noun synonym for meow (again, both a verb and a noun). American Heritage says similar. None of the three list mew under meow, but all of them list meow under mew, which suggests that meow/miaow is the more common term. Mew could be added as an additional alternate, but it doesn't look like it has the subtle distinction originally suggested. Grayfell (talk) 06:07, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
The distinction is not between the sound and the act of making it but between an onomatopoeic representation of the sound (meow, woof, baa) and the name that we give to the sound (mew, bark, bleat); both are nouns that can also be used as verbs. In the case of mew/meow I admit that the distinction seems to be becoming less common, probably because the words are similar, but, in my opinion it is a distinction still worth making. Would you not think it somewhat infantile to talk of dogs as woofing and sheep as baa-ing? I am not going to fight this any longer if you thing the time has come to accept what some would think of as a corruption of the English language then go ahead. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:09, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Martin, it's not that we don't understand where you are coming from, but Wikipedia is not the English language enforcement police. Unlike French (which actually does have enforcement police), English is constantly evolving, going where ever common usage takes it. Wikipedia is based on what is provable current common usage. VMS Mosaic (talk) 00:58, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Linguistic prescription aside, 'mew' appears to be a much older word, at least as written, but I didn't find any reliable sources supporting the distinction in modern English. Wikipedia should use language that is clear and concise. My guess is that mew would be too distracting to most readers, especially considering that we don't have any hard evidence that meow is incorrect. I suspect we would be reverting it frequently. That's a poor reason not to do it, but it would be a good indicator that it's too distracting. Grayfell (talk) 05:47, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
I am not sure that just using the correct word can be called linguistic prescription. I agree language does evolve, but there does have to be a balance in WP between street talk or baby talk and more formal language. I think it is always preferable to favour language which uses two words to make a distinction between two different concepts over language which uses the same word for two different things. I do take your point though about distraction and being frequently reverted and I am going to leave the article as it is. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:40, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
I understand the distinction you're drawing—an analogy would be "bray" and "'hee-haw"' for donkeys—but in the case of cat sounds both "mew" and "meow/miaow" are onomatopoetic, and according to both the Oxford American and Chambers dictionaries the words are interchangeable both as noun and as verb. A third word, "mewl", is synonymous with the other two but only as a verb. Chambers does indicate "meow" and "mewl" entered the language later (17th century versus 16th for "mew"), and perhaps there was a distinction to be made once upon a time, with "mew" being the more formal, established word. That doesn't appear to be the case anymore or, if it is, I'm not aware of the evidence. In more general terms, I'd like to suggest a middle ground between being the "language police" at one extreme and contributing to the "corruption" of the language at the other: the form of our content—i.e., everything written in Wikipedia's voice—certainly should be formal prose, but in terms of our coverage we should take no position as to the "correctness" of various usage examples and patterns. Rivertorch (talk) 17:59, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
I think there certainly was a distinction but it is fading away, I think because the word 'mew' is onomatopoetic. As I say above, we need a balance between the extremes of formal and informal speech and if I were writing this article alone I would use the word 'mew' for the name of the sound, but I take Grayfell's points about distraction and frequent reversion and I am not going to fight for what I think is still a worthwhile distinction. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:10, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Btw, any opinion about what the fox says? Rivertorch (talk) 00:06, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Quite a lot. [[4]] Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:15, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Visual markings[edit]

The German article mentions scratchmarks on trees and furniture. Is there an English-language source suggesting that scratching may be more than just claw-sharpening? -- (talk) 13:02, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

Wtf? I just got assigned this address from my ISP, I have no idea where the anal-sac(!?) link comes from, & I do not see it in the source code of the page so I am unable to remove it...

Fixing requested[edit]

Please fix this reference's url:

Schötz, Susanne (May 30 – June 1, 2012). A phonetic pilot study of vocalizations in three cats

Thanks. - Joxemai (talk) 08:18, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Removed unverified claim from 2014 in Eyes subsection[edit]

I removed the following from the Eyes subsection. I'm not sure whether the claim is really falsifiable, because who knows what behavior might be seen in individual cats. It's a pretty extraordinary claim, so it would need a strong source cited (rather than no source at all). Personally, I think it matches the tone and content of the documented vandalism that this page has gone through.

For context, the missing object of the next sentence is a direct stare from a cat.

Ninjalectual (talk) 08:36, 27 May 2018 (UTC)

When not used for such functions, a cat will blink or look away periodically to avoid provoking the same defensive response that a direct stare would elicit.[citation needed] This periodic blinking or looking away is expressed when pet cats look at humans. Ninjalectual (talk) 08:36, 27 May 2018 (UTC)