For any bona fide lover of felines, not many things can be more endearing and just plain precious than the sight of a cat attempting to meow -- but it coming out completely silent. Adorable as the silence is, it's probably not intentional on your kitty's part. Your ears simply can't hear sounds that high.
If your cat meows at you silently, you may not be able to hear it, but that doesn't mean that other felines won't. Cats are capable of picking up significantly higher sounds than people are -- with maximums of between 50 and 60 kilohertz. Human beings are only able to hear up to a meager 18 to 20 kilohertz -- a far cry from the kitty range. A silent meow is likely just any old standard meow -- just a lot higher.
"Look At Me"
Silent meows, just like any other meows, have a lot of different possible meanings. Cats often meow when they want attention from you. Maybe your cheeky feline wants you to take out her favorite catnip mouse, or just for you to give her a few cozy and cuddly pets on the back. All pretty innocent, really.
Your cat may also be silent meowing because her tummy is hungry. Maybe it's just around the time you open the can up for her every morning. Perhaps she just has a craving for a few tasty tuna treats -- and only you have access to the bag of them up in your kitchen cabinet.
"Let Me Out"
If your cat spends part of her day outside, she may even be meowing to you as a hint for you to open up the door and let her out. Her tiny paws can't exactly reach the doorknob, after all.
Whether silent or not, cats often meow as simple greetings, nothing more and nothing less. Perhaps your kitty is elated to see you after a long weekend away. Meowing is her version of saying, "Hi! How are you?"
Meowing sometimes is an indication of distress. Your little one may meow out of pain or discomfort, so if it seems excessive, it may be time to set up a visit to the veterinarian's office.
Silent Meowing Frequently
If your cat has a habit of using silent meows often, it may be because she's a pretty smart and savvy little thing. Silent meows are so cute that they often make people putty in their felines "hands," and cats are well aware of that. When your precious pet really wants something from you, she probably won't hesitate to let out a really high-pitched sound.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- The Humane Society of the United States: The Cat's Meow
- Humane Society of the High Plains: Kids & Kritters
- The Humane Society of the United States Complete Guide to Cat Care; Wendy Christensen et al.
- Cornell University News: It's the Cat's Meow