by Nomi Berger
Your kitty gazes up at you, purr-haps with an eye blink for emphasis, and slowly opens her mouth. She makes a “meow” movement once or twice and then … All you hear is a small raspy squeak, a slight breathiness or nothing at all. Welcome to the wondrous world of the “silent meow”.
Contrary to what some cat experts may or may not think about the significance of the “silent meow”, committed cat guardians insist THEY know precisely what it means. It’s a voiceless valentine, a definite declaration of the overwhelming love, affection and gratitude that their cherished companions feel for them.
But is YOUR favorite feline’s “silent meow” truly silent? Amorous interpretations aside, this fabled trait is, according to research, a meow like any other meow. Except that you can’t hear it.
Cats are able to pick up significantly higher sounds than humans, with maximums of between 50 and 60 kilohertz, whereas humans only hear between 18 and 20 kilohertz. If your cat meows at you silently, YOU may not be able to hear it, but other cats can.
And yet, most passionate pussycat people prefer to “read” between the lines of these muted mouthings and attribute various, possible meanings to each one. Some of these include:
Your cat may meow soundlessly at you in greeting – whether you’ve been gone a few hours or a few days. This is their version of “Hi!” or “How are you?” in “cat speak”.
“Look at Me”
Your cat may meow mutely to get your attention – whether it’s to ask for her favorite toy or for some quality lap time on the couch.
Your cat may meow noiselessly at the sounds of her treat bag rattling or the opening of her tin of favorite cat food.
“Let Me Out”
Your cat may meow inaudibly if she spends some of her time outside as a signal to paw-lease open the door and let her out.
Being the recipient of a series of “silent meows” – no matter the meaning — turns many cat-crazy cat owners into virtual putty in their kiss-able kitties’ paws, invariably leading them to crave more. And more often than not, their coquettish companions will cheerfully comply.
Unless your cat suffers from a specific illness or other health issues that prevent her from meowing normally, consider her “silent meow” as the highest of compliments, as her winsome way of saying “thank you” for being her best feline fur-ever friend.