I've adopted, or is it been adopted by, a stray cat which frequents multiple houses in the immediete area, but sleeps on the sofa in my lounge. It struggles to communicate even though I know it is capable and trying.

It seems the meow sound it creates is very high pitched, to the point that I can barely hear it. What I'll hear is the beginning or end of the vocalisation with a quiet part where there seems to be a rise in frequency. I don't have access to an oscilloscope to test this theory. I've tested my hearing and I can reliably catch sounds up to 16khz, it seems to be emitting noises around that level.

At times im pretty sure it doesnt bother with the sound and just makes eye contact and opens its mouth like a meow.

It is a neutered male, very docile. I've given it a flea collar, and nobody has removed it, but I've seen it coming out of other people's back doors and even sitting outside the front of a house across the street. Nobody I have asked says they know who it belongs to. I don't think it considers itself an owned animal. It doesnt mind being handled, and enjoys grooming, so clearly it was a pet at some time in its life. Curiously, it is terrified of the sound of plastic bags and will run.

I've found a few questions about cats and lack of a meow such as this one Why does my cat meow less than I expect it to?

But this is not the same situation. It is giving off a vocalisation but it doesnt understand that I can't hear it properly. Maybe it thinks we're deaf but has learned that the action of a meow is enough to get it attention.

  • i am not sure a cat are able to make sounds of a very high frequenzy,i had a feral cat and could see him trying to make sounds but dit not hear anything but after some time he started to make audible sound. Mar 11, 2018 at 6:28

1 Answer 1


Vocalizations, like meowing at your, are mostly for the humans benefit. I was watching a cat documentary about this and it showed that cats don't do a lot of vocalizing with each other. They use more body language, barring hissing during fights. They just don't spend all day meowing about the mouse they caught.

They say that cats have learned to meow to get things from humans. If the cat meows loud and the humans rush in to do something to get it to shut up, it meows louder and louder to get better results. On the other hand, your cat is like mine, when yelled loud they just told him to shut up, but when he acted wimpy and meowed pathetically, they said poor baby and gave him treats and attention. Because of that, he barely vocalizes anymore. He'll do exactly what you said and do a barely audible squeak and sometimes just open his mouth.

It's just about how they think they're training you. Try not reacting until he meows louder, then do what he wants. I bet you it'll get louder and louder. As quiet as mine squeaks, he's fully capable of yowling when he wants to play at 3am and everyone is ignoring him.

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