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Why Cats Meow Back at You When Talking to Them: 6 Possible Reasons

Oliver Jones

By Oliver Jones

cat meowing

Social by nature, domesticated cats have many ways to communicate with people, other cats, and animals. Like humans, cats use body language and sounds to communicate how they’re thinking and feeling.

If you’ve ever wondered why your cat meows back at you when you talk to it, we’ve got the answer you need! There are many reasons why cats meow back when they’re talked to, including the following:

The 6 Reasons Cats Meow Back When You Talk to Them

1. To Acknowledge That You’re Speaking to Them

When you talk to your cat, he probably doesn’t understand much about what you’re saying, except for a few words he’s learned. When you’re chatting away to your cat and he meows back, he may be simply letting you know that he knows you’re speaking to him. His meowing is a way for him to communicate with you, even though it doesn’t mean anything specific.

2. To Communicate That They’re Hurt

When a cat meows back at you when you’re talking to him, it can be a sign that your cat is feeling some type of discomfort or pain. This is typically indicated by excessive meowing that sounds more panicky than regular meowing.

Maybe your cat has stepped on something that’s stuck in his foot, perhaps he has an irritated eye, or maybe he’s feeling pain from an insect sting. Your meowing cat may be trying to tell you that something’s wrong. Therefore, you should check your cat over if he behaves this way to look for signs of injury.

orange cat meowing
Image Credit: Piqsels

3. Just to Say Hello

If you arrive home after a long day at work and speak to your cat, he may meow back at you to say hello. Remember that pet cats are social creatures that enjoy human interaction and love. Your cat may be meowing back at your when you say hello to show his happiness that you’re finally home.

4. To Tell You to Fill the Food Bowl

If you speak to your cat when he’s hungry, he may answer with a series of loud meows to tell you his food dish is empty. In this type of situation, your cat may even try to lead you to the food dish to get you to fill it with food.

If you’ve had your cat for a while, you probably recognize the meowing sound he makes when he’s hungry. Cats often meow rather dramatically when they want to be fed and many don’t stop meowing until they get food!

American shorthair cat eating
Image By: Apicha Bas, Shutterstock

5. To Tell You They’re Scared

If you approach an unfamiliar outdoor cat and start talking to it, he may answer with some meows to tell you to back off. Cats often meow when they’re scared to keep themselves safe from perceived danger.

Your pet cat can meow this way too if he’s put into an unfamiliar situation. For example, your cat can meow to tell you he’s afraid to be in the car or to visit the veterinarian. This type of meowing is often loud and threatening.

6. To Convey They Want to Go Outside

It’s common for a pet cat to answer with a couple of meows when talked to by its owner if that cat wants to be let outside. As independent animals, cats would prefer opening doors themselves but since they can’t, they must tell us humans when they want in or out.

If you’re bothered by your cat’s meowing to be let in or out, consider installing a cat door so your cat can come and go as he likes. If you do install a cat door, be aware that other cats can use it too. Don’t be surprised if your cat brings home a friend now and then through that little door of his!

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why cats meow back when they’re talked to. If your cat does this and you’re not sure why, think about the situation. Have you just arrived home from work? Is your cat’s food bowl empty? Maybe your cat is standing by the door to indicate he wants to go outside. It’s not difficult to determine why a cat is meowing back when you talk to it if you simply pay attention to the circumstances!

See also: Why Is My Cat Carrying Around a Toy and Meowing?

Featured Image Credit: Marvin Otto, Pixabay

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