Talking to Animals

Last night I watched a programme on BBC3 about a couple of people living with pigs for a few days. It was surprisingly good, but the best revelation is the existence of an 'expert in pig communication'- what a job! Apparently, pigs have extensive grunt communication, obviously mainly based on tone, inflection and cadence. This morning I searched for this language on the net but, sadly, it is not a well recognised topic. What I did find, however, was this guide on communicating with cats. Here's the crux of the matter:


Mew (high pitched and thin) - a polite plea for help
MEW! (loud and frantic) - an urgent plea for help

Adult cats:

mew - plea for attention
mew (soundless) - a very polite plea for attention (this is Paul Gallico's "Silent Miaow" which is probably a sound pitched too high for human ears)
meow - emphatic plea for attention
MEOW! - a command!
mee-o-ow (with falling cadence) - protest or whine
MEE-o-ow (shrill whine) - stronger protest
MYUP! (short, sharp, single note) - righteous indignation
MEOW! Meow! (repeated) - panicky call for help
mier-r-r-ow (chirrup with liting cadence) - friendly greeting


merrow - challenge to another male
meriow - courting call to female

Mother cats:

MEE-OW - come and get it!
meOW - follow me!
ME R-R-R-ROW - take cover!
mer ROW! - No! or Stop It!
mreeeep (burbled) - hello greeting to kittens and disarming greeting to adult cats (also used between adult cats and humans)

Quite interesting. I imagine it would be useful for my cats, but they hardly ever mew at all. Rubbish, I would very much like to know if they get fed up with cat food day on day.

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