atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6639: That's the biggest load of--

Every so often an article pops up, and it has the tone of a know-it-all who can't wait to tell you something that is oh-so-surprising to hear.

And it's horseshit. It sounds like it's so, but if you know anything about the subject you can see that it's obviously horseshit.

In this case it's about cats meowing. The Big New Thing is that cats learn to meow because they are imitating human babies crying, and that endears them to humans somehow. "Cats don't meow at each other!" Bleats the know-it-all.


If you have ever observed a mother cat with a relatively fresh batch of kittens--long before their eyes open they will meow for attention from mommy. I've been around twice when cats littered and I've seen it myself. They meow instinctively at their mother. If you pick up a kitten to cuddle it, it will meow, and its mother will meow back. There is no learned behavior here; it's entirely instinctual.

I remember when the family cat had kittens in 1985. The cat laying in the cardboard box with the little things swarming all over her; I'd pick up a kitten and it would start to complain, and the mother cat would look me in the eye and meow at me.

Cats meow at humans because the interspecies relationship is based on a misunderstanding. Cats view their owners as a mother figure; and so when your cat wants something he meows at you, just as he did with his mother when he was a kitten.

Cats did not "learn" to meow during domestication, either; it's not a trait which was bred into them. All animals have ways of signaling each other, and when young they have behaviors they grow out of as they age. Just like people.

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