Why Cats Reserve Their Unique Meows As a Means to Communicate With Humans Who Take Care of Them

BBC Earth took a look at the behavior of domestic cats and found that while they make many sounds to one another, they reserve their meows (miaows) solely for communicating with the humans that take care of them. Veterinarian Dr. John Bradshaw of Bristol University explains that meowing is a practice learned from kitten-hood.

The meow starts off as a kitten vocalization. It’s something they use in order to call their mothers over…the mother is very attentive to those meows. And then as the kitten grows up, it gradually stops meowing, presumably because it just stops working. The mother wants to wean the kittens and stops responding. A pet cat is constantly meowing at its owner. It’s a way of getting the owner’s attention.