Why Domestic Cats Use Sounds to Communicate With Humans While Cats In the Wild Don’t

In an articulate episode of the wonderful feline series “Simon’s Cat Logic” entitled Talk to Me“, illustrator Simon Toland and animal behaviorist Nicky Trevorrow explain how and why domestic cats meow, particularly since meowing doesn’t come naturally to cats out in the wild. Instead, they reserve their unique forms of verbal communication for their often malleable humans.

Meowing is not actually a natural behaviour for cats, out in the wild they wouldn’t be communicating with one another through vocal communication, and it’s the same for feral colonies, when cats are communicating with each other. …But, with our pet cats they tend to be quite chatty. What’s really interesting is that this is a communication form that builds up over time with owners and their cats. The cat will develop specific meows depending on how their owner responds.

Toland also revealed in the video that it’s his voice behind Simon’s cat’s and kitten’s meows.

First of all I thought about putting real-life cat noises on top of the cartoon. But I soon found out this didn’t really work, they weren’t really gelling together. So then I thought, well…l I’ve kept cats all my life I know the noises they would make him and how his mind is working and what noises he would make in that situation. So then I thought I’d give it a go…