Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: October 31, 2022 by Crystal Uys


One of the primary ways cats communicate is through body language, but they also express themselves vocally. And most cat’s vocal expressions go far beyond just “meow.”

Even though I have no scientific evidence, in my experience, when it comes to being talkative, tortoiseshell cats have most other cats beat. Buckley was one of the most vocal cats I’ve ever come across. She had a range of expression from an almost silent meow to a very loud, demanding cry that almost approached a scream. I often heard her meowing or chattering somewhere in the house. It was almost as if she felt compelled to provide a running commentary on her activities:  “I think I’ll go in the bedroom now.”  “Oh, maybe I’ll jump up on the window perch. That looks like fun.”  “Oh, look! There’s a big blue bird by the feeder!”  It seemed that her constant delight at everything in her life needed to be expressed out loud.

Amber, who really wasn’t a typical tortie in a lot of other ways, wasn’t much of a talker, but she purred more than any other cat I have ever known. She purred  if you so much as looked at her.

Allegra’s has quite a varied range of expression. She makes a little “brrpp” chirping sound when she’s excited about a toy. Sometimes, she seems to use it for no reason that I can see, so I assume that she’s just particularly happy right then. She also uses a pitiful sounding little whine when she sees me fix my meals in the kitchen. Usually this is accompanied by her putting her paws on my legs, and she’ll only stop once I let her sniff whatever it is I’m making. Since I’m vegetarian, most of the time, that sniff will result in a scrunched up face on her part and she’ll walk away.

Ruby has quite a sound repertoire as well. She squeaks. A lot. It’s a very happy little sound that can range from low volume to extremely high pitched and loud. She squeaks when I talk to her, she squeaks when I touch her, and she squeaks to announce her arrival in a room. She also makes this sweet little noise that’s somewhere between a squeak and a chirp when she first joins me after I’ve gone to bed. It’s like her “here I am, Mom, let’s snuggle” sound, and it makes my heart melt.

And of course, I talk back to them.  I believe that talking to our cats is an important part of the feline human bond, and even though they may sometimes display selective hearing, I do believe that they listen to us. I try to avoid using baby talk, but sometimes, they’re just so cute, I can’t help myself.

Do your cats talk, and do you talk back to them?

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51 Comments on Do Your Cats Talk, and Do You Talk Back?

  1. My torti cat which I named “Calicat” is a really talker.
    She “purrtalks”in question mark sounds…and she “squeak talks” well..and I talk back to her. Of course!!!
    She is loving and affectionate…and will wrap her paws around you like a person and put her head near my forehead…My husband and I are completely smitten by her.
    She is a gentle loving creature,,abd we’re glad she found us.

  2. Our darling Morgan (rescued 10+ years ago) has always been verbal. This lovely kitty sleeps on her back, is my kitty corsage at night and gently taps my shoulders and face with tentative meows night and day. She is given prompt attention for every effort.

    Morgan has graciously taught endearing communications to other indoor kitties. Although some may view this behavior annoying, we treasure our moments of tender talk and touch

    Morgan knows how to push our buttons.

  3. Our mixed breed cat (mom supposedly pure Persian. Dad????). Talks constantly!! Very conversational. He enters the kitty door yeowling about his day. He is very conversational, and expects a response from me! He talks and expects you to talk back. His tone changes when he is hungry, angry, upset, or really happy. I really feel as if we have a conversation sometimes 🙂
    Any family vacation over for 5 days we put them in the car and bring it with us. He loves it as long as his family is here he is ok. He gets very lonely and talks to himself if we leave town without him. If we go somewhere and are unable to take him, we actually hire people to come in and talk to him!

    • Can I say how much I love that you hire people to come and talk to your cat, Michelle? That’s awesome!

    • I have an orange tabby female that makes what seems like 100s of different sounds. Like your cat, she seems to just love announcing when she comes into the room or when, well, anything happens throughout the day, and of course she always gets a response from us. She is constantly chatting throughout the day with adorable little chirps, and meows, and half purr/have meows and sometimes I’ll go back and fourth with her for 15-20 minutes. I’m so curious what makes some cats like this but I absolutely love it. It’s weird, I know, but I adore the conversations we have throughout the day and the way she greets me every time I see her or announces her arrival, or squeaks when I pick her up, or chatters at birds through the window, or even the distressed howl from the other room when she loses me because she forgot I went to the bathroom because it’s always followed by the most adorable purr/chirp/meow when I call her name back and she finds me. I swear with her vast range of noises she makes its pretty close to a language and I can always tell what she wants and how she feels by her meows. TL:DR I don’t just respond to my kitty, I have full in conversations with her XD

  4. I have a 3 year old Mane Coon. He is the most talkative kitty ive ever met! Always wants to tell me about his day. The funniest thing to me though is when he goes up to the door when i get home after work to tell my family that im outside. Also, i swear this dude says “let me in” and even uses words to ask for food. Hes trippy and mischevious and very smart. Sometimes he talks to his nieces ( 2 chiuahaha doggies) and they make meowing sounds back at him lol.

  5. Yes! I have a 3 year old tortie and it feels as though we do talk to each other! Our only conversations seem to be about her wanting food or attention, but I understand her loud and clear every time 🙂 I rescued her from the streets, and “meowed” at her to get her attention when I first saw her, and ever since then we’ve “talked” to each other by meowing

  6. My beautiful 7 year old fur baby, Tia, has always been very vocal with me. I always answer her chirps and meows. We have our own little conversations and it’s easy to figure out what she’s trying to tell me. I do try to stay away from the baby talk though sometimes I can’t help it. She greets me when I come home from work, she lets me know when she’s hungry, whenever I touch, brush or pick her up, she makes a cute little chirping sound. Tia is very great at communicating with me!

  7. Both of my domestic shorthair’s talk ever such a lot, and i always answer them! my boyfriend thinks i’m crazy, but i feel like they would be offended if i didnt answer them… 😛

  8. My British Short Hair mix, Chester talks back _all_ the time! Whenever he sees me he will start meowing all over the place, especially if I’m coming with his food bowl. Last night he let me pick him up, and when I put him down and pet his belly he started to kick his feet and claw my arm and bit my hand. I think he was trying to play or something… he is so much more like a dog lol… :’)

    • It sounds like Chester got overly stimulated, Marley. It sounds like either play or petting aggression:

  9. Vera is part Siamese rescue kitty n she is very vocal now she is grown. From being loud to just talkative to grunt-pout noises if I don’t pay attention to her n figure out what she wants from me. lol Actually, I believe she has taught all r other cats n dogs to be a winier if they want something now. They never made a sound except barking. Coincidence or learned?

  10. I talked to Zesty (in fact I still do, I tell her I miss her and love her and I’m sorry) and I talk to Topaz all the time too, about anything and everything, from a Topaz (girls), I’m home greeting to good night, sleep tight, see you in the morning at the end of the day.

    Zesty had a loud exuberant cry and she could go on and on if attention was not paid to her to address whatever situation she needed addressing, and I swear she could throw her voice. I got to where if she sounded like she was at one end of the apartment, I could expect she was really at the other.

    I miss her voice and I am glad I recorded video of her doing everyday stuff her last day and her talking included.

    Topaz does not sound like any cat I have ever heard. In fact for years we thought she could not cry. It is kind of a murph, but as she has gotten older she uses it more and more to get what she needs.

  11. Booboo is my all black Persian. She is a rescue cat and has an incredible personality. She will come to me and “warble” if she needs something. She also mumbles to herself when she is arranging her “bed” in the window.

  12. I also once read an article published in a medical journal that hypothesized that cats during the domestication process a long time ago learned the vocalization patterns of crying human babies and learned that mimicking them would gain them the attention they were looking for from human females.

    And I swear this is true because my tabby cat, Jack, has got those sounds down to a tee… it doesn’t matter if i am sound asleep, if he’s out of food, his cry will wake me out of a dead sleep 2,000 SF away. The particular meow, even done softly, triggers this subconscious response that I must find him… similar to the response you have as a mother when something isn’t right with baby. Devious, clever cats.

  13. Dottie, our alpha and dilute tortie, is the most talkative. As long as her eyes are open, she’s talking…. I imagine she tells me about her dreams, what she did while we were gone, scolds us for being late or for not coming home for a night or two (when we’re traveling), whether she likes this particular cat food or not, and so on. And, of course we talk to her and encourage her to speak her mind. I especially love it when we have a dinner party because she will climb up and sit next to whoever is on the bench and watch the conversation and interject as she sees fit.

    And, I think because Dottie has always been so vocal, her two brothers (a tabby and a tuxedo) caught on, and they also never stop talking unless they’re asleep. Jack, our tabby, has picked up words… mom (when he wants my attention), no (when he’s tired or doesn’t want you to join in while he’s playing with a toy), and yeah (whenever we ask him any question… i think he’s picked up on the inflection we use when we ask questions which are typically, “do you want food” “do you love mom” “do you want pets” etc.).

    And, now that we have Mika (our full force tortie), she talks with attitude. One thing I find interesting with her is she will use that clicking sound that is typically reserved for birds and bugs (that kind of sounds like a taser gun firing) to coax us into doing something for her–petting, turning the faucet on, opening the window, giving her spinach, etc. Then, my favorite part, is when she’s being defiant or naughty, and we get onto her or spritz her with a water bottle to get her off a counter or table, that girl will absolutely let you have it–verbally ripping you a new one (or so it seems judging on her tone and sounds).

    I love our talkative cats and wouldn’t change them one bit. 🙂

    • I loved this article. I had a dilute Tortie, Tulsi17, who was very intelligent, demanding, and loveable who also ranged from the “silent meow” to a loud MEOW, already!!! Haha. I adopted a Tortie a year ago, and although her name is Callie, I call her Squeakers or Mrs Squeaks! She has the squeakiest “meow” I’ve ever heard. Other than the funny meow, she reminds me often of Tulsi. They both crack me up, and I just love them.

  14. Alex and Ashley were chatty right up to the end. Alex was able to make several human words understood to me and others. I loved when he shocked someone with his words “milk,” “mom,” “now,” “no” and”more.” Ashley chittered often and that have our vet hope that we could manage her illnesses.

  15. Hey Ingrid! Rajah meows a lot for a tabby! I don’t mind though. The more talkative the better! He’ll really start talking if he sees me get out the tuna fish or the can opener! LOL! The funny thing is, I don’t have an electric one, so it doesn’t make any noise. Also, Rajah’s most vocal at night right when I’m going to sleep. LOL! I’m always talking back to him. I tell him about upcoming vacation plans and just what I’m doing from day to day-especially if I’m gonna be gone for a few hours. I love his pet me meow the best1 It’s like a little chirp, then he’ll rub up against me and purr!

  16. Bernie’s Steeler ( the cat you made Famous in one of your stories) talked the time. She was a Tortie and Bernie said she was talking to her imaginary friends. Frankie ( my Tuxie) talks all the time also. Stirfry almost never purrs but has a soft growl that means she loves me to a Hiss and Growl that tells everyone she is a Tortie with Attitude.

  17. I once had a cat that could make his vocal cords sound human. His name was Flame, and even the vet remarked on how he sounded human.When i took him to the vets he used to shout OUT, OUT OUT, When i brought him home from the vets i would ask him WHERE ARE WE NOW FLAME, to which he would say HOME, OUT HOME., I would let him out of his carrier and he would run straight in the house.When he had to stay a few days with the vet she said THANK GOODNESS HE’S GOING HOME, HE NEVER SHUTS UP CHATTERING,HE’S ALMOST HUMAN. When he came into the house through his cat flat he would shout MAM,MAM,i would say I’M IN HERE OR I’M UPSTAIRS ,and he would run to me chirruping and talking all the time. He would also shout OH NO,when he was going to get an injection, and he also said YES.He was a very remarkable loving cat.His grandmother was a siamise so i imagine that is where his vocalising came from.He use to meetme off the bus when i came home from work, he would stand at the top of our road for the bus to drop me off, but one day the bus didn’t drop us at the top of the road cos it was raining so he brought us closer to home, when i and my companion got off the bus Flame came running down the road shouting like mad and i said WELL YOU SHOULD WAIT BY THE GATE INSTEAD OF UP THE ROAD,my companion who got off the bus with me laughed and said, YOU IDIOT TALKING TO A CAT, CATS DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SAYING. Well she was a Spanish lady, and i replied OH YES THEY CAN, WHAT NOISE DO YOUR CATS IN SPAIN MAKE? She said THEY SAY MIOWW, to which ireplied, SO DOSE HE, THAT SHOWS HOW CLEVER HE IS HE CAN EVEN SPEAK SPANISH, she didn’t know what to say after that, we just laughed.

  18. Of my 5 cats, my youngest, Bella a small black girl, with white chin, chest and paws is my vocal one… in fact I’ve never had a cat that talks as much as Bella does. She does a lot of what I call rolling meows, kind of sounds like Marge Simpson. She uses this when chasing things like toys or her sisters. She has really cute chirps and rolls when she’s happy, crawling under the covers to cuddle up. She also has a very whiney meow when she wants something, like me gettting up in the morning. She was the runt so maybe that’s why she’s so vocal? I do talk back to her. It’s kind of nice having someone to talk to. There’s also nothing wrong with her hisser when she needs to break that out!!

  19. It is really enjoyable to see what everyone has to say. Alice, almost a year old, is more of a “meeper” which is what I call talking without opening her mouth. It’s very quiet and hard to understand, but I talk back to her anyway. Russell, our newest cat, is a large almost 2 yr old male. He has the sweetest voice and uses it a lot. His cat speak is very conversational and I am really trying to get it. His voice is on the quiet side which is funny for such a big cat, and I swear some of his sentences are questions. That unnerved me a in the beginning, but I am more used to it now and just hope I give him the answer he was looking for.

  20. Yes, our cats most certainly have carried on two-way conversations with us. The most talkative was Kitty S., a dark tortoiseshell rescue who lived to be nineteen years old. She decided my father belonged to her, and told him quite eloquently what the other cats in the clowder did and what she saw out the window while he was at work. She’s been at The Rainbow Bridge for five years now.

    Our second most talkative is Lilith Kitten Mahoney, Nurse Cat a tabby and white striped tortie, age thirteen years. I jokingly call her my editorial cat-sistant, because when I read my writing out loud she tells me exactly what she thinks of it (and what she doesn’t think of it). All I’m going to say is that Lilith’s opinions have been spot on.

    Our honorable mention is Rosco P. Catrane, He is a yellow tabby, age nine years, and has been with our family since 2005. We think he is either part Siamese or part Egyptian Mau somewhere along the line, because he has that kind of voice. But not only does he talk to us, and argue back when we reprimand him, he also SINGS!

  21. Punkin (ginger) eats and then goes upstairs and yowls to me (in the middle of the night) that daddy fed him. Otherwise he is pretty quiet.
    Spicy (tortie) is much more talkative but mainly to tell me she is hungry and feed her NEOOW!
    TC (tuxedo) is my most vocal with a whole array of chiraps and trills meaning I love you, pet me, open the blankets, etc.
    Gin Gin (ginger) mainly talks to daddy like where were you? I love you! And when she can’t find him she has this pitiful little cry.

  22. Of course Mum does ! We love to talk with her, especially when she plays the parrot with our meows ! But seriously, she has very good skills in understanding basic meowing like “feed me”, “pet me”, “leave me alone”, “I’m going to vomit, follow me with cleaning stuff”, “I love you”, “don’t even think about giving me flea treatment”, “I feel sick”, and “play with me”. Purrs

  23. I agree totally on tortoiseshell cats being vocal! My Pixie is the Queen of all she surveys and she is constantly telling me about it. I’ve had cats all my life and never had one with such a range of sounds. She is so entertaining!

  24. Yes, they talk, especially Charlie. He follows me around from room to room meowing in various tones telling me about his day. I guess. He also demands his dinner quite verbally and sometimes he goes into the next room to cry pitifully for who knows what reason. When I call him out, he comes running as though happy he got my attention. Chelsea meows only when she needs to have her back scratched when I’m in the bathroom, just so I don’t forget. It’s a good thing I have those two to talk with or I’d be a dotty old lady talking to myself.
    Maxximus, my dearly departed had no meows, just chirps. I tried to teach him to meow but that just confused him so I stopped. He was, of course unaware that he was a cat since he was raised as a bottle baby.

  25. Oh yes, all three talk to me. Even the bunny talks! Though he does it by moving in a certain way or rattling his stick over the spiles of his cage.

    I said hi to May this morning, and she told me, in cat, that she wasn’t doing anything naughty and quickly ran off. She had been staring out the window. She also has this thing, when I do caught her at being naughty, that she pads up to me, meowing loudly, as if to say ‘Not doing anything, I love you.’ If I don’t scold her, she then continues with the naughtiness. Sometimes elses that only May does, usually on Sundays, because for some reason she goes crazy on those days. She throws her head back in her neck and howls like a little wolfcat, then runs around.

    Tess talks 24/7. She even talks in her sleep sometimes. There is the ‘get up mom’ when she wants breakfast. Or the ‘Sit down mom.’ when she wants to sleep on my lap. Usually I am making dinner or cleaning house when she has decided she needs to be on my lap.
    They all talk to the birds. Sometimes all three of them at the same time.

    Kyra doesn’t meow a lot, but she does let you know she isn’t happy with a Kyra growl. It usually stays with growling though, followed with a deep sigh as if her life is so difficult because she’s getting brushed again or something similar.
    I love my butts! Never a dull moment.

  26. All four of ours are chatty to different degrees, the girls more than the boys. Our eldest is half Siamese so she naturally has a lot to say. Sadly, she’s even louder and chattier due to her advanced age (17). I never knew how chatty torties were until we got our youngest. The adoption counselor at the shelter told us she had a funny meow and she wasn’t kidding (think, goat)!

  27. My cat Squeaky that passed used to squeak. That how he got his name. All my kitties love to talk to me and of course I talk back to them. I love when kitties have something to say.

  28. Hey Ingrid! I hope you’re doing well. Rajah meows sometimes. I always talk to him, even when he doesn’t talk back. Sometimes he gets in this mood when he just meows for a minute or so and then purrs and rubs up against me. He can get loud when he wants something and I love it! The Himalayans we used to have were very talkative! Simba, especially.

  29. Of course we talk to Mom! Now that she’s home with us more if we didn’t talk to her there would be somedays she wouldn’t use her voice until late afternoon when Dad gets home!

  30. Zoe never talked much until her brother, Cholla, died. Now she is very vocal. It was like she let him do all the talking for them both, and now she needs to express for herself. We have daily conversations and mostly I just tell her how much I love her. I think she’s telling me that too, among other things. Her loudest sounds are when she’s hungry. She lets me know if I’m even a few minutes late. 🙂

  31. I LOVE this!!! Although both Katie and Waffles talk to me and Gloman, Katie has two-way conversations with Gloman and Waffles has two-way conversations with me.

    Katie’s a squeaker too. She’s more soft spoken and uses a variety of very quiet and subdued mews. Except when she’s caring her huge frog around in her mouth. Then she does a louder and longer “look at me” kind of meow.

    Waffles is a chatterbox. Everything from the adorably sweet brrrrp rattle to yowling that likely has the neighbors rolling their eyes. When he yowls, he literally tries to climb the walls. And there are many sounds and meows in-between.

    Both respond to their name with bright eyes, perked ears and a quick chirp. Ok, sometimes. haha!

    So fun to read this post and hear about your own kitties. : )


  32. The old man of our 2 kitties a tuxedo is the most talkative and yes we talk back to him. Our little 3 year old girl a diluted calico squeaks, but they sound different and each sound means something else. She’s so sweet when she does this.

  33. Its not just torties who are talkative. My beautiful grey tabby girls were quite talkative and my black kitty now can get so loud its annoying. But the most talkative cat we had, had to be Maurice. He would not shut up for a minute haha he was white with a little grey dot on his forehead. He even said his own name. Our tortie Romy only beats the rest at having the cutest meow. It is kitten like and kind of sad and questioning and just melts my heart. She has the most persuasive and adorable meow, hands down.

  34. Thunder is a very talkative cat, and of course, I talk back. He has many words–his favorite is come here–I miss you. He has a special word that he uses when he is mad at the dog. I’m sure it has 4 letters.

  35. Cody is a HUGE “talker” (much like his Mom lol). He has the cutest little voice too…..I ALWAYS talk back to him and we have quite the conversations!

  36. My Truffles (also a tortie) is the most vocal cat I’ve ever had…chatters all the time! And yes, I do answer her 🙂

  37. Our friendly feral Patty O’Malley squeaks when he sees me, and I squeak back. Sammy (another friendly feral) lets out a loud ARF! as a greeting, and I echo it back to him. Inside, Chucky has a range of grunts and meows to tell me exactly how he’s feeling, especially his little whimper when he wants me to slide his mouse toy under the curtain so he can pounce on it from behind. He has a specific meow that tells me he wants me to escort him to his afternoon napping place, and would I please fix the blankie for him!

  38. I live with a Bengal named Lennon. He talks to the deer, squirrels, bunnies and his “friends” outside, he talks to the other cats, he talks to me and my sister. Most of the time doing happy feet (aka making biscuits, kneading). He’s certainly something! And it’s not a cute quiet meow, he almost sounds like a goose!

  39. Little One had a very low meow, but when she really wanted your attention or needed something she would meow louder. Of course with the louder meow we’d come running and give her immediate attention and usually that’s all she wanted – was our full attention at the moment. We definitely talk to our cats (dogs and horses).

  40. Quite a few of the cats here do talk to me and let me know just what they want. And most of the time I talk back to them, such as, not it is not time to eat just yet. Two Two has a favorite toy and she just trilles away when she drags the toy around the house. She also will sit by the door and uses the same Trill if I am in the bedroom when someone outside wants to come inside. She is or door lady.

    But lots and lots of the cats to talk to me about everything. Fun post.

  41. Our diluted tortie Bandit is the most talkative of our cats. However, our 19 year old tuxedo Luna is our most expressive. You can tell what she’s saying by her range of tones and volume. She also purr-talks, especially when she is stroked. Chester, our “Maine Coon like” cat, expresses himself with only silent meows. I enjoy the diversity!

  42. Gordon and Jasmine have huge vocabularies ranging all the way from a cute little sound whenever they jump down from something higher up all the way to a VERY loud “reowwwwwwww”. This aggressive sound, repeated many times, always comes from another room. I’ll answer back as closely as I can match it and we go back and forth many times. Often it will end with the kittie coming into the room with a toy mouse clenched in his/her teeth that they “killed”. And, yes, I do talk to them all day long, in spite of their extremely selective hearing. I’ve read that you’re nobody until you’ve been ignored by a cat. 🙂

  43. My dear Calico, Schrödinger, talks to me all day long. I of course hold up my end of the conversation. My Honey tries so hard to be included, but she ignores him until he can’t take it anymore. She does squeak as well as a myriad of other sounds. The best thing is you can talk back to her in either Cat or Human and she’ll respond (in Cat) to both!

  44. All 5 of my kitties talk and each one is very different. I talk back and they ‘ converse’- I love it. My tortie girl Blazie Marie is much more vocal than her brothers, she’ll talk to anybody and anything 🙂

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