Tucker has a silent meow. He is certainly not the only cat to have one. It is, I believe, not at all uncommon. The small mouth opens and no sound issues, or a sound so small or high that there is little more than a slight straining noise.
I have often wondered whether cats who speak thus think that they are making sounds. Do they, perhaps, know that they are silent but nonetheless believe they are conversing? I am persuaded of the latter. Tucker will give his silent meow as an actual response to questions I ask him. He knows that I am talking to him, and he endeavours to give a reply.
The odd thing is that I not only accept it as speech, but can usually comprehend what the roly poly is trying to tell me. Would he respond thus if he lived among only cats? I doubt it. They do not communicate in such a fashion. I have read that cats in fact do not make many sounds to each other away from human society. This I cannot believe entirely, but even so, the way a cat speaks to a human is unique. It is, I think, nothing less than an attempt to approximate our own languages.
Certainly Tucker creates vocal sounds. They range from a Wookie-like trill to the loopy, roller-coaster wails of a drunk stumbling from a tavern of a Friday night. His implorations for morsels of a particularly delectable human food are used for no other purpose. Yet he has his silent meows. I speak to him, and he answers; does he understand? I think he does, to an extent. He speaks to me, and I answer; do I understand? I do, to an extent.
Through verbiage and expression, through body-language and attitude, my cats and I communicate. Usually we comprehend each other’s meanings. Sometimes, we comprehend and choose to ignore those meanings. Now and then, however, we speak to each other saying nothing. It seems that that is when we understand each other the most.
When you know your 'partners', sometimes speech isn't needed...ReplyDelete
Of our 6 kitties two were more quiet than the others, and for meezers that is quite something!
They used little chirps and trills, and we were supposed to know what those meant.
Our first kitty, Groucho, was already about 7 when he came to live with us, He was the only cat. Then we brought in a kitten, who he hissed at for a day or two...then suddenly he would watch the kitten and follow at a distance. When kitten was far away enough, Groucho chirped at him and walked away. Then he sat down and chirped again...over and over till finally kitten came to see why he was chirping...and Groucho wanted to play! Then they became fast friends and good buddies. He did that with two other kittens as well.
I do believe he was communicating!
HeHe! I don't know..What can one say...?ReplyDelete
I must say that Tucker is not unique in his way of communicating. Every cat I've had has been different and rather they have a loud meow or no meow. Precious is of no meow except for breakfast then it's a loud meow. There are plenty of times when she does just look at me open her mouth and I hear nothing of any sound. But I assume she's telling me something and I try to look around at what I'm doing and where she is and try to determine what it is she wants. Who knows I'm probably wasting my time trying to figure it out but time with the cat is time well spent.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed this observation and I hadn't thought of it until now.ReplyDelete
I was always curious about the silent meow. I wonder if the cat is, in fact, making a sound - it's just too high pitched for human ears to hear it.ReplyDelete
I almost wish Sasha and Saku were silent, neither of them are though I don't think I've heard either truly meow. Sasha puts the cat in caterwaul. He yells for everything, whether it is food or water or assistance getting up on the bed even as he is jumping up on the stool. I've hollered at him more than once. Saku is certainly quieter but if he's playing it is a different story. Listening to him carry his blanket down the hallway in the middle of the night is often a rude awakening.ReplyDelete
They certainly have their way of ensuring I know what they want or the message they wish to send. :)
Oh I love hearing all of the announcements Katie makes through the years as she comes down the hallway in the middle of the nights carrying her little family or perhaps another treasure. I always smile and say a sleepy "thank you" and so straight back to sleep.Delete
It's fascinating how each cat has an individual "voice"--or, sometimes, no voice at all. With some cats, it really seems like they're speaking a complete individual language.ReplyDelete
Eric had a very quiet almost silent meow too. Flynn was the opposite and the more you told him to keep the volume down, the louder he would reply and he always had to have the last word.ReplyDelete
One day we found that Eric did have a loud voice too when it was necessary. He was sleeping on his dad's lap and suddenly an almighty commotion started outdoors. He moved faster than I thought possible for him and went out and joined Flynn screaming at an intruder cat that had climbed over the fence into the garden. There were no fisticuffs just screaming, but once let out through the gate the cat never returned.
I can see the boys doing that, too. Some things are worth causing a commotion over!Delete
Da Boyz are becoming more vocal each day, while Sweetie has them beat by a mile!ReplyDelete
Paul Gallico wrote an excellent book "The Silent Meow" about just this.ReplyDelete