Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mow-wow, mow-wow ...

This is my cat, Belle. She's about 16 years old, but you wouldn't think it by looking at her because she's always looked younger. Well, if a cat can look young, that is. She used to hang out with my girls, but ever since we got Kitty, Belle thinks she belongs to me. If I lay down on the bed, it's only a matter of seconds before she climbs on me and makes herself comfortable. She's a lapcat only when she wants to be one. You can't hold her without her making a fuss. If you try, there's a good chance blood will be involved.

Belle has some funny traits. First of all, she came from a litter of entirely orange kittens. She was the only tabby striped one in the lot. The only orange color she has is a streak running down her nose and on her toes. Another strange thing about Belle is that she rarely says "meow" like other cats. When she speaks it comes out as "yeah" instead. She also has this weirdness of waiting for Rick to get up in the morning. She sits by him waiting for his alarm to go off. As soon as he goes into the bathroom to take a shower, she darts in with him. She does this everyday. Belle hates weekends when he doesn't get up early because she misses her shower time.

What's weird is that after Rick leaves for work, Belle comes back into our bedroom and goes in and out of the bathroom bellowing. You know that funny singing sound cats make? She stands in the dark and wails, "mow-wow, mow-wow" over and over. After she's sung for awhile, she calms down and gets back on the bed with me. By this point, I usually turn on my laptop and Belle plops down by me as if she's totally exhausted. Is shower and song time that tiring for her? I have some great books on cats by Desmond Morris called Catwatching and Catlore. If you like cats, these are really interesting books. I'm going to have to get out Catwatching again and see why cats bellow like that. I couldn't find much online, so maybe Desmond Morris covered it in his books. It's just strange how Belle waits until Rick leaves and then she does this song and dance in the bathroom. I hear it every morning -- mow-wow, mow-wow, mow-wow! But any other time she makes a sound it's -- yeah. I found the following online about cat vocalizations. In all honesty, I don't know if her mow-wow sound is a warble or a trill. Maybe Desmond's book will shed some light on it. Belle is next to me now and she looks like she's totally exhausted. It's not even 8am yet and she's already had a busy day. She'll need the rest of the day to rest up ...

Meow – Depending on pitch, attention, inquiry, or conversation.
Low-pitched rumbling growl – Warning, danger or other threat perceived!
Warble – Most often used to display affection.
Trill – Can be affection, also inquiry, mother cats use this to call kittens.
Low-Pitched meow or howl with purring – Pain, discomfort, stress or fear.
Purring – Comfort, happiness, security, also denote pain or discomfort.
Howl – Depending on pitch, sadness, pain, extreme fear or stress.
Silent Meow – Most often denotes gratitude and affection.


  1. I guess I have a quiet cat. She only purrs. But she loves to get on things and dig her claws in before she settles down. I try to always have a blanket, sweater, or pillow in my poor lap.

  2. Weird - I did not know purring could also be a sign of pain or discomfort.

    I loved cats as a kid. I've never owned one. I think I have a slight allergy to shorthairs, because I get all of the classic symptoms. Longhairs aren't a problem, though.

    While we were out visiting relatives of mine in '04, TH found out he was allergic to cats (well, specifically, it's the dander, but anyway). We were at my godmother's cottage at Cape Cod and she had her cat there. TH immediately got all stuffed up, watery-eyed and miserable. So, no cats for this family!


  3. Cats are fascinating, and Belle is so cute! It almost sounds like she's asking "Where did he go?"

  4. That is too funny about Belle with Rick in the morning. I'm not a cat person, never have been really. I hope the book gives you the answers to you questions!


  5. This is just the kind of detail you could use in a book!

  6. Awww. I miss my cat, aptly named Tabitha. Get it? Bewitched? She was fourteen when her little furry soul went to the Golden Bridge. Anyway, she only liked me – spent the rest of her time biting my husbands ankles. Needless to say, we can't get another cat. But we have Ike, our dog.

  7. What a pretty kitty! You are lucky to have found such a sweet companion for so long!

  8. Cats and their idiosyncracies - have to laugh that is for sure! In our house, our cats sleep upstairs on, in or under my bed all day... they truly still hate us for having children. When (and only when) Vince comes home from work - be it 9:00pm or 2:00pm - they come out and meow as if to say "save us from these people!" This happens EVERY DAY. Ryan is 4 - you would think they were used to kids by now!

    Of course this means that the 1:00am - 4:00am time slot is play time at our house. We hear them rampaging through the first floor chasing balls etc. And through the night they go and check on the kids for us... protecting or plotting we don't know!

    Cats ... gotta love em!

  9. Beautiful Belle!

    We used to have a cat that actually took showers with my husband. It would sit in the back of the tub and blink repeatedly as the water hit him in the face. When the shower was over, my husband would rub him down with his own kitty towel. I've never had a cat since that would even entertain the thought of getting in a tub with water!

  10. Halarious kitty language. I love it! My cat doesn't talk much but then she's a Persian so they are kind of quiet but sometimes I think she likes to talk with her eyes.

  11. I had a cat that did the "mow wow" sound a lot, would be interesting to know what it means.

    Had another that did a tiny meow, kind of like a slightly verbal "silent meow" if you get what I mean, when he was happy - mum said she really missed that little sound after he died.