There's more than meow in a cat's vocal mix. "Meow" is, rather, an English fiction, aped from other languages at some point in the 1840s - see mao in Chinese, the French miaou or maw in Persian. (By 1876, Mark Twain had jumped on the meow train in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer": "Will you meow?" Tom Sawyer asks Huckleberry Finn at one point.) Cats, broadly speaking, make three different types of sound - the purr, the chirrup, the trill - which are further divided into dozens of patterns. Mother cats chirp to get the attention of their kittens, for instance. And if you hear a full-grown cat let loose a "meow," that's all for your benefit, says the ASPCA, rather than part of a cats-only chat.
GO AHEAD, NIP THAT BUD