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View Full Version : Why don't lions and other big cats meow?


Freejooky
11-23-2004, 05:38 PM
They seem to do everything else that domestic cats do - purr, yelp/roar, etc. But why don't they meow?

bouv
11-23-2004, 05:40 PM
Only four cats can roar - tiger, lion, leopard and jaguar. The ability to roar depends on the structure of the hyoid bones supporting the larynx in the throat. The roaring cats have an elastic ligament connecting two of the bones that allows for the production of a loud, resonant roar. The rest of the cat species do not have this structure.


So maybe since they can roar, they can't meow. The sound that would normally make a meow, resonates because of those htoid bones and ligaments, and results in a roar.

Valgard
11-23-2004, 05:41 PM
They seem to do everything else that domestic cats do - purr, yelp/roar, etc. But why don't they meow?

IIRC most big cats do not purr (although a friend of mine got to snuggle a cheetah up close during a trip to Africa and he said it was purring away happily).

I have a feeling that the only difference between a "meow" and a "roar" is the size of the lungs powering it. If your housecat weighed 600 pounds, a plaintive "meow" would sound quite different.

bouv
11-23-2004, 05:42 PM
Whoops, forgot to include the link I got it from, lest you think I'm just making this stuff up.

http://wildcatconservation.org/faq.shtml

Aagramn
11-23-2004, 06:09 PM
But why don't they meow?

Because it would be just laughable.

Starving Artist
11-23-2004, 07:07 PM
I've wondered from time to time whether lions and tigers would be docile and affectionate like house cats to someone the size of the Jolly Green Giant.

Hypothetically speaking, of course. :p

bughunter
11-23-2004, 07:09 PM
Because it would be just laughable.
Kinda like the karmic complement to the MTM Kitten?

Josh_dePlume
11-23-2004, 08:20 PM
IIRC most big cats do not purr (although a friend of mine got to snuggle a cheetah up close during a trip to Africa and he said it was purring away happily).

I have a feeling that the only difference between a "meow" and a "roar" is the size of the lungs powering it. If your housecat weighed 600 pounds, a plaintive "meow" would sound quite different.

It was my understanding that the roar was the large cats' analog of the purr, not the meow.

Eats_Crayons
11-23-2004, 08:54 PM
I was a the zoo two weekends ago and a juvenile (but full-grown) tiger most definitely did "meow". I was still young enough to want its mommy. Carried over a soccer ball and dropped it on the momma tiger's head. She kind of hissed-growled and scolded him. He looked remorseful and "meowed" repeatedly.

It sounded remarkably similar to a domestic cat's "rowr", but was a few tones lower and had a bit more rumble. Chews_Pencils and I thought the meowing was adorable. It was just like a big tabby cat's sound, although the bit of rumble gave it a hoarse sound kid of like a creaky hinge.

So it may just be that kittens meow in a baby-wailing kind of way, and adult big cats go for more threatening sounds and grown-up noises.

Heart On My Sleeve
11-23-2004, 09:20 PM
I believe I have heard cats meow at the zoo. I don't remember, but I think it was a tiger. It definitely sounding like "mrow", but deeper and rougher. I wouldn't say it was a roar though.

KGS
11-23-2004, 09:33 PM
Cheetahs meow. Actually it's more of a squeak than a meow, but it's really cute.

I was still young enough to want its mommy.
So, you had a feline obsession in your youth, huh? Me too. Kinda miss it, actually...

moriah
11-23-2004, 11:40 PM
Cheetahs meow. Actually it's more of a squeak than a meow, but it's really cute.Actually, they chirp. That's according to the Kratt brothers on National Geographic channel's Be the Creature. And yes, it sounds exactly like a bird chirp. They said the cheetah was the only feline that chirps.

Peace.

MLS
11-23-2004, 11:50 PM
Actually, they chirp. That's according to the Kratt brothers on National Geographic channel's Be the Creature. And yes, it sounds exactly like a bird chirp. They said the cheetah was the only feline that chirps.

Peace.

Well, that's not true. My Skippy-cat definitely chirps.

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