Touch and body language are more effective than vocalisations when communicating with your cat
I guess that this is common sense: humans have a common language with their cats which is touching i.e. physical contact in the form of petting et cetera, combined body language. Interactions between domestic cats often include physical contact such as rubbing against each other, licking each other and physically reaching out with their paw to touch the other. Domestic cats understand communication through touch and contact. And the meow is not for cat-to-cat communication. It was learned for cat-to-human demands.
|Touch and body language are more effective than vocalisations when communicating with your cat. Cats understand the message when it is in the form of contact and touch far more so than in human vocalisations. Photo in public domain.|
This is in contrast to the usual form of communication for humans, namely language and the sound of the voice. Cats don't understand human language although they do understand the tone of our voice and its volume and what it means in context. But they receive the intended message far more clearly when it is transmitted in the form of physical touch.
So, if you want to tell your cat that you love her, you gently stroke her and interact with her in a very loving way. Your cat will fully understand it. They will understand that you are friendly and affectionate and caring and loving. In short, for the feline, they will recognise you as friendly and protecting
Conversely, if you simply state to your cat that you love her, she won't get it. If you say it in a melodious way, she will get the message that you are being friendly, perhaps, but they might be a little bemused. The message is far less cleanly delivered using vocalisations compared to using physical contact provided it is carried out with tenderness and gentleness.
So, what does this mean? Well, the obvious: that in most of our communication with our domestic cat companions we should use body language and physical contact backed up with warm vocalisations. I use the word "vocalisations" because cats recognise sound, its frequency and volume but they don't obviously recognise the English language or any other language. And there is no point trying to make feline sounds because they won't understand those either.
It is also worth mentioning that physical contact with a domestic cat is often made within the context of a routine and the rhythms of life between cat and person, which also helps to clarify the message. In fact, routines are a very important part of communicating with a domestic cat.