Cats usually talk to us through screams, howling, and angry glares. However, if you pay attention, you can see that your cat uses a variety of ways to express themselves and get their desires across without using profanity or waving obscene gestures in your face.

Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA and author of the new National Geographic book “How to Speak Cat,” says that cats┬ácan make 16 different meow sounds. Meows can be their way of saying feed me, pet me or let me out, and is a cat’s way of communicating with humans too dense to read the cat’s mind and automatically know what the cat wants ahead of time.

Curiously, cats rarely meow much between themselves, which means they probably know something that they’re not telling the rest of us.

To read more about how cats communicate with people, click here.