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Types Of Cat Sounds And Their Meaning

Nothing says cats happiness like your feline purring in your lap, right? But does your cat shares your enthusiasm and beliefs? Each cat sound is linked to a certain situation, depending on your cat's mood. Discover the difference and learn how to act when you hear a certain cat sound.

Cat sounds are an amazing way for our felines to communicate with us. Cats are great both at non-verbal and verbal communication. You have probably noticed that cats spend an enormous amount of energy and time communicating both with other cats and humans. In most cases, for us, it sounds like they are just meowing, like one sound. However, the truth is far beyond that. Feline’s vocabulary is as rich as cat body language.

Cat Sounds

There is nothing strange when it comes to cat sounds. Their sound in anything but gibberish. Every sound that your feline makes is her way of communicating with you. Moreover, that’s her way to express her deepest feelings toward you.

The good thing is that if you are listening close enough you may be able to distinguish the sounds your cat makes. Next to birds, cats possess the most extensive range of vocalizations of any domestic pet. The truth is that they are most known for their purrs and meows, but the list goes beyond that.

Your feline can change its sound based on the situation, from feeling safe to feeling scared or even angry. Altogether, each sound is an indicator of a cat’s emotional state of mind. So, what are the most famous cat sounds and what they really mean?

Cat Meowing

This is probably the most common sound in cats. This cat sound is the most common in kittens. Fluffy kittens will meow to their mothers frequently, and as they mature they meow less and less. However, they will continue using this sound to communicate with humans, not with cats.

Overall, a meowing cat is demanding some sort of attention. Usually, they want food, access to a room, to step outside or simply to grab her favorite treat and spend a few moments with her. Sometimes, it may serve as a ‘welcome home’ greeting.

Sporadically, cat meowing can be related to health or emotional condition. Therefore, if your feline is over-meowing there is a slight chance that is experiencing some kind of illness and loneliness. So, if meowing lasts long you should contact your vet.

Meow dictionary explained in a nutshell:

  • short ‘meow’ – your feline is lonely or hungry.
  • frequent meowing – your feline either wants attention, or she is troubled with something.
  • longer ‘meowww’ – your fluffy buddy is troubled by something, annoyed or worried. Pet her!
  • throatier meowing – your feline can’t believe what you are saying or doing. It’s like she is saying ‘come on’.
  • on-going meowing – in most cases this length indicates injury or illness

Cat Purring

How much happiness your feline brings to you when she purrs? Probably a lot. It’s assumed that cats make this sound when they are calm and above anything else utterly happy. Moreover, cat purring is one of the most common cat sounds. Cats purr for a number of different reasons.

They purr when they are happy, content, or even injured or sick. In addition, cat purring can be a signal that a cat feels threatened or frightened. Over more, purring can often be a form of self-healing.

For cat owners, this is one of the most enjoyable and hypnotic cat sounds. Purr is soft and deep, and in most cases is a good mode indicator. Moreover, its believed that cat purring has healing effects both on feline and humans. If your cat purrs for 25 cycles per second it is considered to be an internal massage. So, if your feline comes to your lap and nests there, let her do her magic.

Occasionally, purring can occur when your cat is aroused over something. In their world, it works as a whistle of nervous.

Good to know: If your cats purrs with her ears back and her body is stiff, she is probably concerned over something.

Cat Chattering

This sound is usually described as something between a bleat and a meow. Its often heard when you feline is in ‘hunting mode’. Actually, that sound is heard when your cat spots something like a flying insect or a bird, or anything that they can’t reach. It usually stands for frustration or excitement.

If your cat spends most of her day next to the window staring at the world outside and outdoor-animals, you will get a first-row experience of hearing your cat chattering her teeth. Your feline is a hunter and its in her nature to hunt and show predatory excitement. On the other hand, it can be a sign of stress when she can’t reach her pray. Some even claim that cat chattering is a mimicked rodent call or a mimicked bird.

Cat Yowling

The yowl is reserved for cat-to-cat communication and in general when cat yowls she is saying ‘I want to mate.’ The yowl is a longer and more drawn-out sound that usually represents mating needs, territorial concerns and discomfort.

This sound is strictly related to more negative feelings or sensitive times. It can happen when the cat is not feeling well, when she is in heat, or simply – when something isn’t to her liking. It is known that cats are creatures of habits. Therefore, if they experience a significant change in their environment they may yowl out their regret.

If your cat yowls constantly you should check for signs of illness. Furthermore, if your cat yowl constantly and she spends most of her time outdoors, you should take your feline to your veterinarian. Female cats in heat usually create this desperate cry. It’s their way to show their kitten-making desire. Also, a variant of cat yowling is cat screaming and it is known as the final warning sound before a cat fight begins.

Also, one of the reasons for this cat sound may be related with another cat invading your cat territory. Or maybe, there is a lost kitten in your background. In that case, you can contact your local shelter and try to find the perfect cat-home. Make sure that your cat gets enough attention from you and that she has enough toys. Sometimes, all that extra yowling is a call for an extra play session each day.

Cat Trilling

This sound is something that cats learn in their kittenhood. Originally, this sound is used by mothers to tell kittens to pay attention to her command sand to follow her. Your feline can use this sound to do the same for you. It’s their way to tell you to pay attention to her wishes and obey her.

Even more, it can serve as her tool to get you to check something that she may found interesting or important. Little trills and chirrups might happen when a cat is happy or excited. In general, the trill is something between purr and meow, and it serves as a friendly greeting.

If your feline trills for a longer period of time it simply means that she needs your undivided attention. Moreover, if your cat thrills and starts to move away and significantly looks back at you, it’s a sure sign that she wants something from you. In most cases, its probably spilled food or an empty dish, but it’s not always the case and it can be a sign of something more serious. Also, there is a difference between trilling and excessive trilling.

Excessive trilling is usually a sign that your cat is entering old age and she is more prone to frustration and sleeping longer. Moreover, excessive trilling in younger cats can mean that your cat is in pain, sick or even injured. Find out what is the main reason behind this cat sound and address the issue.

Cat Caterwauling

This cat sound is in most cases reserved for the time when a cat is in heat. In some way, this sound is a hollow version of a yowl. During the caterwauling, the un-spayed female will anything that’s in her power to get outside and find a male cat. In some hand, caterwauling is the cry of a cat in heat.

When cats are not neutered or spayed, they will act crazy when they start their hunt for a mate. When a male caterwaul, he recognizes a female in heat and wants to mate with her. Therefore, its important to prevent this reason for caterwauling, and to as a responsible pet owner think about neutering or spaying your cat. Moreover, it’s crucial to do so before your cat starts its pregnancy.

With time it is easy to distinguish different cat sounds and to interpret what different sound means and how to act. But, don’t focus only on the vocal side of your cat. Make sure that you track and watch your cat’s body language as well. After all, cats ears and tail are great indicators of cats mood.

Cat Screaming

If you have heard cat screaming the chances are that you won’t be able to ever forget that sound, right? This cat sound may be defined as a strong yowl that can easily shock your senses. This is the ultimate way for your cat to demand your attention. Long story short, cats screaming can wake you from even the deepest sleep.

In addition, it usually comes with bared fangs and extended claws. Simply, this sound is equally shocking for humans and other cats. This screaming sound is usually connected with mating and fight.

If your cat is a female, un-spayed and spends time outdoors, and she is in heat, the chances are that her caterwauling will draw in a male. It is a sure sign that mating will occur. She will assume a rear-up position (also known as lordosis), while male bites her neck and initiates the mating process. Eventually, the male’s barbed penis creates pain for the female, causing her to emit a creepy scream.

On the other hand, cats in the midst of a fight may also scream. This sound usually comes after a long yowl which is followed with a vicious bite. Adult cats are more likely to fight, and even fixed pets will defend their territories. If your feline lives indoor you may avoid fighting issues.

Cat Hissing

When it comes to cat sounds, hissing is the one sound that doesn’t need much interpretation. It simply means that everyone needs to move. This sound usually comes when a cat is scared or angry. Actually, the hiss is the next stage of warning after the growl.

There is no mistake what’s the intent of a cat’s hiss. This sound means that your cat feels threatened and that she is ready to fight. Overall, this sound is the most similar to a steak sizzling on the grill. The most common reason for hissing lies in an encounter with dogs.

Interestingly, this sound is followed by certain moves that are seen in the arched back, puffed hair, flattened ears, open mouth, flattened ears, and fangs ready to strike. When your cat takes on this pose, back off and try to remove the perceived threat.

Also, hissing is a very individual thing for each cat. It comes with a certain level of comfort that a cat has. There are some cats that never hiss. Stray, feral or abused cats are more likely to go into ‘hissing mode‘, than a sociable pet. A hiss is usually connected with the situation and with the cat. In most cases, the feline response to fear is hissing. When it happens, give your cat some space.

Cat Growling

Growling is a common appearance in domestic cats. Growling usually comes with hiss and snarls. In general, it’s a clear indicator of anger, fear or even territorial threat.

Growling doesn’t sound the same when a domestic cat performs it and a big cat, like a tiger or a lion. In domestic cat’s it comes with higher pitch and often it can start or end with a yowl. If you notice that your cat or any other cat growls, just leave her be. However, if she is in possible danger from another cat you should react properly if possible.

A growling cat will have defensive body posture together with puffed up fur, twitching tail, together with ears set back. These growling sounds are meant as a warning. They can be a response to other cats, animals or even humans. In most cases, feline’s will growl out of fear.

Some Cats Are More Talkative Than Others?

Just like humans, some cats are more vocal or talkative than others. There is even a general rule, shorthaired cats have a tendency of being more outgoing than longhaired cats. There is no specific scientific claim for these acts, but it is simply so.

Good to know: If you are looking for an chatty kitty, consider welcoming a feline of Asian origin.

However, if you prefer more silent furry friend, than you should think about welcoming Chartreux, Norwegian Forest Cat, or Maine Coon. But, bear in mind that these are not strict guidelines as you can end up with a silent Siamese or a noisy Persian!

Overall, knowing and therefore understanding what your cat is trying to tell you, you’ll be able to predict your feline’s mood, needs, and intentions. Moreover, you will be able to understand your cat’s each mood.

Cat Sounds – The Bottom Line

Cat sounds can help you to understand your feline better. Knowing the difference between the sounds, you will know how to react and what you can expect from your feline. Every sound that your feline make is her way of communicating with you.

Therefore, you can be able to fully understand what she needs. Better understanding leads to a happier and stronger relationship between you and your furry feline. Furthermore, you will have a nice cat chat every day!

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