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6 Sounds Your Cat Makes and What They Mean

With birds as the only exception, cats have a wider range of vocalizations than any other domestic pet. The sounds your cat makes can be cute, aggressive, or just plain odd, but these different noises are your cat’s way of communicating about their world and their needs. Let’s take a look at some of the most common sounds your cat makes to get some insight on what they might be trying to tell you with each.

cat sounds

Cat Sound #1


Among the 100+ sounds a cat can make, the meow is the most common. Kittens begin meowing as infants to communicate their need for their mothers, and although cats in the wild grow out of this habit as they mature, domestic cats continue using this vocalization throughout adulthood. A meow most often means that your cat wants something, whether it’s food, water, attention, or even litter box maintenance. Cats also meow simply out of curiosity, or when they become anxious due to unfamiliar surroundings or stimuli.

Cat Sound #2


A calming and pleasing sound to many cat owners is the purr. This deep, soft, vibrating sound is most frequently uttered when your cat is feeling happy, comfortable, or loved. Sometimes, however, purring can be a sign of nervousness or agitation. So how can you tell the difference? Assess your cat’s body posture as they purr. Unless they look tense or have their ears back, they’re likely just purring out of pure contentment.

Cat Sound #3


Hissing is one sound that is almost always a defensive communication method in cats. When your cat feels threatened, they may hiss as a way of defending themselves against the offensive stimulus. Accompanying behavior to a cat’s hiss can include an arched back, flattened ears, a twitching tail, and a showing of their teeth to exhibit that they’re ready to attack.

Cat Sound #4


A teeth-chattering noise heard in a cat that’s peering or staring out a window is a sign of predatory excitement. Many indoor cats enjoy watching small outdoor animals like birds and squirrels from a window, but can experience frustration with not being able to get to or reach their prey. Their frustration is often channeled through this chattering sound they make with their teeth.

Cat Sound #5


Your cat may utter birdlike sounds including chirps, chirrups, and trills that their mother likely used when they were a kitten as her way of getting their attention. Your cat might mimic this sound with little chirps and squeaks in order to get your attention or alert you to something they deem important. These noises are also used to express happiness and excitement.

Cat Sound #6


The yowl is a long, drawn-out moaning sound often indicative of negative feelings your cat is experiencing. Your cat may make a yowling noise to communicate:

  • Discomfort
  • Boredom
  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Illness

The yowling might be harmless, but it can also be your cat’s way of telling you there’s something wrong internally, so if your cat begins to incessantly yowl, it’s best to have them seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Concerned About the Sounds Your Cat is Making?

Many of the noises your cat makes can be adorable and enjoyable, but some are vocalized to alert you to a problem your cat is having. If any of the noises your cat makes become excessive, don’t ignore them. The professional veterinarians at Catonsville Cat Clinic can examine your furry companion to determine the reason for their vocalization and provide helpful solutions and treatments to get your cat back to feeling happy and healthy. Reach out to us to discuss your concerns or schedule an appointment today.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 at 9:39 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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