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11 Noises Your Cat Makes and Why

11 Cat Noises You Need to Know About

When we talk about the noises that cats make, three different sounds pop into our minds: meows, purrs, and hisses. But felines have a much more robust vocabulary of sounds they make to communicate.

In fact, every sound means something different. If you’re curious to know more about your cat, then you definitely need to read this! We will discuss every single sound cats make and what they mean (of course, based on scientific discoveries).

So if you’re a proud cat owner, make sure you let us know if you improved your “communication” with your little ball of fur! Here’s what you need to know about cat noises:

noises
Photo by Helen Bloom from shutterstock.com

Short, high-pitched meows

Meowing might come in many variations, and each one of them means something completely different. Adult cats developed their meowing to communicate more efficiently with humans.

Isn’t it fascinating? In fact, the only feline-to-feline meows are usually done by kittens to get fed by their mothers. A short, high-pitched meow is your cat’s way of saying hi to you.

And if you hear a chain of meows strung together, it might be the cat’s way of saying “Happy to see you!”. Isn’t this cute? Who would’ve thought that these cat noises actually meant something?

Drawn-out meow

A meow that sounds pleading or even drawn-out, especially if it’s somewhere between a meow and a cry, is just another way your cat is trying to get your attention.

This time, it might be a little more serious, and it could mean anything from “feed me” to “let me out”. More than that, it might be your cat’s way of asking you to pet it. So, next time you hear your cat meowing like that, you will know what to do!

Crying meow

A crying meow is much longer than a pleading meow, and it even tends to sound more urgent than it is. In some cases, it even sounds agonized.

Kittens make this sound when they are in distress, with the goal of eliciting a specific search response from the maternal figure to look for them.

In fact, if they get lost or wander from the nest, this is the sound felines will make to retrieve them and bring them back. However, pay attention, because cats make other types of sounds when they’re depressed!

Quick, aggressive meow

This particular type of meow isn’t really a yowl (which we will discuss later), but it sounds decidedly urgent and even a bit angry. This harsh-sounding meow is basically the cat’s way of scolding us for something we might have done, or maybe something we didn’t do and should have.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that some cat breeds are more affectionate, and they might need more attention than other breeds.

Yowling

Now, let’s discuss yowling, shall we? Some extra-chatty cats might yowl as part of their everyday communication. However, if your cat is yowling without precedent, then it might indicate they’re in distress.

If you hear a low, drawn-out yowl, it could be a complaint. In older cats, excessive yowling is oftentimes a sign of a cognitive disorder like dementia.

If your cat is a non-spayed or even non-neutered cat, then long and long yowls could be part of mating behavior. Moreover, if the vocalizing goes on for 24 to 36 hours, which is a long, long time, then it might be a sign that you have to hit the vet’s office.

Hissing

The noise sounds exactly like the word does: air slowly escaping through a hole. A cat makes this noise to warn you that it is extremely angry or fearful and that it might strike out.

The noise is made when the cat feels that its life is threatened. It is also intended to scare away predators as a pre-defense to actual fighting. More than that, sometimes it might spit inadvertently while hissing.

Next, you need to find the answer to a question every cat parent has had at least once in their life. Do cats hiss when we call them because they don’t like the name we’ve given them?

Growling or snarling

Just like hissing, when your cat makes a special growling or snarling noise, it’s just their way of saying that you should back off right away. These are nothing but aggressive vocalizations.

In fact, if the other party doesn’t listen to the “warnings”, then a physical confrontation might take place. Did you know that growling is one of the 15 signs that your cat is actually mad at you?

cats noises
Photo by RJ22 from Shutterstock

Purring

Purring, as we all know, is a very soft and low-rumbling sound that all cats make. It’s also the sound and the vibration that can calm our nervous system.

Depending on the cat, it could be either a very quiet murmur or loud enough to hear it across the room. Moreover, you can also feel a vibration when they purr.

Purrs are mainly produced by contractions of muscles in the throat but also by the diaphragm in the chest. Purring generally happens when cats are very happy, like when they are enjoying being petted, right before getting fed, or when a mother is nursing her little kittens.

In some cases, cats might purr when they are afraid, in pain, feeling sleepy, or even drowsy. It is even considered that they do this to comfort and calm themselves. However, there’s still a lot to learn about cats and their purr, and hopefully, nowadays, science will help us understand them better! Also, if you want to surprise your little bar of fur, get this cat house and let your feline play!

Trilling

Trilling lands somewhere in between a purr and a meow. Also, trilling usually means that the cat is extremely pleased or even excited. It could also be a sign that they’re very excited to see you, especially when you get home after a long day.

It could also mean they want to snuggle on the couch or be thrilled about the food you’re making for them.

Chattering and clicking

Cat “chatter” is a very quiet but fast-paced “ack-ack-ack” sound. It also sounds like a clicking sound that cats generally make when they see birds or any other animals outside.

For now, we can’t really tell why they make it, but it seems that it always happens when cats see prey they don’t have easy access to. Maybe they’re watching a bird through a window, or we think it could be frustration or excitement.

Some scientists even noticed predators make similar sounds, mimicking their prayers as a way to sneak up on them. In conclusion, it might be the cat’s attempt to “tweet” just like a bird.

Screaming

If the un-spayed female is outdoors, then her caterwauling is meant to draw a male, and then mating will occur. She will take a lordosis position while the male bites her neck and starts the mating process.

Moreover, cats in the midst of a fight might scream, too. These primeval shrieks might come after a long and ominous yowl, and they usually punctuate a climactic paw swat or even a vicious bite.

Stray cats are way more likely to fight, but even fixed pets might actively feel the need to defend their territories. To avoid fighting injuries to your cat, you might want to keep them indoors.

If you feel you read interesting things here and you’d like to know more, we also recommend reading: 8 Subtle Signs Your Dog Is Constipated

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