What Your Cat’s Noises Mean

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What Your Cat’s Noises Mean

If you have a cat in your life, or are a cat enthusiast, you know well how communicative a feline can be through various noises they make. The vocalizations that come from your friend while she is watching a bird, ready to eat, or snuggling up to you make you want to pull out your phone and share it with the world. But what exactly is your cat trying to communicate with you?

Different types of cat vocalizations

Cats are extremely intelligent animals. They communicate both with their body language and vocalizations. According to the Humane Society, there are six unique noises, or vocalizations, that your cat can create: meowing, chirping, growling (hissing), purring, chattering (aka: chittering, twittering), and howling.

  • Meow—When your cat meows, she is communicating with you directly. This sound is a cat’s way of saying various things such as: “how are you,” “I’m hungry,” or “I caught you dinner!” If she is meowing directly at you or around the house, know that she means to share some sort of information with you. 
  • Chirp—Chirping, or trills, are a cat’s way of saying “follow me.” For kittens, this is the sound heard from their mother when they were being informed to follow. When directed at a human, it can often mean that your cat would like you to feed her. 
  • Growl—If a cat is growling, hissing, or spitting, this is a clear sign that she wants to be left alone. This could be because she is annoyed, angry, or frightened. If you find your cat is growling at her food, this may be a sign that she is having dental health problems such as tooth resorption, stomatitis, or other dental pain
  • Purr—A cat’s purr is often a sign that they are happy. Cats can purr when they are content, when they are eating, and in some cases, cats may purr as a way to self-soothe when they are anxious or sick. Pay attention to the body language your pet is exhibiting when she purrs for a better clue as to what this noise could mean
  • Chatter—A chatter, chitter, or twittering noise coming from your cat is created by shuttering her teeth. Usually, this sound is made when cats are watching an animal that could potentially be prey. In a 2009 study of wildcat behavior, chattering was found to be a cat’s way of making noises similar to its prey, enabling them to fool and sneak up on their prey. 
  • Howl—This long, drawn-out meow sound is your cat telling you she is in some kind of distress—for example, she might be in pain or being stuck somewhere. It is also the sound unspayed and unneutered cats make when they are exhibiting mating behaviors. 

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Our mission is to provide the highest quality specialty dental care for pets in Colorado. Keep a close eye on your pet’s oral health and be sure to call Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery of Colorado Springs, Castle Pines and Loveland if your pet is experiencing a dental emergency, signs of tooth pain or dental disease.

Image by guvo59 from Pixaby (4/2020)