5 Common Cat Noises and What They Mean

5 Common Cat Noises and What They Mean

While some cats are more talkative than others, cat noises usually communicate their feelings and desires. Most sounds cats make can be interpreted in human language. By knowing what your cat chatter is trying to convey, you’ll better understand your feline friend’s mood and needs.

Here are 5 of the most common cat noises and what they mean:


#1 – Meowing

Everyone is familiar with cat meows. Kittens meow a whole lot to communicate with their moms, while adult cats will more often meow to talk to humans rather than each other. Cat meows don’t all sound the same. The standard meow is mid-length in duration and mid-pitched in tone and is the “asking for something” sound. The mewl, a short high-pitched meow, usually means “hello,” and can be accompanied by rubbing against your legs. A long, drawn-out meow usually means that your furry friend wants something specific, like dinner. Repeated meows may indicate that your cat is excited, while high-pitched meows can mean that your kitty is startled or hurt. Low-pitched meows express unhappiness and are a way for your furry companion to let you know you’ve done something wrong.


#2 – Purring

The most enjoyable cat sound pet parents look forward to is purring, a soft, deep, and throaty rumble, which indicates sheer delight. Gently petting your furry friend is one way to elicit pleasure and have your cat purr away in utter contentment. However, on rare occasions, purring is due to agitation or worry. If your cat’s ears are back and the body seems tense, the purr may be a sign that your pet is unhappy or overwhelmed. Some cats exhibit a nervous purr when visiting their veterinarian.


#3 – Hissing

Hissing usually indicates that your cat feels threatened, angry, or is in pain. Cats usually hiss at other animals. Along with the sound comes a defensive, aggressive posture, including an arched back, puffed up hair, twitchy tail, flattened ears, and an open mouth baring the teeth. At times, cats spit along with hissing. If, however, the hissing is unprovoked, it may be a sign that your pet is in pain with an undiagnosed condition.


#4 – Growling or Snarling

Growling or snarling are aggressive sounds, often accompanying hissing, and usually indicating fear, anger, or territorial threat. A snarling or growling cat will usually display the classic defensive body posture. It is a clear warning to stay back and can be directed at humans as well as other animals. In some cases, a cat in pain may growl or snarl.


#5 – Yowling

A yowl is a long, drawn-out meow that indicates worry, discomfort, territorial concerns, or mating issues. If your cat is continuously yowling, there may be a medical problem that warrants a visit to your vet. If your kitty has not been spayed or neutered, yowling may indicate the search for a mate. Sometimes a cat will yowl out of sheer boredom. Give your kitty a lot of attention and make sure to offer entertainment opportunities.


Learn to Listen to Your Cat

Whatever your cat is trying to say, the important thing is for you to listen. If you have questions about your kitty’s chatter or if you have any health concerns, a visit to All About Cats Veterinary Hospital in Kirkland, WA, will help put your worries to rest. We are here to offer your furry friend purr-fectly compassionate care!

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