Family Magazine

What Do the Different Sounds Your Cat Makes Mean? Communicate with Your Cats

By Lucifer Bui

Your cat is more emotional than you realize! Now don't be bewildered. Cats are extremely and highly intelligent creatures, as any cat lover of cat owner will tell you. And, this does not just mean that they can get past quite a large number of automatic feeders' security, or get their favorite treat from the unlikeliest of places, they can even communicate quite well.

If you have listened to a cat intently, you will know that they make quite a large variety of sounds and even variations of the same sound. From meowing to purring to growling to yowling to hissing to growling, this list might be a comprehensive one, but your cat can make further variations. And, if you thought all these are for no apparent reason for your concern, hold that thought right there. Your cat is actually communicating its emotional state of mind. If you do own a cat, it is bets you know what these mean.

What is your cat telling you?

Cats will make a wide range of sounds under different circumstance. After birds, cats have the widest range of vocal cues. And, the best way to know what's going on with your cat is by understanding the 'cat language'.


What Different Sounds Your Makes Mean? Communicate with Cats
What do the different sounds your cat makes mean? Communicate with your cats

The most common among all sounds made by a cat is the mowing sound. This is also the first sound that the cat learns as a kitten. When they are small, the meowing is mostly to get the attention of the mother and to let her know that it is hungry or cold or needs attention. However, as the cat grows up, it lets go of the meow. This call is reserved only when the cat has to communicate with humans. You will not find wild and feral cats meowing, but this is quite common among domestic cats. They consider us their eternal parents and will keep this adorable call to let their human know when they are hungry, or want attention, or wish to play, or want some treat, or express almost any and every demand.

Meowing can signify loneliness or illness in your cat as well. Moreover, cats also give out a longer meow to signify that it is not happy with something. However, if your cat starts meowing too much, make sure you pay a visit to the vet.

Funny Cats and Kittens Meowing Compilation


If there is one sound that we love to hear, it's the purring of our cat. As we pet them this purring sound is the definitive expression of delight and comfort. It is unmistakable as well. The deep yet soft throaty rumbling sound is well known by every cat owner. However, there is another meaning of purring as well. If you notice carefully, your cat might be purring while the body is tensed and the ears are drawn back. This shows agitation. Your cat is probably concerned or worried about something. It is almost like our nervous laugh.


Besides the above two, there is another pretty common sound that cats make. It is the long drawn out moan, or yowl. The yowl is mostly a mode of communication between cats and not particularly speaking to their owners. However, this definitely means that the cat is either worried or ill or may be calling out to mate or wish to establish a territory and some other cat is trespassing. If your cat starts yowling and wouldn't stop, it is best to get checked for illness or injury. Get an appointment with the vet in such a scenario. If things are fine with your cat, make sure that there isn't any other feral cat near your place that might be invading within your cat's territory.


This is common among females during the mating season if the cat has not been spayed. The caterwaul is a type of yowl but sounds more hollow. If you happen to have a female cat and it starts the caterwaul, the best way to stop that is to get her spayed. This is a call among the females for prospective male mates and there is nothing else you can do about it.


Is there anyone out there who cannot distinguish this sound from all others?

The hissing of a cat is among the most distinct of all the sounds it makes and the reason behind it is pretty clear, even from the posture it holds during hissing. The hissing occurs when the cat feels threatened. This sound is a clear indication that the cat is ready to strike back if needed. The distinct posture includes an arched back with puffed up fur and tail twitching, while the ears are flattened and the fangs are bared with some amount of spitting at times. No matter who you are, if your cat takes this posture, never try to get near or intimidate. That is never a good idea. Try to find out what caused this and remove the threat from the vicinity. Even though some friendlier cat and more outgoing ones might not hiss or hiss very little, if your cat does this, do not take it lightly.


What Different Sounds Your Makes Mean? Communicate with Cats
What do the different sounds your cat makes mean? Communicate with your cats

This is a unique sound that cats make with the help of their teeth. It is mostly when they are able to locate a prey but unable to reach it. Some people say that this is simply imitating the chattering of the birds, but cats are extremely quiet predators and I have never seen any cat chattering if it is able to strike. This happens mostly when the cat is unable to reach a prey, may be sitting on the other side of the window. I will say it is actually the sound it makes when its predator instincts kick in and is excited about the prey but unable to get it.

Chirping, chirruping, trilling

These are various forms of meowing and you will find this more among mother cats. Mothers make these sounds to get the attention of the kitten and telling what to do and what not to do. If your cat makes this sound towards you, it is definitely trying to get your attention and tell you something. These are mostly happy sounds and so you can correlate them with playful sounds.


This is one sound that any cat owner will like to avoid. This can come out after a yowl of a caterwaul. The scream is pretty bloodcurdling one and can come out after the final blow in a cat fight. It can also come out of the female cat right after mating with a male one because it pains her. Both the situation can be avoided if you are keeping your cats indoors and ensuring that feral cats are not anywhere near your place, and have your cat spayed.

Snarling and growling

What Different Sounds Your Makes Mean? Communicate with Cats
What do the different sounds your cat makes mean? Communicate with your cats

Quite evidently these are the sounds your cat will make when it feels threatened or its territory is breached. If there is no other cat threatening it, it is best to leave your cat by itself for the time being. There can be something else that is bothering it and you will not wish to face the wrath!

Cats are extremely intelligent and sensitive. There can be a number of things that can make its mood swing. Know what your cat is trying to tell through the sounds it makes and you can certainly be a great owner.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog