The Many Sounds of Cats


I have been around many, many felines in my day and I have never heard some of the absurd sounds these crazy fur balls make! I challenge you to play just the audio for a friend and see if they can guess the animal making each sound; bet you they don’t guess cat each time!

Did you know that amongst all of the meows, chirps, yowls and purrs that your cat is trying to relay many different messages to you? Here’s some help on decoding your kitty’s very important memo, understanding what she is trying to say may just help you get the upper paw, um I mean hand, in the relationship.


Ask any kiddo “what sound does a cat make” and no doubt you will get “meow!” The meow is the most commonly heard cat sound, and this sound is almost exclusively used for humans! How cool is that? All felines as kittens use this sound to communicate with their mothers, and as they mature this will generally fade away. Domestic cats however, who very possibly think of themselves as our eternal offspring with keep using the meow to relay very important messages.


Generally, a mewing kitty is a kitty who wants something. This could be attention, food, access to a room, or maybe to finally kick that pesky dog outside! Sometimes you may hear a brief meow; this is really more of a greeting, or a quick hello. It’s important not to disregard the meow; a longer more plaintive meow could be her way of saying she is stressed, anxious, or in pain.


Who doesn’t love the sound of the deep hypnotic rumble coming from that sleepy fur baby lounging on your lap? Hearing your cat express utter contentment is simply one of the most enjoyable parts of cat ownership.  Just make note that the purr isn’t always a signal of happiness, very rarely purring can occur when your cat is agitated over something.  The way to tell the difference is in your cat’s body language, if her tail is twitching, her ears are down, or her body seems stiff you may soon experience her claws and fangs in your flesh.

Chirps and Trills

These delightful little sounds are just slightly more declarative than the meow. Your cat will generally use these sounds to get you to pay attention to something she deems important, she learned this by how her mother spoke to her.  So when you hear this sound, get a move on human!


I don’t care how sweet and fluffy a cat is, a hissing cat is a somewhat creepy thing to see! Between her arched back, fluffed up fur, and a mouth open sporting sharp fangs, a hissing cat is hard to ignore. No doubt this sound means she feels threatened or scared so do your best to remove what the perceived danger is, and give her some space.

If you take the time to understand what your cat is trying to say you just may better understand her mood, intentions and needs.  This could certainly improve the relationship on both sides, so don’t be shy and go ahead and chat with your cat today!



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Wendy Aburto

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