Decoding 10 Main Cat Sounds And Their Meanings

Unravel the mystery of “Cat Sounds” as we delve into the language of felines, decoding meows, purrs, and more to help you better understand and connect with your beloved cat.

10 main cat sounds and what are their meanings.

Let’s figure out the top 10 popular sounds that cats make.

Cat Meow Sound

Cats typically don’t meow to other cats, but they use meows extensively to communicate with humans, or sometimes with kittens. They have learned that humans respond to meows, so they use them to get our attention, ask for things, or express their needs. This is a crucial part of the feline-human bond.

Cats can produce a wide range of meow sounds, each with its own unique pitch, tone, and duration. These variations in vocalization can convey different meanings and messages. Here are some examples:

  • Short, high-pitched meows: These meows are often used by kittens to communicate with their mothers, such as when they are hungry or cold.
  • Long, drawn-out meows: These meows can be used to express a variety of emotions, such as pain, fear, or frustration.
  • Low, guttural meows: These meows are often used as a threat or warning.
  • Soft, chirping meows: These meows are often used to express affection or contentment.

Cat Meow Sound

Cat Purr Sound

A cat’s purr is a low-frequency, rumbling sound that is produced by the vibration of the vocal cords in the cat’s larynx. The purr is typically between 25 and 150 Hertz, which is below the range of human hearing. However, we can feel the vibration of the purr against our skin.

Cats purr for various reasons, including expressing contentment and happiness, providing self-soothing effects, relieving pain through purr vibrations, promoting healing by increasing blood flow, communicating with kittens, and strengthening the bond with their human companions.

Cat Chirps Sound

A cat chirp, also known as a trill or a cheep, is a high-pitched, bird-like sound that cats make. It is typically a soft, quick sound that is made with the mouth closed. 

Cats chirp for reasons like greeting other cats in a friendly manner, expressing excitement, communicating with kittens (especially during feeding times), and demonstrating curiosity, such as when encountering new toys or observing birds outside.

Cats typically chirp more often when they are young, but adult cats may chirp occasionally as well. If your cat is chirping a lot, it is a good sign that they are happy, healthy, and well-adjusted.


Cat Chirps Sound

Cat Trills Sound

A cat trill is a rapid, high-pitched series of chirps or clicks that cats make. It is a relatively rare vocalization, but it is often associated with positive emotions, such as happiness, excitement, or affection.

Cats typically trill when they are greeting other cats, playing, or seeking attention. They may also trill when they are approaching their owners or when they are excited about something.

The trill is thought to be a way for cats to communicate with each other and to express their emotions. It is a soft, playful sound that helps to build relationships and to strengthen bonds between cats.

Cat Chatter Sound

Cat chatter, also known as chattering or clattering, which sounds like ek ek ek, is a rapid, repetitive vocalization that cats make with their mouths open and their teeth exposed. 

Here are some of the reasons why cats chatter:

  • Hunting: Chattering is thought to be a way for cats to mimic the sounds of their prey, such as birds or rodents. This can help them to attract prey closer or to confuse them, making it easier for them to catch.
  • Frustration: Chattering can also be a sign of frustration. Cats may chatter when they are trying to catch prey that is out of reach, or when they are feeling annoyed or impatient.
  • Mimicry: Chattering can also be a form of mimicry. Cats may chatter to imitate the sounds of other animals or objects, such as a bird outside the window or a squeaky toy.
  • Other reasons: Chattering may also be a way for cats to relieve stress or to express excitement. Some cats may chatter when they are playing, or when they are being petted.

Cat Hiss Sound 

A cat’s hiss is a low-pitched, harsh vocalization that is typically accompanied by a flattened body and bared teeth. It is a defensive sound that cats make to warn other animals or people to stay away. Hissing is often accompanied by other defensive behaviors, such as growling, spitting, or arching the back.

Hissing is a normal and healthy behavior for cats, and it is a way for them to communicate that they feel threatened or unsafe. If your cat is hissing at you, it is important to give them space and to avoid approaching them or making any sudden movements. You should also try to identify the source of their fear or anxiety and take steps to eliminate it if possible.


Cat Hiss Sound 

Cat Yowl Sound

A cat’s yowl is a loud, high-pitched vocalization that is often associated with distress or discomfort. It is a versatile sound that can be used to express a variety of emotions, including pain, fear, frustration, or loneliness.

Cat yowling can vary in intensity and duration. Some cats may only yowl occasionally, while others may yowl for long periods of time. Excessive yowling can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, so if your cat is yowling excessively, you should consult with your veterinarian.

Cat Caterwaul Sound

A cat’s caterwaul is a loud, high-pitched, and persistent vocalization that often sounds like a combination of a yowl, a howl, and a whine. It is typically used to express strong emotions, such as pain, fear, or frustration. Caterwauling often has association with female cats in heat, but it can also be made by male cats or non-heat cats in distress.

If your cat is caterwauling, it is important to try to identify the cause of their distress. If they are in pain, take them to the veterinarian immediately. Provide a safe and comfortable hiding place if your cat feels scared. If they feel frustrated, address the source of their frustration to create a more positive environment. If they are in heat, you may want to consider spaying them.

Cat Scream Sound

The cat emits a loud, high-pitched, and distressed vocalization known as a scream, typically linked to situations of extreme pain or fear. It is a rare vocalization, but it is one that is very distinctive and can be difficult to ignore.

Cats may scream for various reasons, including experiencing extreme pain due to injury or illness, feeling extreme fear during emergencies or attacks, and reacting to sudden loud noises like fireworks or thunder. Screaming in these situations is often accompanied by additional signs of distress such as limping, hiding, rapid breathing, dilated pupils, or other reflexive responses.

Estrous period cat sound

The vocalizations of cats in heat, also known as estrus, can be quite different from their normal vocalizations. 

In addition to these vocalizations, female cats in heat may also exhibit other behaviors, such as:

  • Rubbing against objects: This is a way for female cats to mark their territory with scent.
  • Stretching and yawning: This is a way for female cats to show their fertility to potential mates.
  • Arching their backs: This is a way for female cats to make themselves look larger and more attractive to potential mates.

Estrous period cat sound

What should you do if your cat sounds weird?

If your cat is making weird sounds, especially if they are accompanied by other symptoms, here are some things you can do:

  • Observe your cat closely: Pay attention to their body language, appetite, and behavior. Are they lethargic? Are they eating and drinking normally? Are they using the litter box regularly?
  • Consider the context: When did your cat start making weird sounds? Were they doing anything unusual before the sounds started? Is there anything in their environment that could be causing them distress?
  • Check for physical injuries: Examine your cat for any signs of injury, such as cuts, bruises, or swelling. If you find any injuries, take your cat to the veterinarian immediately.
  • Listen to the sounds carefully: The type of sound your cat is making can provide clues about the cause of the problem. For example, if your cat is making a high-pitched, raspy sound, it could be a sign of respiratory distress. If they are making a low-pitched, gurgling sound, it could be a sign of digestive problems.
  • Contact your veterinarian: If you are concerned about your cat’s weird sounds, especially if they are accompanied by other symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away. They can help you to determine the cause of the problem and recommend the best course of treatment.

What should you do if your cat sounds weird?

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