What Do Your Cat’s Noises Mean?

C​ats are notoriously opinionated. Even at three o’clock in the morning, your cat won’t hesitate to tell you what they think. But it’s not always easy to understand them, so what exactly are they trying to say?

W​hen your cat makes noise, they are trying to communicate something to you. They may be telling you they are hungry, anxious, affectionate, or in pain.

W​hat are common noises cats make?

T​he kind of noise your cat makes can give you a better idea of what they are trying to say.

M​eowing. Cats meow for a variety of reasons–they could be greeting you, trying to announce something, or they could just want to hear the sound of their own voice. Meowing isn’t usually a noise to be concerned about, especially if it’s normal for your cat.

P​urring. If your cat is making this noise, it usually means they’re happy! There’s nothing better than sitting on the couch with a cat contentedly purring on your lap. However, on rare occasions, cats will purr to soothe their anxiety.

H​owling or crying. This might be the easiest sound to decipher–if your cat is howling, it almost always means they are in some kind of trouble. They may be hurting or stressed out and stuck in a room, so if you hear your cat crying, it’s always a good idea to investigate.

C​hirping or chattering. Have you ever heard a cat chatter while looking at a window? It means they are excited! They often chirp when they are watching birds or squirrels outside, and they are so happy that they need to share it with someone.

W​hen should I be concerned about the noises my cat makes?

I​t’s very important to know what’s “normal” for your cat. If your kitty is a chatterbox who talks non-stop, you probably don’t need to be concerned when they walk around the house in the middle of the night meowing. However, if your cat is typically reserved and quiet, but starts yowling and acting stressed, you should try to find out why.

T​he noises cats make are often harmless, but sometimes they may warrant a trip to the veterinarian. If your cat is acting strange, a call to the vet can help you know if your cat is just being silly or if they might be injured or sick.

H​ow else do cats communicate?

U​nderstanding your cat’s body language can help you better decipher the noises they make. According to The Humane Society of the United States, a content cat will have their eyes closed, be purring gently, and have their ears forward. On the other hand, a stressed cat will have dilated pupils, a stiffly-moving tail, and may even growl.

W​hether you have a cat of your own or if you simply want to better understand a neighbor or friend’s pet, knowing why a cat makes a certain noise can help improve your relationship. W​hen you put your knowledge of cat behavior into use, you’ll be less confused by their actions–and better able to give them what they need.

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