11 Cat Sounds & What They Mean

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Cats can be very talkative animals, but did you know that most of their meowing sounds were developed for humans alone? While cats talk to each other using smell, facial expressions, and touch, their language was developed entirely to teach their humans what they want.


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However, though your cat mostly wants to talk to you, it has still developed a very advanced communication style. Your cat makes many different sounds, and they all have a specific meaning. Here are 11 of the most common cat sounds, and what your cat is likely trying to say.


1. Short Meow

This is one of the most common sounds you'll hear your cat make. The short meow is typically a "Hello" or other greeting.

2. Multiple meows in succession

If your cat gives off a succession of short meows, then it's probably really excited. Maybe you've been gone for a long time or your kitty wants to play.


3. Longer Meow

A meow that's slightly longer and more pronounced is usually a demand. Possibly, "feed me," "play with me," or "pay attention to me."


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4. Mew

The shorter, more pathetic "mew" sound usually indicates sadness. Your cat may be lonely, hungry, or have a need that is making their mood worse.


5. A high-pitched, loud squeak

This sound usually indicates pain or at least an acute scare. Your cat makes this noise when you accidentally step on its tail or paw. Believe us, if you cause pain or even just the idea of pain, your cat will let you know.


6. A late-night meow

One of their more irritating sounds, many cats get vocal late at night. That's probably because cats are nocturnal by nature, so they often want to get moving while we want to sleep. Usually, a midnight meow means they need you or want you at night, and it's usually tough to get your cat to quiet down without at least addressing their concerns.


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7. Purr

This deep, rumbling sound of contentment usually happens only when your cat is SO comfortable and happy. Often, when your cat is sitting with you and being pet or rubbing itself on your legs, you'll hear this satisfying sounds.


8. Hiss

The hiss is one of the more aggressive sounds your cat might make. This sound usually comes out because your cat feels threatened, and it's meant to be a frightening warning sound to show an enemy who's boss. Tread carefully around a hissing cat, because it might try to bite or claw. It's best to keep your distance and try to remove the threat.

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9. Growl

If your cat's hiss is accompanied by a growl, that's pretty normal. Growls are further signals to enemies that your cat is ready to pounce or defend itself. Growls can also be elicited from a threat to your cat's territory, possibly from another animal. As with hissing cats, give a growling cat its space and help to remove any threats.

10. Scream

If your female cat is screaming, it may be her signal that she's in heat. She uses her scream to draw in a mate if she's outside. Also, occasionally a cat in the middle of a fight will let out a scream.

11. Chatter

Sometimes when your cat is looking out the window, you'll hear their teeth chatter. Usually accompanied by other sounds, the chatter usually indicates that your cat is excited by the prospect of prey and possibly slightly stressed that it can't get to it.

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Although many cats make these sounds, not all cats are as vocal.

Your cat's vocalization depends on its breed as well as its personality. Usually, shorthaired cats are more talkative than their longhaired cousins. If you find yourself with an overly talkative cat, to the point of annoying, then the best course of action is to ignore it. Acquiescing to what your cat wants only makes it more likely to continue to bug you.

But now that you understand what your cat's trying to say, hopefully the two of you will be able to communicate better.

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Because getting along is all about speaking the same language and, of course, plenty of snuggles.


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