Our cats make sounds ranging from purrs to meows to hisses and growls — but what do they mean?
When owning a cat, we’re pretty sure you’ve heard them meow a lot! But did you know that his or her different yowls and meows have different meanings behind them? It isn’t just about meowing for attention, but can also mean an underlying condition that your cat can’t express through words, but through the sounds she makes.
Or, perhaps kitty just wants to show his happiness with you. Either way, it’s important to learn about the different cat sounds your cat makes for you to properly address his problems and act upon it. Wondering what these meows and yowls mean?
Here are the 11 most recognized cat sounds – and what they mean!
1. Short Meows
A short meow is the basic and most popular cat meows for cats who just want to say hi! This is normal and nothing to worry about, as your cat is simply happy to see you. Give him a pet, because it means he wants a bit of attention.
2. Multiple Meows
If your cat meows multiple times or a few meows every minute, it says he’s VERY excited and happy. It’s more comfortable version of the short meow, meaning that your cat is saying that it’s great to see you. Just like the short meow, give him a pet!
3. Mid-Pitch Meows
For cats who have mid-pitch meows, it usually means he’s asking for something. It might be playtime or attention, or he may want to go out to do his business. Other times, it means that he wants food. If it’s time for dinner and he starts meowing this way, you know he’s hungry!
4. Long Meows
Just like mid-pitch meows, your cat wants something. But it isn’t just a plea; it’s a demand! Your cat may be VERY hungry, or he simply demands attention from you after a long day alone. Or, he wants you to open the door, so he can go out or back in.
5. Low-Pitch Meows
A low-pitch meow means your cat is complaining and he’s unhappy about it. It’s time to show your attention or fill up his empty bowl, or he will be in a bad mood for a long time. He might also be mad at something you did, like forgetting him outside!
6. High-Pitched Meows
High-pitched meows is an expression of pain. It might not be something wrong with his digestion or body, but it may be physical pain, such as accidentally kicking him or stepping his tail. This yowl helps you know if he’s hurt from a fight as well.
7. Growls or Howls
If your cat growls, that means he’s feeling VERY negative. They are usually growling when fighting with other cats, trying to protect their territory. A growling cat is an angry cat, so I urge you to stay away to avoid any scratches or bites. If your cat begins to howl, it means she feels danger or needs immediate help because of an injury or sickness. Go to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Just like growling, a hissing cat can also mean someone that’s very upset or irritated. It can also show fear, since cats would usually hiss when he’s surrounded by unfamiliar people or in a new environment. It’s best to let him be first.
Chirruping means that your cat wants something but he can’t get it. But this isn’t about food. He might see prey out of the window but he can’t move to it. It’s a short and stuttered meow that’s a mix of both excitement and frustration.
Caterwauls are low moaning sounds female cats would make when in heat. It alerts other cats that she’s in heat and ready for mating. Your cat may also have an uncomfortable-looking stare to go along with these cat sounds.
Purring is a sweet sounds that means that your cat feels content with your. It means that he’s happy or sleepy, comfortable as he sleeps on your lap or cuddles with you. Mother cats would also purr to her kittens to comfort them. Read more on the healing powers of purring.
Tips on Helping Your Cat Control His Meowing
If your cat meows a lot, then there are various reasons as to why it happens! So if you want to control his meowing and make sure that he stays healthy and disturbs no one in the household, here are some things to follow:
- Make sure that your cat has access to all his toys and a comfortable environment, allowing him to have fun and enjoy while you’re out of the house or running errands. He might just want to play or sleep in a quiet area.
- Give your cat access to treats or food a few times a day. He may be hungry! Studies show that it’s best to feed your cat multiple times a day instead of one large meal to avoid indigestion or hunger.
- Play with your cat a bit! Your cat needs attention, just like many humans. Give him a few minutes of cuddle time or petting, making him feel loved.
- If your cat looks uncomfortable and in pain, he might be suffering from more symptoms other than just meowing a lot. Take him to the veterinarian to evaluate if he’s sick or requires medical attention.
If your cat incessantly meows or makes different sounds, then it’s time to learn how to evaluate what they mean! Each of your cat’s meows, hisses, purrs, or yowls mean something, and while some can be brushed off by a gentle pet, some can be serious and will need to be checked by a veterinarian.
Here’s a cat noise you don’t hear every day
Listen to the sound of the Caracal cat … how’d you like to wake up to the sound of this cute little fella every morning?
This guest post was kindly provided by Annie (founder of MeowKai) — she writes about cat behavior, health issues, and tips and tricks on how to get your cat to behave! We hope that this article on cat sounds and what they mean will help you become more knowledgeable about how to care for your cat. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience, please leave us a comment below.
Be sure to check out our post on Cat Trilling.