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How Many Sounds Can a Cat Make? 7 Common Vocalizations

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By Nicole Cosgrove

cat meowing

As a cat owner, you’ve come accustomed to the sounds your kitty makes. You know what each meow means and even when they aren’t happy with their situation. While you may recognize the normal meows, hisses, purrs, and growls those are only the beginning of the over 100 vocalizations your cat can produce. Let’s learn more about cats and the sounds they can make so you’ll be able to understand your pampered puss better.


The 7 Most Common Cat Sounds

1. The Meow is for You

A cat’s meow is the most recognizable sound they make. But have you noticed cats only meow for humans? When communicating with other felines, cats don’t meow. This sound has been developed by cats over the years, beginning in ancient Egypt, and has adapted with them as they have been domesticated. As your cat’s owner, you have most likely learned how to distinguish between their meows. Tones and duration change according to what your kitty wants. By taking note of what your cat is doing and the type of meow they offer you at the time, a good pet parent can figure out what their fur baby needs or wants. By doing as your kitty tells you, your life will be simpler so listen closely for those meows.

abbyssinian cat meowing
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

2. The Emotional Purr

Most people think cats purr when they are happy. Sure, as a cat parent, it’s nice to think your cat is happy each time it purrs, but that’s simply not the case. Cats have been known to purr when they aren’t feeling well, when they visit the vet, or when they spend time with another kitty they like. Instead of associating purring with happiness, it may be better if you associate it with emotion. Purring is your cat’s way of telling you they are feeling something. Whether it is happiness, pain, sorrow, or even contentment, your cat’s purr is a sign that they are aware of the world around them and reacting to it.

3. Your Cat Hisses or Spits When It Means Business

Sure, it’s funny when your cat gets worked up but when the hissing and spitting starts, that’s a sign your cat is angry. By expelling their air in such a fashion, cats can tell their humans, other cats, dogs, or other creatures in their vicinity that they are no longer playing around. As a good pet parent, it is up to your to know why your cat is hissing and upset so you can do your best to rectify the situation.

cat hissing
Image Credit: yvonneschmu, Pixabay

4. Chattering

Have you heard the noise your cat makes as it sits in the living room window watching the birds play in the yard? The noises made while your kitty’s jaw trembles are called chattering. This sound is unique and very recognizable when you hear it. Chattering is your cat’s way of letting you know they are excited or focused on the prey they can’t reach. As a cat parent, chattering is one of the best sounds to hear your cat make. Once you hear it, it’s impossible to forget.

5. Kittens in Distress

When we have kittens in our home, as good pet owners, we try to make sure they are safe. If something happens and a kitten finds itself in danger, they emit a distress call to alert the other cats around them. Distress calls from kittens may be different according to the situation they find themselves in, but the high-pitched cries are undeniable once you hear them.

Little kinkalow kitten
Image Credit: UW.ART, Shutterstock

6. Mating Calls

Both male and female cats make noises to attract the opposite sex. These intense moans are loud and long. Cats use these as a way to let the opposite sex know they are interested and ready to mate. You’ll also notice male cats using these moans to warn off other boy cats that may be interested in his lady.

7. Screams

Hearing your cat scream in pain is heartbreaking. These high-pitched screams are quite loud and, in most situations, happen suddenly. This scream is your cat’s way of alerting you and anyone around them that they are hurt. You’ll also hear these screams to indicate the end of mating between male and female kitties.

tabby cat meowing
Image By: M-86, Shutterstock

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In Conclusion

While this list is far from every sound your cat can make, it does cover some of the most popular sounds that may come out of your kitty. The longer you’re around your cat, the more you’ll understand the vocalization they use to communicate with you. Use your cat’s sounds to your advantage. When your cat indicates their feelings or needs, you can be quick to please your tiny master and keep them happy. This will make your life so much better.

Featured Image Credit: Stanimir G.Stoev, Shutterstock

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