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Why Do Cats Trill? 3 Reasons for This Behavior

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

cat meowing outdoor

Some cats can be extremely vocal, while others remain pretty quiet. No matter what kind of feline you have, you’ve probably heard them make the trill sound on more than one occasion. But what exactly is a trill, and what does it mean?

But there are definitely some different meanings to vocalizations. If your cat has suddenly started trilling at you, let’s find out what it could mean.

What Is a Trill?

A trill is a noise that your cat makes that combines a meow and a purr. It almost sounds like a meow with a lovely vibrato, putting a little razzle-dazzle, sing-songy spin on things. It is one of the many vocalizations we hear from our beloved felines.

cat meowing
Image Credit: Marvin Otto, Pixabay

Top 3 Reasons Your Cat is Trilling

1. Your Cat Wants Your Attention

Sometimes when a cat performs this vocalization, it can be as simple as just trying to get your attention. If you have spent a long day away or your feline doesn’t feel like they’re getting the attention they deserve, they may want to remind you that kitty comes first.

They may come up to you, half meowing, half purring to direct your attention away from whatever you’re working on. Usually, when they’re doing it for this reason, it might be accompanied by rubbing or bunting.

These are actually scent-marking and affection actions, showing ownership of you.

grey shorthair cat lying
Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

2. Your Cat Wants Food

When does your cat not have an appetite? Sometimes when they perform this vocalization, it can be because they want you to refill the food bowl.

Perhaps they’re running low, or maybe they’ve been out all day while you had the audacity to go to work. How dare you?

Either way, your cat might simply be looking for a little snack to fill its tummy. They need you to acknowledge the fact that they are starving to death. Correct your mistake, and your cat shall trill no more for the time being.

3. Your Cat Is Talking to You

You might notice that some cats are naturally more vocal than others, trilling along the way. This vocalization is something many vocal cats do to communicate with their humans or each other.

If you talk to your cat and they meow back, it’ll often be followed by a trill sound that is a pleasant, pleasing way of sharing their own personal language.

cat owner talking to his pet
Image Credit: Piqsels

Other Cat Vocalizations

Trilling is not the only vocalization cats make up, of course. Here is a list of other noises every cat owner will hear:

  • Meowing—general communication, attention-getting
  • Hissing—displeasure, threatening, angry
  • Growling—warning, discomfort, irritation
  • Chattering—watching prey, stimulated
  • Purring—pleasure, affection
abbyssinian cat meowing
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

Trilling is among the more peculiar sounds your cat can make. Cats make tons of other vocalizations, too. Now that you understand that this is just a form of mutual communication, you can respond to your kitty by reciprocating the favor.

As we mentioned, some kitties can be more vocal than others. Some cats may often trill as a means of speaking to you. Other cats only do this when they absolutely need something from you. Always prioritize body language above all else when it comes to decoding our mysterious feline friends.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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