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Why Your Cat Trills When They Jump: 5 Common Reasons

Sarah Psaradelis

By Sarah Psaradelis

Burmese cat face before pounce hunting to toy mouse

Before a cat jumps, they will crouch down, wiggle their shoulders, sometimes let out a meow, and then jump. If you have ever heard your cat make a vibrating or high-pitched meow before they jump, it is known as “trilling”.

Cats use this to communicate, and it is quite common for some cats to do this before they jump, especially if they are jumping up to something that is quite high up.

Here we will discuss the five main reasons that your cat trills before they jump.

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The 5 Reasons Why Your Cat Trills When They Jump

1. Excitement

Jumping can be exciting for cats, so they might trill before they jump because they are looking forward to reaching the area they want to be. If your cat is jumping to pursue a prey animal like a bird or squirrel, or perhaps jumping up to the counter to eat their food, they will trill to vocalize the excitement and anticipation they have to jump up to a specific area.

Some cats will also trill if they are jumping up to a table to receive a treat from you, or just to show the excitement of being near you.

two cats jumping over fence


2. Nervousness

If your cat is feeling anxious about the jump—perhaps they miscalculated the distance of the jump—they will trill and let out a meow because they are feeling nervous or even scared.

A trill of nervousness is especially common in cats who are jumping down from a high surface, even though cats aren’t typically afraid of heights, they can still be overwhelmed by the height that they just jumped down from, so you may notice that they trill either mid-jump or once they have landed.


3. Communication

Meowing and other vocalizations are used to communicate how your cat is feeling, and if you are near them, your cat may trill to get your attention or communicate that they are about to jump. Trilling can also be a way for your cat to greet you before they jump, or if they were startled, your cat may let out a trill because they are caught off guard.

Cats mainly use vocalizations such as meowing to communicate with us, so if your cat is trilling to you before jumping, it is probably in an attempt to communicate with you, even if you don’t know what they are truly trying to say.

Cat meowing at you
Photo Credit: JackieLou DL, Pixabay

4. Getting Ready To Jump

Almost like a pep-talk of encouragement to themselves, some cats will trill to get themselves ready to jump. The trill can also be a noise that your cat produces from the momentum of their jump, sort of like an involuntary noise that your cat makes as they are jumping.


5. Injury or Pain

If your cat is in pain either from an injury or a condition like arthritis, trilling is a vocalization that they use as a reaction to any pain they may be feeling as they jump. Most of the trilling that cats do is for a positive reason, but it could also be caused by any pain that your cat is feeling when they move in a certain way that hurts them, like when they jump up or down from something.

The trilling sound your cat makes may sound more like an exclamation of pain, and your cat may even act like they are in pain after jumping, or they may avoid jumping altogether unless they have to because of the discomfort they are feeling.

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Conclusion

Cats have a range of different vocalizations used for communication, and trilling is one of them. It is normal for a cat to trill before they jump, although not all cats will do this. You may notice your cat trilling on occasion before they jump, and it is likely due to one of the reasons we have mentioned in this article.


Featured Photo Credit: Viacheslav Lopatin, Shutterstock

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