What Do Your Cat’s Noises Mean?

If you’re taking care of a cat, chances are you’ve heard various types of meows, cries and the occasional glare, as if you’re being interrogated for top-secret information. When a cat makes any type of sound, it’s because they’re trying to communicate something, and a lot of these times, they’re actually asking for something. It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, they chirp, purr and meow until we somehow figure out what it is that they want us to do. Here is how we find out how we can understand them easier and determine what they are saying.

Why do Cats Tend to be Vocal?

Well, basically it’s because they want something. It can be anything from food, water, attention or it could be them trying to set boundaries for more space. Other times, cats are vocal because they feel uncomfortable and that could mean that something is wrong. In any case, cats don’t make noise for no reason, so it will help to familiarize yourself to know the meaning behind the noises, and don’t ignore what they want to tell you.


Common Sounds

If you love spending time with cats, it’s likely that you’ve heard a lot of the sounds that they commonly make to try and express themselves. The positive cat noises that The Humane Society includes are chirping, purring, and trilling, the former expressing contentment, and the latter being a motherly way of saying “follow me, this way,” to her young. Cats indoors will sometimes make a twittering sound as they watch prey, most likely due to the excitement of making a catch.



“Meow” is the most common noise we hear our cats making but what we don’t realize is that there are about six different types of meows, none of which are created equal. Psychology Today tries to decipher this by breaking down the pitch and length of a cat’s cry. According to the study, different pitches indicate when a cat wants something, but different lengths of meows are used to represent expressions. An example of this is how “hello” can be said by a few short, quick meows, while a lingering, lengthy meow could mean that your cat is asking for something, maybe food or to open the door for them.

Pitches may be something for you to be more concerned with. Low pitches are usually regarded as complaints, (maybe you gave her dry cat food when you know she prefers it wet.) The low pitch meows may sound similar to a low growl, this is something that cats do when they warm other cats to back off. If your cat makes a middle-pitch cry then it’s most likely that they want your attention, or is telling you it’s mealtime. But if your cat makes a sharp, high pitched meow it usually means your cat is in pain or that something is wrong.

When to be Concerned

If your cat is crying in a high pitch non-stop or if it starts yowling rather than crying and is lengthier than the usual meows, then you should seek the help of your veterinarian. More so if your cat is showing other symptoms or if they seem to be off, like suddenly refusing to eat its food or if it starts compulsively licking. If your cat is incessantly crying or yowling then it is highly recommended that you take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible to avoid any possible diseases or illnesses and to ensure your cat is healthy.


Other Ways Cats Speak

There are other ways in which our feline friends can express themselves, which are just as effective, if not more. Cats are all about body language and can use their eyes, ears, and tails to express their wants and needs to other cats and with people. These needs can be anywhere from warning others from coming near them, (when ears are flat on their heads and held back) to feeling curious and happy to explore (when their tails are sticking up with their fur laying flat).

Cats also use the method of marking their territory by pressing their forehead onto your porch, rubbing their body on your legs, other areas close to home or pretty much anything that they want to own. After all, cats pretty much think they can own everything but most of all, they want to own our hearts. But either way, our furry feline friends have a lot of things to say to us, but we need to be willing to listen.