Your Cat’s Language: What Meows, Chirps and Yowls Mean
Your Cat’s Language: What Meows, Chirps and Yowls Mean

Different Types of Cat Sounds

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Have you ever wondered about the mysteries behind a cat's purr? It is not just a simple sound, but a blend of feline physiology at work. Cats achieve their signature purr through rapid contractions and relaxations of their laryngeal muscles, around 150 times per second. This creates that familiar, soothing and resonant sound we all adore. And as your cat takes each breath, the airflow caresses these vibrating muscles adding more depth to its purr. In this blog, we will look into the secrets behind this enchanting feline phenomenon. 

Why do cats purr?

Purring is a feline’s versatile tool of communication. Sure, cats purr when they are happy and comfy, but they can also purr when they are stressed, in pain, or even when they are hungry – it is like a cat crying for some attention. And here is a fun fact: mama cats purr to bond with their kittens, and kitten sounds are indicators of the little ones telling mom everything is fine. 

Let us dive into the details of different cat sounds because they might just be trying to tell you something important. 

Decoding the purrs: what does it mean?

Cats are like mysterious little furballs, and their purring adds another layer to the enigma. So, what exactly are they trying to convey when they turn on the purr engine? 

  1. Happiness

    When your cat is in its happy place – curled up on your lap or basking in a sunbeam – that gentle purring is often a sign of pure contentment. In cat language, it means, 'Life is good right now.'

  2. Bonding and affection

    Cats are known for their independent streak, but when they snuggle close and start to purr, it is a clear sign of love and bonding. It is a cat’s way of saying, 'You are my favourite human, and I adore you.'

  3. As a location signal

    Ever noticed your cat purring when you are in the same room but cannot see her? That is her way of announcing her presence, like a cat crying as a GPS locator, 'Don’t worry, I am nearby.'

  4. Because they are in pain

    It is not all sunshine and rainbows. Cats may also purr when they are in pain or discomfort, which can be akin to a kitten sound or cat cry, meaning something is not quite right.

  5. To self-medicate and heal

    Cats are remarkable self-healers, and purring may have therapeutic effects. The vibrations produced during purring may promote the healing of bones and tissues. I is their natural way of saying, 'I will make myself better,' and it is not unlike the comforting kitten sound that a mother cat makes to communicate love to her babies.

  6. A reaction to being pet or tickled

    That ecstatic purring when you stroke cats’ fur or tickle them? It is the feline version of laughter. They are loving every moment of your attention, and their purr is a joyful response.

  7. To calm themselves down

    Cats have a unique ability to use purring as a stress-relief mechanism. When faced with a tense situation, they may start to purr to calm their frayed nerves. It is like their built-in stress buster.

  8. To let you know they are hungry

    Sometimes, it is all about the food. Cats can be quite vocal when they are hungry, and this may include the sound of a cat crying. When being loud, it could mean that the cat said it is dinnertime. It is like a polite request for a meal. 

    With this information up your sleeve, the next time your furry friend starts to purr take a moment to decode the message. It is like having a heart-to-heart conversation in your cat’s language!

Why does my cat meow so much? 

If your feline friend seems to be a chatterbox, you might be wondering what is behind your cat’s meowing. Cats are quite expressive through their meows, and the reasons can vary. A cat’s meow sound may be to seek attention, express hunger, combat loneliness, or signal stress or discomfort. Older cats may meow more due to cognitive changes, and sometimes, boredom can lead to cats meowing excessively. Paying attention to the context and your cat's specific meowing patterns can help you understand its needs and ensure its well-being.

Different cat sounds: what is the kitty trying to tell you?

Cats are vocal creatures, and they have an impressive range of sounds to express themselves. Here are five of the most common cat sounds and what they typically mean.

  1. Meow

    Meowing is an all-purpose communicator in cat language. Cats meow to get your attention, ask for food, or simply say hello. The tone and intensity can convey their emotions, from friendly greetings to a cat crying for urgent demands.

  2. Hiss

    In cat language, this is a clear sign of displeasure or fear. When a cat hisses, it is a warning to back off, and it is best to respect their boundaries.

  3. Chirp 

    This quirky cat sound often happens when a cat spots a bird or other prey through a window. It's like their way of expressing excitement and frustration at not being able to catch it.

  4. Growl 

    This kitten sound is a signal that your cat is feeling threatened or territorial. It is a low, guttural sound meant to deter potential intruders.

  5. Yowl or caterwaul

    This is the sound of a cat crying, meaning it is mating season. This cat crying sound is also heard when an unspayed female is in heat. It is a cat's way of announcing its presence and seeking a mate.

    Understanding these sounds can help you connect better with your feline friend and respond to its needs and emotions appropriately.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What does it mean when a cat goes meow?
  2. A cat’s meow sound can mean various things, from seeking attention or food to expressing discomfort or simply saying hello.

  3. Why is my cat meowing loudly nonstop?
  4. A cat’s meow sound may be due to hunger, discomfort, illness, or anxiety. It is essential to investigate the cause and address its needs.

  5. How can I get my cat to meow more?
  6. You can encourage your cat to meow more by engaging in interactive play, offering treats, and spending quality time with it. Building a strong bond can lead to more vocal communication through your cat’s meow sound. 

  7. What does it mean when a cat purrs?
  8. In cat language, purring can signify contentment. But in certain cases, it can also indicate pain, stress, or a desire for attention, depending on the context. Sometimes, it might even be confused with the sound of a cat crying when they are in distress.

  9. Does purring mean my cat is happy?
  10. Purring does not always mean your cat is happy. While it is often a sign of contentment, cats can also purr when they are in pain, anxious, or unwell. 

  11. Why do cats purr when cuddling?
  12. Cats purr when cuddling to express comfort and contentment. It is their way of saying they enjoy the affection and feel safe with you.

Your Cat’s Language: What Meows, Chirps and Yowls Mean
  • How to Take Care of a Kitten: 8 Tips on Raising a Kitten Into a Healthy Cat
    How to Take Care of a Kitten: 8 Tips on Raising a Kitten Into a Healthy Cat
    How To Take Care Of A Kitten

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    Bringing a kitten home is an experience full of joy and warmth. The internet is filled with kitten photos and videos, and you are soon going to find out why! However, these cute creatures are extremely delicate and need hands-on attention while growing up. If you bring home a kitten without a mother, you will have to be extra careful with it. Every cat parent should be well-informed about how to take care of newborn kittens or kittens in general.

    We have put together a few tips to get you started on your journey of raising a kitten. From vet visits and food selection to grooming and keeping it hydrated, this article will give you a basic understanding of how to take care of a kitten.

    Take your kitten for regular check-ups

    Routine check-ups are highly recommended for kittens. Once you get a kitten home, your responsibility as a caregiver is to take it to the vet for a basic health check-up. During this check-up, the veterinarian will check for any health concerns that need to be addressed immediately. They will also walk you through the vaccination and spaying/neutering process. If you are a first-time cat parent, do not hesitate from asking doubts and questions regarding your cat’s health and well-being.

    Keep your kitten hydrated

    Since a dehydrated kitten can be vulnerable to many diseases and infections, make sure that fresh water is easily accessible. In fact, place multiple water bowls around the house for it to drink from. Clean these bowls regularly and fill them up with fresh water. If the vet recommends, you can also give your kitten electrolyte water.

    Provide your kitten with balanced nutrition

    A newborn kitten should be fed by its mother for the first few weeks. However, kitties that find a new home generally get separated from their mother at an early age. If you have adopted a newborn pet, you probably do not know how to take care of a kitten without a mother. Start by visiting a vet to receive a comprehensive feeding guide. It will help you meet the kitty’s nutritional needs. You might also have to switch to a different type of food at different stages like teething.

    Cats are carnivores; hence, their food intake is majorly meat. Ensure that the dry food you give your cat is made with high-quality protein. Made with chicken as the main ingredient, IAMS Proactive Health Mother and Kitten is a protein-rich meal option for your kitten. This kitten food also contains Omega 3, Colostrum, and DHA to support healthy eye and brain development!

    Comfort and pamper your kitten

    Cats are independent creatures that enjoy their space. However, from time to time, they also like being cuddled and picked up. They will also show affection in their own unique ways. Give your kitten some time to settle in and gradually start introducing it to your touch. Gently hold it and pamper it. Bring a few fun toys for it to play with. Kittens generally love playing with bells, strings, or anything that they can chase.

    Help your kitten socialise with other family members

    Taking care of a kitten involves introducing it to its new family members – including other pets – from the day it is brought home. After all, your new kitten will be the newest addition to the clan! If you are worried about your dog and cat not getting along because of age-old assumptions, let us assure you, it is nothing but a myth. However, some dogs may not be able to differentiate a cat from a rabbit and their prey instincts could kick in. If this happens, you need to train your dog by familiarising it with your kitten’s scent. Most dog breeds are hostile in nature and can coexist with other pets easily. Socialising for your kitten will also include grooming days, check-up days, and more.

    Groom your kitten’s fur

    Cats love grooming themselves and are very particular about how they look. However, kittens may need some help, especially in cases where they dirty themselves. Your vet will educate you about ways in which you can give your delicate and tiny kitten a bath. Post that, brush your kitten’s fur coat. Now, brushing its coat does not only remove dirt and dead hair, but it also regulates blood circulation, giving your kitty a healthy glow!

    Litter train your kitten

    Litter training is one of the most important aspects of raising a kitten. Choose a litter box that is big enough for your kitten to do its business. Finding the right type of litter may take some experimenting, but you will soon get there! Fortunately, cats usually eliminate in sandy or granular places by nature. So, when you introduce it to a litter box, chances are that it will use it right away. If your feline friend doesn’t, give it some time to get comfortable. Keep cleaning the litter box periodically to ensure hygiene.

    Dedicate a comfortable sleeping space for your kitten

    As a cat parent, you must pay attention to your kitty’s sleeping space. Kittens and cats are heavy sleepers; kittens can even sleep for 20 hours a day! For the first few nights, make sure your kitten sleeps next to your bed. It is normal for these feline creatures to cry during the first few days as everything is new. However, your kitten will eventually start getting used to its new space and sleep for long hours. Once it starts doing that, you can set up a cosy corner for it to sleep in. If you are wondering how to take care of a newborn kitten, just make sure that you place it somewhere near your bed. This will help you hear any cries and come to their aid as soon as possible.