What Are Cats Saying in St. Paul, MN?
Have you ever wondered what your cat is trying to tell you with the different sounds they make? Through observation we can extrapolate what cats are trying to communicate to us through the sounds they make.
Cats rely on vocal and visual cues to communicate with humans more so than they do with each other. Inter-cat communication is far less vocal and revolves more around visual and olfactory (smell) signals. That means your cats noises are strictly for you and a part of your unique bond! Here we will examine some of the common sounds cats make and what they mean.
Read our St. Paul, MN, veterinarians’ article to find out more about what your cat is saying.
You have probably grown accustomed to the general meow that your cat makes and may notice that they will meow for a variety of things. Cats rarely ever meow at each other, so this sound is truly an evolutionary development to interact with humans. Common reasons for meowing are:
To Get Your Attention
Sometimes cats just meow to say, “Hey look at me!”. Think of it is a greeting or an indication that they would like to interact. They will often meow when they want something, which you might have already noticed around mealtimes (or when they think mealtime should be!).
Their Breed/Personality is Just Chattier
Some cats put the cat in Chatty Cathy. Your cat’s personality might just be one which makes them more vocal and so they may meow for any given cause. Some breeds have also been known to be more talkative like Bengals, Siamese, and Sphynx.
Female Cats in Heat
If your cat is female and has not been spayed, whenever they go through their heat cycle, they normally become more vocal and more affectionate. If your female, un-spayed cat is suddenly screaming around the house, it is possible that she might be in heat, and she is vocalizing to signal to any male cats in the area.
During Stressful Situations
You may notice that your cat is very vocal when placed in their carrier or when at the vet clinic. Some cats are more vocal when they are experiencing stress or any unpleasant stimulus like being held for nail trims or baths. They are simply expressing their displeasure!
All cats, even big ones like lions and tigers, purr. This is a form of communication that they use between each other as well. Kittens are born essentially blind and deaf, so purring, which also has a tactile quality to it, meaning it can be felt, is a way that kittens will communicate with each other and their mother.
Purring is often a sign of content or happiness for cats. It can also be used during stressful moments as a self-soothing method. Studies have shown that cat purring falls between 25 and 140 Hz. This same frequency has been shown to aid in the healing of broken bones, wounds, joints, and tendon repair – isn’t that amazing?
Hisses are sharp, loud warning noises. Often accompanied by spitting, hisses indicate a cat’s extreme displeasure, fear, surprise, and anger. Cats hiss in uncomfortable situations that might push their boundaries and around unfamiliar people and animals.
A cat that is hissing is uncertain and should be approached with caution. Allowing cats to settle and navigate new situations and interactions on their own terms should help settle things.
This noise can be quite frightening to hear. It is a loud drawn-out noise that can indicate a variety of emotions including fear, pain, aggression or at times, in cats who haven’t been spayed or neutered, it can be a signal for mating. Some older cats may yowl as they experience the cognitive decline that is common in older pets (think of dementia in humans).
If you hear your cat yowling, it is very important that you check on them to make sure that nothing serious is happening or wrong.
This is my favorite cat sound! Chirps are those rapid fire, staccato short syllable sounds your cat makes when looking at a bird or squirrel or some other small prey animal outside. This is a sound of excitement and to alert you that they have seen something interesting. Cats also chirp to each other sometimes and mothers may chirp at their kittens to provide corrective instructions.
We hope that this helped provide clarity about the sounds your cats make. Cat communication is complex and fascinating. If your cat ever makes a strange sound or even stops making sounds altogether, reach out to us for help!
– Dr. Abigail Maynard