Noises Cats Make And What They Mean

There are a lot of different noises that your cat can make and you might be wondering what they mean. Each noise will have a meaning and understanding them will help you understand what your cat wants you to know.


If you have an adult cat and they are meowing, they are trying to communicate with you. It has been found that adult cats almost exclusively using meowing to communicate with humans and not other cats. Meowing generally means that your cat wants something from you such as food or access to a room. There are times when meowing will be something as simple as a welcome home.

Younger cats will generally shorten their meows to a mew when they are lonely or hungry. Rapid meowing is your cat’s attempt to get your attention urgently. A longer and more plaintive meow could be worry, an objection to something or annoyance. Incessant meowing could be the sign that something is wrong and you should take your cat to the vet.


The most hypnotic and enjoyable of cat noises is the purr. This is a deep and throaty rumble that often indicates that your cat is in a good mood. Your cat will generally make this noise when they are content with what is happening in their lives.

There are rare occasions when purring will indicate that your cat is agitated. The way to differentiate between these purrs and the ones of contentment is the body language of your cat. If your cat’s ears are back and their body is tense, the purr is telling you that your cat is concerned over something.

Trills, Chirrups, And Chirps

These bird-like noises are generally learned while your cat is a kitten and will be more declarative than the average meow. They are originally used by mother cats to tell their kittens to pay attention and follow them. It is possible that your cat will chirp at you when they want to get you to pay attention or look at something they deem important. Trills and chirrups are generally made when your cat is happy or excited.


There is no mistaking the meaning of a cat’s hiss. This sound only comes when your cat feels threatened and is getting ready to fight. This noise will generally come with an arched back, flattened ears, puffing hair and fangs that are ready to strike. When your cat makes this noise, you need to back off and give them some space.