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Types of Cat Body Language and Sounds

We know our pets are very smart animals, cats more so than dogs (so say the cat people, we’re neutral of course!) 🐱. When it comes to communicating, cats are normally pretty good at letting us know what they want and when – especially when it comes to food! But what about the times when we can’t understand them? Well we’ve got your cat body language translator right here…

1) Meow

Strangely, meowing isn’t something most feral cats do. Despite most people’s assumptions, meows are normally only used in the presence of humans. Kittens are the most vocal – they use it as a form of communication with their mother. However, domestic adult cats tend to stop meowing at each other and only use a meow to communicate with their owner, usually because they want something. Most owners can tell that not all meows are the same. Depending on the situation and the way they meow, you may already know what your cat wants.

2) Purr

There is common speculation that your cat purrs when they’re happy – this isn’t the case. Purring can have many different meanings and cats can change the frequency and speed of their purr depending on how they’re feeling. For example, when cats are hungry their purr is louder, faster and deeper compared to when they’re happy and their purr is soft and soothing. Other feelings communicated by purrs include fear, pain and remorse.

3) Chirp

Often sounding like birds, mother cats usually use this more explanative meow to tell their kittens to pay attention. Likewise, if your cat ‘chirps’ at you, they want your attention! Chirrups and other small squeaks can also occur when your cat is happy and excited. You may also notice cat body language like a raised tail, slightly curled at the end, which means your cat is feeling happy and friendly.

4) Chatter

Has something out the window caught your cat’s attention? You might notice they’ve seen a bird, mouse or insect and start making a stuttering sound. This is known as a ‘chatter’ and it’s a sign of excitement / frustration when your cat has seen prey they want to hunt. Many people claim their cats are talking to the birds……in fact, it might just mean they’re trying to eat them 🙈.

5) Hisses, growls and snarls

These are common sounds of distress and often accompanied by some very distinctive body language. The hiss is used as a warning sign for anything the cat feels threatened by. Growls are also used as warnings but when used with a high-pitched wailing sound, snarls and hisses, your cat could feel scared, territorial or angry and will fight.

For more pet information and facts, check out the other news on Pets in a Pickle.

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Additional Sources

Cover photo of Maxine and Ragnor 🐈 provided by Jennifer on Facebook.

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