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Breaking The Code Of Every Cat Sound

Breaking The Code Of Every Cat Sound

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MEOW everyone… Oops, paw-don my cat! I mean meooow everyone! I hope you’re all fine because today we have an interesting thing to do – we are going to break the codes of cat sounds and discover their real meanings.

Our beloved felines are amazing creatures. I always find it fascinating that cats can produce up to 21 different sounds, according to a study about Feline vocal communication

However, today, we’re going to focus on decoding the most common cat sounds including: 

• Types of meowing

• Hissing

• Purring

• Chattering

• Trilling/chirping

• Growling

• Caterwauling

• Spitting

So, let’s begin!

Different Types Of Meowing

orange domestic cat meowing

Meowing is the main sound that cats produce. Some people believe that cats learned how to meow in order to communicate with humans. However, I think that is only partially true, but cats do meow to communicate with their owners and express their needs or feelings. 

If you want to learn what your kitty is trying to tell you, then you should know that there are a few different types of meowing. Let’s check them out and learn their meanings together.

The Regular Meow

This type of meow is very simple. It’s short, mid-pitch in tone, and it’s the sound you’ll be hearing most of the time. 

Cats usually produce this sound when they need something such as food, water, a clean litter box, or similar. Also, don’t worry, most cats will probably lead you to the exact spot to show you what they want; you’ll figure it out easily.

The Greeting Meow – Mewl

The mewl is a type of meowing that cats use to greet their humans. Cats usually mewl when you finally come home after leaving them alone for a whole five minutes. I mean, how dare you?

Just kidding… The mewl is often followed by a cat rubbing against you, and they’re literally saying, “Hey, where have you been? I’ve missed you!”

The Long Meow That Wakes You Up In The Middle Of The Night

If you’re a cat parent, you probably know the struggle of a cat waking you up in the middle of the night, because of nothing. At least that’s what you think. Cats don’t produce this sound without a reason; they usually need or demand something specific. 

It can be that they want your attention, or that they’re hungry or similar. For example, my Mikey produces this sound when he’s hungry, or to remind me to feed him and his brothers and sisters. Such a smart furry guy!

Meow On Repeat!

Meow, Meow, Meow! If your kitty starts meowing repeatedly, there’s only one correct answer – your cat is excited for a certain reason. It may be excited to see you, or because you brought something interesting to your cat. 

Whenever I visit my grandma, her kitty starts meowing repeatedly. That’s actually weird because I always thought that cat hated me, haha.

Here you can check out different types of meowing:


distressed and scared cat meows while at the vet

When you hear a cat hissing, you can immediately conclude that it’s not a good sign. Hissing is the rapid expulsion of air from the mouth during exhalation. But, what does hissing actually mean? 

Cats hiss when they’re frightened, threatened, angry, or annoyed. By hissing, a cat wants to warn the other person or animal to move back. I like to translate it this way: “Stand back, I have claws and I’m not afraid to use them”. 

What usually follows after hissing is a claw attack as the cat tries to defend itself. Check out this short video of a cat hissing.


If you ask me, purring is one of the loveliest cat sounds. Purring is proof that your cat is happy and relaxed. There’s no better feeling than this, especially if your cat is purring in your lap.

My male cat, Mr. Bitey, likes to snuggle in my lap after a good playtime, and he always starts purring. What’s also interesting is that his purr is very loud. I hope that the louder the purr, the happier the cat is.

Purring is a low and continuous tone that is produced during respiration. and it’s a sign that your cat is content, relaxed, or it’s trying to calm itself down after a stressful situation. You can hear this relaxing sound right here.


One of the most unusual-sounding cat sounds is chattering, but it’s very common in cats, especially outdoor ones, or indoor ones who like to watch the view from their perch. Cats produce this specific sound by clashing their jaws rhythmically creating a low smacking sound. 

If you hear your feline friend chatter while looking through the window, it has probably seen some potential prey that it cannot catch. So, this sound signifies both excitement and disappointment at the same time.


After chattering, there is this amazing sound called chirping or trilling. This sound is short and high-pitched similar to birds chirping. However, cats produce it when they want to call someone, such as their owners or a fellow cat. 

This interesting sound is more common in female felines because mother cats usually chirp at their kitten to follow them or pay attention. My female cats are spayed, but I still hear Penny chirping at Loo, the young kitten. Penny is such a mother figure!

Growling And Yowling

If you hear a cat growl or yowl, you better ignore it and walk away. Growling refers to a low-pitched rumbling sound that cats use to scare someone or warn, while yowling is a bit higher in tone and louder. 

In that situation, cats are very aggressive and angry and can even hurt you badly.


If you wonder what that weird sound is during the mating season, it’s probably cats caterwauling. This sound is very loud and both male and female cats produce it. 

Male cats usually produce this sound during the mating season, as a way of searching for a female to mate with. Females use it for a similar purpose. It may be a sign of searching for a mate; however, it might also be a warning sign. 


I’m sure you’ve all seen a cat spitting. This sound is a sign that the cat is extremely frightened or aggressive; therefore it’s warning you to stand back if you don’t want to be hurt. Spitting is a sudden but short exhalation that results in a burst of noise. 

The spitting sound is often accompanied by other signs as well, such as flattened ears and whiskers, pawing, dilated pupils, and similar. All of these signs mean that the cat is scared or very angry, which is why you need to leave it alone.

The Bottom Line

cute domestic calico cat meowing

We made it! Thank you for helping me decode these cat sounds and I hope we all learned something new which will help us understand and bond with our feline friends more easily.

These are only some of the cat sounds, but I’m sure they’re the most common ones. Cats use most of these sounds not only to communicate with other cats and animals but with their humans as well. 

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