Ours cats make a number of different sounds to express their feelings or communicate their needs. Here’s a guide to understanding some of the more common sounds made by your pet cat, like purring, meowing, howling, and hissing:


Purring is the sound we most often associate with cats. You’ll often hear your cat purr when you pet or scratch her, or when she is lying down contently. You’re not mistaken to assume that your cat is purring because she is happy and feeling pleasure. Yet cats also purr for a number of other reasons. Cats may purr when they are hungry, though it is often combined with an unpleasant crying sound. Kittens purr as a way of communicating with their mothers, while mother cats purr to reassure their newborn kittens. If you cat is hurt or in pain she may purr as a self-soothing mechanism. Some studies even suggest the vibrations from purring can reduce pain and speed the healing process.


A meow is used by cats to communicate their needs to us humans. Meowing can indicate that your cat is hungry, cold, scared, or otherwise in need or your help. Your cat may meow to ask for food, or because she is lonely, stressed, or ill. However, she may also meow because she is happy to see you or wants to play with you. If you can’t tell the difference between meows of happiness and meows of distress, look for signs that may indicate pain or illness.


A howl or yowl is a long and exaggerated form of a meow. It is part of mating behavior, but if your cat is spayed or neutered, it might be a sign of distress. Your cat may be stuck in a closet or under a bed and need your assistance. If your cat howls with no obvious signs of distress, take her to visit the vet. Howling by older cats may be a sign of dementia.

Hissing or Growling

Your cat may use hissing as a warning sign that she is in defense mode and ready to attack if necessary. Hissing is usually accompanied by an open mouth and arched back. Hissing can be a defensive reaction to a change in the environment, like a new dog in the home or a strange visitor. If you don’t remove the stressors, your cat may start to claw at you or the offending person, animal, or object.

Hopefully you solicit more purrs thank howls or growls with your pet cat!

Source: New feed

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