The house cat has the ability to make over 100 different sounds, which is 90 more than a dog can make! Though these sounds can vary from cat to cat, there are a set amount of sounds that do have names to them. A single cat will produce these sounds in their own way, combining them in various manners. Here are 13 sounds a typical house cat can make and why they do them.
The meow is most commonly used by kittens to get the attention of the mother. Not many adult cats actually meow, they do a variation of one of the sounds below. Adult cats who do meow, do it for food, just as they did as kittens.
The purr is the most commonly vocalized sound a cat makes (at any age). They begin to purr as kittens while feeding or being bathed by their mother. This grows into an action an adult cat uses to vocalize contentment.
The trill is a mixture of a chatter and a meow in one. It is not a common sound made by cats, but if you have one that trills, consider it a special treat. Such a beautiful sound.
The growl is a sound that most feline species make while fighting or taking down prey. It is deep, raspy, and full of aggression.
The chatter varies in sound from a faint crackled whisper to a chirping like sound. Cats do this to signal they have found something and intend on catching it, or they have found something they would like to catch that is out of their reach.
The hiss is the most commonly used sound by house cats to show displeasure. They will hiss at humans, objects, and other animals to let them know they are not welcomed any closer.
The yowl sounds similar to a canine howl. It shows signs of anger or discontentment. If you approach a cat and it is yowling, it is best to leave it alone because it will attack.
The beep is a rare sound more commonly heard by kittens. It is a mixture of purring and meowing without the kitten opening its mouth. This results it what sounds like a beeping sound.
The wail is a sound a cat will use to signal fear or uneasiness. This is commonly seen it cats at the vet’s office, while being bathed, or while on a car ride.
The moan is similar to the wail but shows more anger than fear. It actually can sound like they are saying “no” while doing this.
The silent meow
The silent meow is just that, a silent meow. Not many cats do this, but it is believed to be such a high-pitched frequency sound that human ears can’t detect it. Cats with “dainty” or higher pitched voices tend to be able to do silent meows.
The spit is similar to a hiss, yet you actually will hear a “spit” sound. This is seen with a cat being approached by another cat or larger animal they are intimidated by. It is far more common to hear a feral cat do this than a house cat.
The caterwaul or shriek is a common sound cats make in times of pain or while mating (which could be one and the same). If you hear a cat make this sound, you know it is in pain of some kind.