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As a cat owner, you will be interested to know that your pet’s many sounds aren’t just random nonsense. For felines, these sounds are a vital form of communication that helps them convey a range of emotions.

Have you ever wondered, ‘What is that supposed to mean?’ Well, today we’re looking at 10 common sounds that house cats make and what they might be trying to communicate when they make them:

1) The standard meow

Every cat owner knows this one. What they may not know is that these meows are made exclusively for them. In the wild, kittens grow out of meowing after they no longer need to communicate with their mothers. As surrogate parents, we get the same sort of attention even into our cat’s adulthood. These meows are meant to express desire to us, letting us know that it’s fine to come closer in order to be with them or to give up a piece of food.

2) A relaxed purr

Another common sound to cat owners, this purr represents contentment and happiness. No one is exactly sure how cats are able to purr outside of the fact that it takes place in their throat. Every time you hear this sound, just remember that your cat baffles even modern science!

3) Clacking teeth

This sound is made more rarely, but ‘clacking,’ as it’s sometimes called, is the sound a cat makes when it’s on the hunt. When you hear this sound, your cat is ready to capture its prey.

4) A dangerous hiss

Everyone knows the sound of a cat hissing. This is the sound of a cat ready to hit back. Whether the cat also spits or not, it’s still time to assess what might be happening around the animal to cause it to fear for its safety.

5) A follow-up snarl

Instead of hissing, or alongside it, you may also hear snarling. Like the hiss, this sound is meant to display aggression; it allows your cat to show rival felines that they mean business.

6) Friendly trills

Many cats express an excited state around their owners by ‘trilling,’ a form of meowing that is lighter, but more distinct than a single meow. Your cat is likely just making sure that you’ve seen them, prompting you to give them the attention they need.

7) A sultry caterwaul

This sound is made by females who are ready to mate. Attempting to draw in a male cat, the female makes a hollow moan to indicate she’s at her prime to have kittens. During this time, she’ll do almost anything she can to get to those lurking male cats. 

8) The upsetting yowl

When your cat is worried, upset, dislikes something or is just plain bored, it may give off a yowl. This long, pleading moan indicates something is amiss for your feline friend. While often it may merely be in need of some playful time, if it continues without end consider taking your cat to the vet to ensure it is not unwell.

9) A shriek

This sound is typically only reserved for mating and is made by the female. After the male cat is finished, the female will often evoke a loud shrieking sound.

10) The silent meow

Finally, there’s the silent meow. More reserved cats might make an almost indistinguishably soft meow that is considered ‘silent’. This is a shy cat’s way of indicating that it likes you. As this is a rare type of meow, consider yourself fortunate to be so loved.