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What Does It Mean When A Cat Chatters

Why Is It Important To Interpret Your Cats Voice & Noises

Cats Chirping and Chattering! — CAT COMPILATION

Its important to listen, and understand your cats various noises because it will help you to help your cat when they need you. This is not just limited to meowing, other sounds, like squeaking,; may indicate they are in pain or need something urgently from you.

If you have heard various noises from your cat and tend to overlook them as, just noise, now you know the importance of taking the time to interpret them and how this can help you look after them better.

It is similar to having a baby. They cant talk so they use their sounds, and crying, as a way to communicate their feeling as emotions to get you to provide what they need.

I remember, raising our firstborn son, and he had milk allergies, but we had no idea why he was crying and not sleeping until he was much older. And, it seems these simple cries, and sounds were a sign to us to look into his diet.

Cat Language: What Are Chirrups Chatters And Caterwauls

There are other sounds that cat owners will hear their animals make on a regular basis. Chirrups, chatters, and caterwauls are just a few. Heres a look at what each of them mean.


Chirrups, or chirps, like meows, are sounds that a cat makes when they want your attention. Your pet might want to show you something, and will stop chirping when they see youre walking where they want you to go.

Kittens learn a version of chirrups known as trills. Thats the way they communicate with their mother.5 When a cat wants to say, Hi to you, theyll typically trill. Its almost like theyre trying to roll Rs thats how they sound.


Have you ever seen your Maine coon at the window with a twitching tail, making an almost tweeting like sound? Thats chattering. Your pet is probably chattering at potential prey, such as a bird. A feline is a natural hunter, of course. The chattering could be the result of a rush of adrenaline, or it could be a way to express frustration because your pet cant get to that prey.6


The name of this noise is a pretty good description of how it sounds. Say yowl out loud and youll realize your cat has probably done it in the past. Yowling can mean a lot of different things. It could be a warning to other cats encroaching on your pets territory. It might be a mating call.

In some cases, it can be a sign that your pet is lonely. Cats can get separation anxiety just like dogs do.

The Source Of Cats Chattering At Birds

While there is no definitive answer, there are several theories about the cause of a cats chattering. Its a facet of cat behaviour that scientists havent yet explained, so most of the theories are just that: only theories. But it is an interesting question to think about another curiosity of cats! Below are some of the most popular hypotheses.

  • Chattering mimics a kill or death bite: the theory goes that cats mimic the bite to the back of the neck they would usually perform when terminating prey. And that the site of a bird, rodent or other small animal is enough to drive a cat to perform a version of this action intuitively.;
  • British anthropologist Desmond Morris, suggests in his book about feline behaviour, Catwatching, that chattering is a vacuum activity. That is a behaviour that occurs when an animal is unable to perform the actual activity.;
  • Some animal behaviourists suggest that the chatter is a response to the frustration of being able to see prey but not reach it. That prey being near but untouchable is so provocative that it causes a cat to express themselves physically.
  • Similarly, another theory posits that cats experience a rush of adrenaline when they spot a bird and that this causes the cat to chatter and chirp. The chirp is an expression of excitement at seeing something cats want to chase some kitties even chatter and chirp at their toys.

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You Said It Was A Hunting Instinct

Pet parents see it every day. Their cat sits at a window staring at the birds. She looks hypnotized, her eyes staring, her tail swishing menacingly. Shes on the hunt.

Cats arent so far removed from primitive days that the wild DNA isnt still in their systems. She may have a food bowl with her favorite cat food in it, but the lure of a fat, juicy bird or mouse still gets her blood up. Shell slink into hunt mode at the drop of a tweet.

Another thing to understand about your cat is that no bird or mouse alive will believe your cat resembles a tree root, a rock, or anything else inanimate.

All your cat has at her disposal to catch her prey is sound. A cat will listen until she can get the sound just right, then;shell make her call.

The prey, a bird or mouse, will recognize the call as one coming from another like themselves. Theyll relax and keep on doing what they were doing.

Domestic cats rarely eat their catch, Garfield notwithstanding. If she does, get her to the vet immediately. Wild birds have been known to carry rabies, and mice carry all sorts of nasty diseases. The feathers are troublesome, too.

Chirping At An Inanimate Object

Cat Teeth Chattering: What Does It Mean?

Even though this is rare, you might actually catch your kitty chirping at its toys.

Feathered wands and the interactive laser-chaser games are usually the most enticing for feline furballs, regardless of their breed and age. As such, your cat may be either expressing its interest in the toy or simply wanting to play with you using a favorite toy.

Cats produce such chirping sounds whenever they are excited, provoked, or feeling particularly interested in something. It typically occurs right before a hunt or a play session, whether its with you, with other animals, or with an inanimate object.

When this happens, theres no reason to worry. But that doesnt mean you should ignore the chirping either. Dont neglect your kittys needs for social interaction.

As long as youre showing that you care, your beloved furball will cherish you for all of your efforts in its own unique way.

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Chirps Trills And Chirrups

Learned in kittenhood, these birdlike utterances are slightly more declarative than a meow. Originally used by mothers to tell kittens to pay attention and follow her, your cat may chirp in an effort to get you to pay attention to her or as a way to get you to check out something she deems important. Chirrups and squeaky little trills might also happen when a cat is excited and happy.


You might have heard your cat chatter her teeth while longingly staring out a window at a sparrow or squirrel in a tree. Sometimes accompanied by a chirp, squeak or faint cry, the chatter is thought to be an indicator of a cats predatory excitement and of her stress at not being able to get to the prize. Some claim the chatter is actually a mimicked bird or rodent call, but this is anecdotal at best as the hunting prowess of cats is dependent on silence and stealth.

Different Types Of Cat Sounds

The most commonly heard cat noise is the classic meow. Generally, this sound is used to demand attention. Kittens meow almost constantly, always in search of their mothers love, milk, or attention. In older animals, it is less often used to communicate with other animals and will more frequently be heard in the presence of humans.

Not all meows sound the same, or mean the same thing. Although your cat will have their own distinctive way of meowing, it is possible to generally categorise some of the types of meowing that are most commonly heard.

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Why Do Cats Meow

  • Asking for something. Kittens produce a long, thin, high-pitched sound to let their moms know they need their attention. Adult cats often treat humans the same way kittens treat their mothers: as a source of food, comfort, and protection. Thats why they maintain their kitten communication habits with us, and almost never meow to other felines.
  • Greeting. A short, high-pitched meow can mean a hello. The more meows in a sentence, the more excited to see you is your cat. Your cat wont stop meowing? Someone has really missed you! Once in a while, you would encounter a naturally chatty cat who keeps meowing all day long.
  • Dissatisfaction. Cats can use a longer, low-pitched meow to show their unhappiness about what we did or didnt do (forgot to play with a feather too busy working from home. Sometimes cats are meowing loudly to scold us!

What Does It Mean When A Cat Trills At You

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A cat trill usually means hello. Its generally seen as an expression of happiness. After trilling, your cat may rub his head against you or raise his back to encourage you to pet him. If your cat comes to associate his trill with getting your attention, he may start trilling to get you to pay attention to him.

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Could It Be An Attempt To Mimic Prey

A relatively new and extraordinary theory is that cats chatter in an instinctive attempt to mimic their prey. On an expedition into the Amazon rainforests of Brazil in 2005, researchers from Wildlife Conservation Society and UFAM recorded a margay, a small wild cat, mimicking the chattering calls of its prey. The margay vocalised calls to impersonate a baby pied tamarin, which attracted the primates to investigate the area around the wild cat. As they came closer to the margay, the feline attempted to catch one of the tamarins.;

People who live in the Amazon have often anecdotally recounted stories of wild cats, including jaguars and pumas, mimicking the calls of prey such as small primates and rodents. This research trip, however, was the first time scientists officially noted this behaviour in a wild cat. Mimicking the calls of an animal allows feline predators to get closer to their prey. As WCS researcher Fabio Rohe said: Cats are known for their physical agility, but this vocal manipulation of prey species indicates a psychological cunning which merits further study.;;

It could be that domestic cats have this response ingrained somehow in their behaviour, and this is what leads them to express themselves with chatters and chirps when observing birds.;

What Is There To Be Frustrated About

Think about it. If a fat, juicy steak steaming from the grill was carried by your table at a restaurant, and you knew you couldnt have it, wouldnt you be frustrated?

Theres a pane of glass between your cat and a bird or a mouse. Shes irritated and frustrated that she cant get to it.

Birds are different from mice or squirrels. They fly away at the least indication of threat. Mice, on the other hand, cant fly.

While they move pretty quickly, they can still be caught by the stalking cat. Stalking, too, is part of the hunt.

If birds are all your cat sees out the window, then shell be frustrated that she cant get to them. If the bird is close to the window for whatever reason, it will fly away if the cat leaps at the window. Enter frustration.

Also, remember that your ordinary house cat has never hunted anything. The instinct is there. When she sees an opportunity to hunt, she wants to make it happen. When she cant, shell get frustrated.

Additionally, a cats mouth open in the chattering position contains something called;Vomeronasal organs;located at the roof of the mouth behind the nose.

In effect, it helps the cat smell her prey. When the cat is chattering at the window, its as if shes saying I know youre there, but I cant smell you.

The irritation and frustration will build up inside your cat. Shell lash out when she finally realizes that she isnt going to get the bird.

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What Is Your Cat Saying When She Chatters

According to cat behaviorist, Marilyn Krieger, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant in San Francisco , although there are a couple of theories on what causes cats to chatter when theyre hunting, it appears to be an instinctual response.;

Chattering might be caused by neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, as well as the hormone cortisol/adrenaline that is released into the system, Krieger says. And while the thrill of the hunt may illicit chattering, there might be another reason your cat reacts in this way: Frustration, Krieger says. If a pane of glass separates a cat from its prey, the chattering at the window may also indicate pure frustration of not being able to readily reach the prey, she says. Some cats might chatter when simply playing. Ive seen cats chatter over a laser pointer, Krieger says.;

Are There Other Reasons A Cat Chatters

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The predatory instinct isnt the only reason cats watch birds. Your cat could be bored. Looking out the window means movement.

It means people, cars, and squirrels at which to look and chatter. She just wants to see something different, something entertaining.

Curiosity killed the cat goes the old saw. Curiosity isnt just a cats purview, though; humans and animals are all curious at times.

Your cat will watch out the window to see the baby rabbit chew a flower, or to see if the pizza delivery guy has something good in the hot bag. Shell chatter as she watches.

Have you ever noticed your cat curled up on the sofa beside you watching TV? Shell hear a bird tweet, a cat meow, or another animal making a recognizable noise, and shell suddenly tune in.

Youll notice her making the chattering sound;as she watches the cat on the TV, not realizing theres a panel of glass between her and the other cat.

When was the last time you scolded your cat? Maybe she was walking on a table and knocked off something breakable.

She might have jumped onto the kitchen counter when she wasnt supposed to. She looked at you as if you were interrupting her pleasure and chattered her head off at you. It might be a good idea to walk away.

Cats chatter when theyre playing. She might be excited at chasing the red dot, a toy held by her pet parents on a fishing line, or one of those toys that you push a button and it walks and talks.

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Cat Chattering Due To Pain

Oral conditions and dental disease are a common problem in cats however may be neglected at times since cats dont like being handled or their mouths examined. Similarly, cats are masters of disguise and will continue eating despite substantial oral pain and disease.

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Look out for signs such as excessive dribbling, pawing at the mouth, chattering of the teeth, smelly breath and eating on one side of the mouth. Other painful ailments such as digestive disorders, kidney failure and cancer can trigger teeth-chatter and must be treated by a veterinarian.

Cat Chattering At Another Cat

The hypothesis is linked to the behaviour exhibited during rearing of kittens. Initially, the queen purrs to talk with the kittens until their ear canals open, then the queen calls with a chirping noise when its feeding time. Similarly, the kittens react to their mothers calling when they stray away by returning to the queen for warmth, food and shelter.

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What If Your Cat Chatters At You

If you are playing with your cat with toys that are imitations of prey, such as toy mice, your cat may chatter at you while youre holding the toy. Its usually nothing to worry about. Just be sure to keep an eye on your furry friend and back off playtime if he looks like hes about to pounce. While your domesticated pet knows and loves you, wild instincts cant be turned off when supposed prey is around.

Why Do Cats Hiss

Cat Chatter closeup, you can hear his teeth chatter with excitement
  • Fear. A cat would hiss in the face of a real or perceived threat to them or their little kittens. It can also come as a reaction to pain caused by another animal or human. A cat hiss is a warning to scare away the enemy. If the threat is not removed, a cat will attack or flee.
  • Anger. If someone aggressively invades their territory or claims their property, they should be ready for a disapproving hiss. A cat hissing at a new cat is a common issue when your pride expands.

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Why Does My Cat Chatter At Me

A cat may chatter at you, or near you, in response to its prey. There is a theory that these cats try to emulate the sound of their prey while they do this, hence the chattering sound. If it chatters at you, it could be in response to your sneezing, commonly known as a cackle. This chattering may also sound similar to chirping, but it has a slight difference in sound.

So, now you know. But, should you prevent your cat from doing this? Can they chatter at another cat? Why do they do this when you sneeze? Keep reading for these answers, and much more

What Do Cat Meows Mean More Than You Might Imagine

You might think that a cat’s meows seem random at times. Or perhaps you might notice that your cat only meows at you when it wants something. Every cat is different in the frequency and times when they meow.

However, what all cats have in common is that the meow sound they make has genuine meaning – it’ll just take some deducing to figure out what it is.

First, you should know that those meows you hear are almost exclusively for humans. Cats seldom meow at other cats or other animals. Cats meow at humans as a way to get their attention, communicate with them, and express something. Sometimes, they even use cat body language.;

Cats will meow when they’re trying to tell you they’re hungry. They’ll meow for water. Cats will even meow to say “welcome home.” Ultimately, when your feline friend meows at you, think of it as them trying to tell you something. Pay attention and take the non-verbal cues to ascertain what they want. For example, if they’re walking around the food cans meowing, there’s a good chance they’re hungry!

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