The 7 most common cat sounds and their meanings: yowling is not a hysteria, it usually indicates pain or stress

Hangai Lilla

2023. June 3 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Before you yawn in your boredom, today we are not going to talk about meowing or purring. We have something much more exciting up our sleeve! Mysterious cat sounds that everyone has heard, but probably few know what they mean.


Let’s not waste any more time, let’s see in videos what the “ekekekekek” or yowling covers!


For us, it is one of the most beloved sounds and not only because of its meaning. It makes us feel almost as homely and lovely as purring.

It was originally used by mother cats to direct the attention of their little ones to themselves. This sound, similar to bird chirping, also works great if they want the undivided attention of their peers or if they want to arouse the owner’s interest. If your kitty is chirping, it can also mean that it is excited or happy.


This soft rumble-like sound serves as a warning similar to hissing. It suggests fear and anger and can be used against conspecifics, other animals and people. It is often combined with other  aggressive sounds and the body language of fear. It’s best to leave this kitty alone unless it’s in danger.


This strange little sound is somewhere between a purr and a meow; the cats’ mouths are closed. It is usually used when they take note of something in a calm state or when they greet another cat or a person. Cats that make this sound feel good and calm.

Howling, yowling

It’s strikingly similar to a child’s cry, which can make it seem quite funny. In most cases, however, it indicates pain, anxiety, and fear.

It was originally used between cats and usually meant “I like you, I want to mate” or “this is my territory”. It is worth paying attention to this voice, because in every case they want to tell us something serious. Let’s do everything we can to make the kitty feel safe. If you hear this sound often, you should visit the vet!


Usually, cats can talk like this when they are observing a potential prey. This is meant to imitate the sound of the prey, in order to attract them like the siren’s song the sailors. If you’ve experienced this before, and you have the impression that there is some stress mixed into this sound, you’ve got a good feeling. You can’t really hear them make this sound while actively hunting, except when they can’t touch the desired prey.


Also a sign of aggression, but in a higher range than growling. When we hear this sound, the cat’s mouth is open and the teeth are showing. It is often accompanied by hissing, and it is not uncommon for the action to degenerate into action.

It can turn into a scene suitable for a horror movie within moments, so we recommend that you do not deliberately upset the cat as in the video.

Mating song

As country girls, we know very well what it’s like when that certain howl is heard on balmy summer nights. Hormones rage more intensely in kitties in these times than in the 8th grade.

When you hear this sound, you immediately think that someone is in trouble and needs immediate help; but there is no such thing. We have already learned to enjoy it, there is something as sweet to our ears as the Für Elise. It is interesting that only the girls hear it, while the boys are tiptoeing through ditches and bushes towards the goal in order to get there in time.

What sounds does your cat make? Is there anything that you think is unique to it?

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