Cats communicate in the most charming ways. Whether they are making cat sounds like meowing, purring, hissing or yowling, cats express themselves in a most unique manner. Cats really do have quite a large vocabulary. Have you ever wondered what your kitty was trying to tell you? Are they letting you know that they love you, or something completely different? Let’s take a look at the different vocalizations that cats express throughout their lives, and their interpretations from Modern Cat Magazine.


The most well-known of all the cat sounds is the meow. Cats meow in order to communicate exclusively with humans, not with other cats. As little kittens, cats first begin meowing to let their mothers know they need them.

A meow can mean many different things. No one can know the meaning of every meow. However, if you are really tuned in to your feline friend, you may begin to notice a pattern that will help you understand your kitty’s needs. Usually when a cat meows, it wants something. If a cat is meowing over and over, it is his way of saying “Pay attention to me, I am talking!”

Most commonly it is seeking attention, food or access to a room. Sometimes, cats just meow to welcome their owner’s home. However, at times cats may meow to express their loneliness or let you know they aren’t feeling well. If the cat’s meow is long and drawn out, she may feel worried, annoyed or have an objection to something.


Most everyone equates the sound of a cat purring with something good. Perhaps the most enjoyable of all the cat sounds, purring is a gentle, deep, throaty sound that cats usually make when they are in a good mood. If your cat is being petted gently while she is in your lap, she is likely to be purring.

Rarely, cats will purr when they are agitated about something. To tell if this is why your cat is purring, look at her body posture. If you see that the cat’s ears are back and her body appears tense, she may be concerned about something.


There is no mistaking what a cat’s hiss is all about. If your cat is hissing, she feels threatened and is ready to fight. The sound is usually accompanied by an arched back, puffed up hair, twitchy tail, flattened out ears and an open mouth. Her fangs are often ready to strike and she may spit. If your cat is hissing, it is time to back off.

You may find that some friendly cats hardly ever hiss, while shy and reserved cats will hiss whenever they feel leery of a situation. A feral cat, or one that has been abused is more likely to hiss than a sociable domestic cat. Cats may hiss when they feel their space has been invaded or when they are startled or upset.


Unlike the friendly sound of a meow, a yowl sounds more like a long, drawn-out moan. Yowling generally indicates worry, discomfort, territorial concern or mating issues. Cats generally yowl to communicate with other cats. Your cat may be saying, “mate with me” or the opposite, “stay away from my territory.”

Cats may also yowl when they aren’t feeling well, or when there is a new cat on the block. Cats who are in new homes may yowl because they miss their old home. Some cats will yowl simply because they are bored. However, if your cat yowls incessantly, take him or her to the veterinarian to rule out any possible illnesses.


Perhaps you have heard your cat chattering away while she intently watches a bird in the tree from her perch near a window. It is thought that cats make this noise because they are excited about seeing the creature, while at the same time expressing their frustration about not being able to get to it.

Do you love talkative kitties? According to Pet 360, the 5 most talkative cat breeds are as follows:

  1. Siamese
  2. Peterbald
  3. Sphynx
  4. LaPerm
  5. Cornish Rex

Can you tell what your feline friend is trying to tell you?