The Cat Chat Dictionary

Decipher the meanings behind your cat?s different vocalizations.

By Erika Sorocco

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Purring, meowing, growling, chirping, chattering: Each of these sounds has a significant meaning your cat wants to convey. Sometimes it's hard to figure out what it's trying to say, but armed with the following information, you can decipher your cat's vocalizations and pick up some tips to react appropriately to its distinct sounds.

You may be tempted to pet your cat when it makes a cute chattering sound, but the noise usually means the cat's getting ready to attack its prey. “When a cat chatters, he's showing excitement and/or frustration,” says Jessica M. Stern, a veterinarian at Cats Only Veterinary Clinic in Columbus, Ohio. “You will often hear chattering when cats are hunting or stalking prey. It is thought that cats may do this to ‘calm' their prey into a false sense of security, so that the cat can approach its prey more closely before striking.”

**For the full article, pick up the March 2007 issue of CAT FANCY.**

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Reader Comments

Erica    North Ridgeville, OH

5/20/2011 9:25:15 AM

My new siamese kitten was doing this when we were playing with a feather wand toy. It was adorable. I thought he was trying to mimic bird sounds. I found it amazing that a little kitten knows how to do this.

Daniele    West Union, OH

6/14/2007 4:17:03 AM

The first time I heard my cat chatter, I was confused. I wasn't sure what she was doing, because although I have owned cats my entire life, I had never heard one do this. This article was just what I needed to read to make myself aware of what my cat was doing. Thanks for the article.

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