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Kitten Sounds And Their Meaning

From the classic “meow” to a wide range of purrs and yowls, your little kitten uses her natural voice to make a huge variety of sounds – more than most other animals, in fact.


How do Kittens express themselves through sounds?

Have you ever wondered what does kitten meowing mean? Unlike dogs, cats usually lack the ability to express themselves through varied expressions. By nature, cats are usually quieter, making their behaviours quite challenging to interpret.

Cats and kittens are extremely vocal creatures, meaning they prefer communicating themselves through sounds, usually through variations in tone and vocalizations. If you have been a cat parent for a long time, you are likely to develop some understanding of what your little furball is trying to say through its sounds. 

So, by paying close attention to the subtle changes in the kitten sounds they make, you can interpret your kitten better than ever, and grow a deeper bond with your furry munchkin.

Types of sounds a kitten can make

Kittens usually are able to express themselves through variations in their tone and vocalization. Of these, the following are the most common types of sounds a kitten can make:

  1. Long meow

    Did you know that cats meow mostly as a form of communication with humans? A long, drawn-out kitten meowing usually is understood as a call for attention. Your furry friend is excited, and they want you to share the experience with you. It can also indicate that your little munchkin needs something, like food. High-pitched meows can however be interpreted as a sign of being upset.

  2. Short meow

    A short meow is probably the most common sound made by kittens, and is mostly a sign of greeting, or your kitten’s way of saying hello! Short kitten meowing might not always mean anything in particular, but that your feline friend is glad to see you, and wants some well-deserved cuddles and strokes. Kitten meowing sounds are generally signs that your kitten is secure and happy.

  3. Chirrup

    Cats, especially mother cats often use chirping sounds and trills as a gesture toward their kittens for following them. If your kitten is mimicking the chirping sound around you, it can actually mean that your kitten wants you to follow it. Adult cats too use chirrups to indicate they want to be followed, usually to their food bowl. Chirping kitten sounds are pretty common in cats as a way of conversing with each other.

  4. Purr

    What does kitten purring mean? Cats and kitten purring is usually out of delight and contentment. Kitten purring is common, and it usually indicates a happy mood, or while enjoying a meal. However, kittens often purr to calm or comfort themselves during sickness, anxiety or distress, so keeping an eye out for whether your kitten is showing signs of anxiety can help you understand any underlying issue they might be facing. 

  5. Yowl

    A yowl caused by a kitten can sound like loud, drawn-out meows, but is usually suggestive of your kitten being in considerable distress. Kittens often yowl when they are stuck somewhere and need your help urgently, or they are experiencing physical distress which might require professional attention. As the cat grows older, a yowl can however be considered as a part of its mating behaviour.

  6. Crying

    A kitten crying usually indicates that it is looking for something, or calling out to its mother or other kittens. However, a kitten crying for longer periods can also mean underlying health concerns that are putting your furry friend in significant distress. Paying close attention to your kitten's crying can help you identify major health problems and make sure it gets the appropriate medical attention in time.

In addition to these kitten sounds, a kitten can produce other sounds, such as growling and hissing, which might mean your little munchkin is upset and wants to be left alone.

How to calm a crying kitten?

If kittens crying for long periods ca be heard, it can mean it is experiencing significant distress, or is upset, and needs to be comforted and calmed down. You can calm your kittens crying with the following easy steps:

  • You can try holding your kitten. Kittens usually feel secure and comforted when held and stroked. Stroking is immensely beneficial as it simulates the feeling of a mother cat grooming her kitten, and helping it to socialize. You can use both hands to gently pick up and hold your little furball. You can also allow it to snuggle into your arms, as it generates a sense of security which can be helpful in calming a crying kitten.
  • Stroking a crying kitten gently can help it calm down and stop crying eventually. You can stroke them gently on their head, back, and under their chin. Stroking also helps you to foster a deeper bond with your kitten. Talking to it gently, and in a calm, soft voice can also be helpful in distracting it. In addition, giving them their favourite treats or toys can also prove effective in calming a crying kitten.

How to communicate with your kitten?

Kittens are social creatures that can easily develop a bond with their favourite human through active communication. You can communicate with your kitten by closely observing its body language. 

Kittens can express a lot through nonverbal modes of communication, such as the movement of their tail and ears. Looking into your kitten’s eyes can also be a great way of interacting with them - slow blinking, long gazes, and dilated pupils are signs that your cat is trusting of you and is affectionate towards you. Other forms of nonverbal communication can include your kitten rubbing against you, touching you with its wet nose, playfully head-butting you, kneading or grooming you. You can also communicate with your kitten by speaking in a gentle, calm tone. 

In addition, nonverbal communication can go a long way in interacting with your kitten. Some of the common ways of nonverbally communicating with your kitten can include:

  • Looking into your kitten’s eyes and slow blinks.
  • Gentle hand gestures such as pats. You can also invite your cat to join you for a cuddle by gently patting a space next to you.
  • Avoid yelling at your kitten.

Do you need to call the vet?

Regular appointments with your veterinarian are important for making sure your kitten is free from the risks of any underlying health concerns. Though kitten’s crying might not always mean they require medical attention, understanding the symptoms will help you to identify urgencies. You can look for the following signs to make sure whether you need to call the vet:

  • Look for signs that indicate obvious distress. Howling, crying, and hiding for long periods can indicate significant distress which needs to be checked out. You can also observe closely for behaviours that seem out of character for your kitten.
  • Check your kitten’s litter box to make sure it doesn’t require immediate attention from a professional. Urinating outside the litter box and diarrhoea can imply health concerns which might require treatment.
  • You should look out for other symptoms that can help you identify whether your kitten needs a visit from the veterinarian. Excessive vomiting, fatigue, and changes in appetite and breathing can require healthcare professionals.

Kitten sounds FAQs


What do different kitten noises mean?

Kittens are social creatures which often use kitten sounds to interact with other cats, as well as their owners. Depending on the type of sound produced, its vocalization and tone, kittens can mean several things. Paying close attention to these noises can help you understand your kitten better and interpret what it is trying to communicate. 

Why is my kitten making weird noises?

If your kitten keeps meowing or making weird kitten sounds like yowls for longer periods of time, it is usually indicative that your kitten is upset with something, or is experiencing distress and anxiety. You can help your kitten to calm down by gently holding it, stroking its head and under the chin, as well as by providing it with its favourite treats and toys.

Why do kittens chirrup?

Chirrups, or chirping sounds are commonly made by cats and kittens alike. Mother cats often use chirping sounds or trills to gesture their kittens to follow her. By imitating the chirping kitten sound, your kitten might want you to accompany or follow it.

Why is my kitten meowing at night?

Most cats are nocturnal in nature, meaning they are more active at night. Though most domestic cats grow acquainted with the timing followed by their owners, some cats show natural tendencies of being more active during the night. Kitten meowing is a common practice for cats of all ages. However, if your kitten meowing is particularly at night, it might mean your little furball is feeling bored, and wants to go out. Similarly, if your kitten keeps meowing at night, it might be distressed for some reason. 

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