Explaining the Angry Sounds That Cats Make

Renowned cat expert Jackson Galaxy explained the various angry sounds that domestic cats make and the reasoning behind each of these expressions.

The cat verbal vocabulary is *vast*! Herein lies the part of that vastness that pertains to all things angry.

He talks about how cats are defensive rather than offensive animals and how many angry cat sounds actually overlap with fear.

Of course, in cat, it’s never that clearcut – fear intersects with anger and other emotions quite often…

The sounds he describes are the hiss (the first line of defense), growl (cautionary warning), spit (leave me alone), howl (fearful, last “words”), snarl (impending threat response), scream (sound of fighting), and caterwaul (mating call).

All of these vocalizations can overlap, can come in different orders, can come out of context completely. Based on a cat’s early life experience and their experience with cats along the way, that dialect changes. …Pay attention to these things because again it’s not just angry; it’s angry, it’s scared, it’s surprised, it’s confused. There’s a lot of things rolled into this ball that we call angry cat sounds.

Here’s a more comprehensive video about cat vocalizations.

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