Why Do Cats Growl?

Our kitties are creatures full of mystery. One moment youll see your furbaby kneading your stomach, head butting or rubbing up against you, and the next, they act as if they dont know who you are.

A cat who growls, spits, or hisses indicates a clear sign they are agitated, angry, or afraid of something. Growling is a raspy, harsh, guttural sound that your sweet kitty produces for various reasons.

As the cat slowly exhales, air escapes causing the vocal folds to vibrate. Cats have different senses to humans, so when you see your adorable kitty hissing into thin air, it may not be a ghost they are seeing. Bristled fur, ear movements, tail position, teeth, etc., are just some of the warning signals your pet is trying to say, back off now.

Some cats often growl and use caution flags to protect their territory from other animals on the other side of the windowsill perch . When your cat behaves offensively, they are essentially attempting to look like the tough guy to intimidate or threaten. When your cat is growling, it might be that they want to express dominance caused by the inborn territorial sense they have.

If you introduce your kitty to a new pet in the same room, you can expect to hear a bit of growling and hissing. This may sound a bit strange as their days consist of tasty treats , cuddles, and naps on their lovely soft cat pillows . If your cat battles with stress, you should assess their environment to determine what triggers anxiety in your kitty, such as noise.

When your cat feels angry or aggressive, they will often pull their ears back, their pupils will constrict, and their fur stands on end. If your cat continuously snarls and their expression changes, its best to somewhat back away and give them time to cool off, rather than try to pet them . Theres a lot to learn and interpret from your kitties vast vocabulary of chirps, meows, purrs, and growls.

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What does a low growl from a cat mean?

Growling is another sound cats make when they are angry or want to scare off a potential threat. Kittens, as well as older cats, may growl when cornered. They’ll hunch their body and puff out their tail and the rest of their fur. A low-pitched growl is usually a warning, telling the threat it needs to back off.

Is it normal for cats to growl?

Cats have various vocalizations that they use to communicate, and growling or hissing is a common way in which cats express themselves. … A cat who growls, spits, or hisses indicates a clear sign they are agitated, angry, or afraid of something.

What to do if your cat growls at you?

Give him space. Do not try to hold your cat or comfort him..Let your cat feel secure. Do not stare at him. ….Give your cat time. Cats may take hours to calm down, not minutes..When he is calm, coax your cat out with food and/or catnip.

As cat owners know, cats can make all kinds of sounds. There are so many different emotions and body languages that go unseen in feline behavior. It can be pretty frustrating dealing with an aggressive cat, but Village Vet of Urbana can help you differentiate the various reasons your cat is upset.

If you pay close attention to your cats body language, you will notice some warning signs, including growling, ear movement, bristled fur, tail position, etc. Cats give warnings like these to let their owner know they dont want to be approached any further.

If your cat gets especially spooked, growling could be one way to make themselves bigger and more menacing not out of anger, but out of fear.

Felines are curious, puzzling and often quite misunderstood creatures. Strangely enough, sometimes it seems as though theyre coming from a completely different planet than ours.

After all, cats are excellent predators and can leave some pretty nasty bite marks which could and will scar you for weeks! Growling is a raspy, guttural sound that kitties produce on several occasions.

This type of vocalization might seem unnatural if the kitty is growling at an inanimate object or a person for no apparent reason. If you take a closer look at your pets body language, youll see some warning signs. Ear movement, bristled fur, tail position , etc., are just some of the treacherous signs.

Growling as a warning is usually accompanied by a specific body position and bristled fur/ tail. As a way of making themselves bigger and more menacing, kitties bristle up their fur and produce wild sounds. If this is a persisting issue with your cat, you might want to opt for an animal behaviorist or trainers services.

Similar to the way they would meow or cry out of pain, a physical injury might make them growl. Injuries or diseases like arthritis and urinary tract infection can lead to growling.

Cats have a few signature sounds: meows, purrs, and hisses. Cats can also create another vicious sound: growling. When cats growl, it sounds very similar to a dog growl, but sometimes cat growls escalate into a hiss.

An angry or aggressive stance will look like dilated eyes, ears up, and an arched back. However, a scared cat will have normal eyes, ears back, and tail under her.

Possessive aggression growling happens when your cat doesnt like that you give another pet or person the attention he alone deserves from you. If your cat is growling while she is alone and not displaying aggressive or fearful body language, she might be suffering from physical pain. Some cats growl when they have internal pain you may not be able to see, like a urinary tract infection or aching teeth.

A cat might growl when your vet is checking out his teeth during his checkup, getting his nails clipped, or while hes getting his temperature taken. A verbal or physical punishment to a growling cat will just add fuel to the fire. A cat thats scared of another animal, object or person should be gradually exposed over a period of time and get rewards for staying calm.

The vet will check for possible pain points or run through behavioral troubleshooting with you to help you come to some solution.

7 Reasons That Cause Cats to Growl

Cats have different senses to humans, so when you see your adorable kitty hissing into thin air, it may not be a ghost they are seeing. Even though your cat seems to be merely staring into thin air, there are things that our human senses cannot pick up. It can also be a clear warning to ‘step back.’Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of why cats growl.

1. They’re Warning You to Back Off

As with many pets, you’ll notice their body language when they are trying to give you a warning sign. Bristled fur, ear movements, tail position, teeth, etc., are just some of the warning signals your pet is trying to say, ‘back off now.’Growling, accompanied by their body language, such as bristled fur, is a sure warning sign. Some cats often growl and use caution flags to protect their territory from other animals on the other side of the windowsill perch.Others may growl to warn off their owners because they want personal space.When your cat behaves offensively, they are essentially attempting to look like the ‘tough guy’ to intimidate or threaten. Suppose your kitty is growling at you; it’s a sign for you to scram and get out of their way. In this case, don’t try to touch or stare at them — instead, leave the scene.

2. Your Kitty is Feeling Afraid

Not all growls are signals of aggression or for territorial reasons. Cats can get scared and start to growl out of fear. Our felines may bristle up their fur, tail erect or low, back arched, whiskers back, and produce scary wild sounds out of fear.Kitties are also fearful of unfamiliar environments, people, or other pets. If she’s afraid of a person or other pet, you should provide a space for them to escape. If she feels trapped, she’ll likely retaliate.If your cat thinks something or someone poses a threat, it could be growling out of despair. In that case, try to calm your kitty down. It could also be a way of warning you of the possible danger they perceive to be nearby.

3. They’re Showing Dominance

When your cat is growling, it might be that they want to express dominance caused by the inborn territorial sense they have.If you introduce your kitty to a new pet in the same room, you can expect to hear a bit of growling and hissing. This can because your cat feels a bit awkward with a new pet being in her territory.⇒ Thinking about getting your favourite feline a new collar? Check out my posts on

4. Felines are Possessive Creatures

Felines are inherently possessive creatures. If you take something that’s theirs, they’ll likely growl or hiss at you.For example, adult mother cats are protective of their kittens. If they feel something is threatening their babies, they’re likely to growl at you to warn you to back away from their kittens.Growling can also come over food or objects like their favorite cat toy. This often indicates protectiveness over their possessions.⇒ Getting a new kitty? Check out my guide to

5. They Could Be in Pain

Cats can growl when they feel physical pain, similar to how they would meow or cry out of pain.Injury, diseases, or other physical ailments like arthritis, dental disease, or urinary tract infections can lead to your feline friend growling. It typically occurs when someone is trying to touch your kitty where it hurts.If growling is unusual for your cat or the growling persists, you should get a veterinarian to evaluate their health.

6. Your Kitty is Feeling Stressed

Believe it or not, but cats stress. This may sound a bit strange as their days consist of tasty treats, cuddles, and naps on their lovely soft cat pillows. What do they have to stress about?Felines can stress or panic from an array of circumstances. They can stress out when they’re afraid, in pain, or even lost. If your cat battles with stress, you should assess their environment to determine what triggers anxiety in your kitty, such as noise.Respectively, each cat responds to situations differently. You should observe your cat’s behavior and ensure that they are in a comfortable environment.

7. They’re Feeling Angry or Annoyed

The worst type of cat is an angry one. Vengeful, unpredictable, and agitated — who knows what damage your feline can do when they’re in this mood? Cats growl at objects, animals, and even people when they are irritated.When your cat feels angry or aggressive, they will often pull their ears back, their pupils will constrict, and their fur stands on end. Growling can be a sign that may lead to an actual physical attack on the perpetrator — if they do not back down.If you notice your kitty growling, don’t be surprised if she hisses and spits too.If your cat continuously snarls and their expression changes, it’s best to somewhat back away and give them time to cool off, rather than try to pet them. If they go from moderately annoyed to full-time-bare-teeth raging, leave the room and give them space.⇒ An entertained cat is a happy cat. Check out my posts on

Reasons Cats Growl

As cat owners know, cats can make all kinds of sounds. There are so many different emotions and body languages that go unseen in feline behavior. It can be pretty frustrating dealing with an aggressive cat, but Village Vet of Urbana can help you differentiate the various reasons your cat is upset.

1. Cats growl as a warning

If you pay close attention to your cat’s body language, you will notice some warning signs, including growling, ear movement, bristled fur, tail position, etc.Cats give warnings like these to let their owner know they don’t want to be approached any further. Another reason for warning is because they are protecting their territory and personal space.

2. Cats growl out of fear

Not all growls are out of aggression or territorial behavior. Another reason cats growl is due to fear. Cats get scared by almost anything. If your cat gets especially spooked, growling could be one way to make themselves bigger and more menacing – not out of anger, but out of fear.

3. Cats growl when angered or annoyed

The worst reason for a cat to growl is when they are angered or annoyed. This is when your cat can be the most unpredictable. In this circumstance, it is best to just back away and give the cat space.

4. Cats growl to signal dominance

Another reason your cat may be growling at you is to assert dominance. Cats are very proud animals, and they are very territorial.

5. Cats growl when in physical pain

Similar to the way cats meow or cry in pain, a physical injury could cause your cat to growl. If your cat appears hurt, make sure to call your local vet, Village Vet of Urbana, for medical assistance.

Why is your cat growling?

Cats don’t growl because they’re grumpy in general or because they’re trying to punish their owners. Here are the most common causes of growling.

1. Cats Growl As A Warning

If you take a closer look at your pet’s body language, you’ll see some warning signs. Ear movement, bristled fur, tail position, etc., are just some of the treacherous signs.Growling as a warning is usually accompanied by a specific body position and bristled fur/ tail. The eyes are focused and the cat’s entire body is alert.Kitties give warnings like these when they don’t want to be approached any further.Sometimes they’re protecting their territory from some harmless animal on the other side of the window. At other times, they’re trying to warn off their owners because they want their personal space.

2. Cats Growl Out Of Fear

Not all warnings are derived from your cat’s aggression or territorial behavior. Cats can get scared by almost anything. The growling can be derived simply from fear.As a way of making themselves bigger and more menacing, kitties bristle up their fur and produce wild sounds.If your furball thinks someone or something poses any type of threat, it could be growling out of fear. And if that’s the case, you can try different techniques to help.Check out my article on how to calm down a cat for strategies.

4. Cats Growl To Signal Dominance

When your pet is upset by something or someone, they might want to show dominance. That’s caused mainly by the inborn territorial sense of felines.If this is a persisting issue with your cat, you might want to opt for an animal behaviorist or trainer’s services.

5. Cats Growl When In Physical pain

Yes, cats can indeed growl out of pain. Similar to the way they would meow or cry out of pain, a physical injury might make them growl.Injuries or diseases like arthritis and urinary tract infection can lead to growling. This type of growling typically occurs when someone is trying to approach or touch your kitty.However, you may also hear a growling or howling-like sound if your pet’s symptoms are worsening.

It’s a Warning Sign

If cat behavior, in general, is unfamiliar for you, or you’ve never been around a growling cat before, you might not understand why cats growl. Cats growl at other cats, people, objects, or when they are alone. A cat making a growling sound can be alarming, and it should be. Cats growl for many different reasons, but they all usually mean one thing: back off!

Pay Attention to Body Language

Your cat can tell you how she feels with not only her sounds but by her posture as well. It’s important to note how your cat looks when she is growling. An angry or aggressive stance will look like dilated eyes, ears up, and an arched back. However, a scared cat will have normal eyes, ears back, and tail under her.Though you should not immediately go to your growling cat, you can run through a few of these different reasons why cats growl and see if any apply to your cat’s situation. Then, when you know the reason, you can better calm or comfort her to potentially stop the growling.

1. Anger

Anger might be the most obvious reason a cat growls. Frustrated and angry cats can show their emotions through growling. When your cat doesn’t want to be put in his crate, he could respond with growling. He might growl at you if you try to touch or move him when he doesn’t want to be moved.

2. Aggression

Aggression and anger are closely related, but it’s worth talking about aggression separately since there are many reasons cats get aggressive.Two main ways cats may give you or another cat a growl could be due to non-recognition aggression and possessive aggression (or dominance aggression). Non-recognition aggression happens when a cat previously was familiar with a person or other animal, but since they have been gone for a while, the cat no longer recognizes the leaving party.Possessive aggression growling happens when your cat doesn’t like that you give another pet or person the attention he alone deserves from you. Your cat can also display their dominance with aggressive growling at another offending party.

3. Fear

Cats don’t always growl from a defensive stance. Sometimes, cats will growl to convey that they are confused or scared. This can happen when a foreign object or person enters your home that has never been there before. A growling cat in this situation isn’t sure what to make of the new thing, so she growls.

4. Pain

If your cat is growling while she is alone and not displaying aggressive or fearful body language, she might be suffering from physical pain. Some cats growl when they have internal pain you may not be able to see, like a urinary tract infection or aching teeth. Your cat might make the pain known to you through growling.

5. Mild Annoyance

Sometimes, cats who growl often are just communicating that they don’t like something that’s going on. A cat might growl when your vet is checking out his teeth during his checkup, getting his nails clipped, or while he’s getting his temperature taken.Some cats will be more easily annoyed by things than others. A lot of this will depend on the personality and their past. Cats with a less-than-ideal kittyhood might growl a lot more often than cats who grew up with good care.One cat owner discovered her cat growled every time the owner was interrupted from petting or scratching the cat!

How to Respond to Cat Growling

Take note of your cat’s stance. Does she look like she could attack right now, or is she super scared? Either way, you probably shouldn’t try to console your cat with physical touch. A growl might lead to an attack and injury for you.A verbal or physical punishment to a growling cat will just add fuel to the fire. This is not the right time for reprimanding. It’s best to leave your cat alone for now.The best thing to do for your distressed cat, whatever the reason, is to try to pinpoint the reason for his distress. A cat that’s possessive of attention should be praised when he is not showing aggression. A cat that’s scared of another animal, object or person should be gradually exposed over a period of time and get rewards for staying calm.