Why Do Cats Trill?

Youre minding your own business when your kitty jumps on the table in front of you and starts trilling directly in your face. Its not a meow or a purrit sounds more demanding than that, but not exactly aggressive. You try a few head scritches, but theyre still trilling. What, exactly, does your cat want? And why do cats trill in the first place?

The Humane Society suggests that trills, as well as chirps, are used by mother cats to tell their kittens to follow them. A short list of things meowing can mean includes hello, feed me, Im bored, play with me, and Im in pain or sick.

Sometimes cats will also hiss if theyre feeling more stressed than usual, like if youve recently moved or introduced a new pet to the family. Cats can be quite chatty (especially breeds like the Maine coon and the Burmese ) and the fact that they vocalize isnt a problem.

What does it mean when cat trills?

Trilling is often used by adult cats as an expression of affection and happiness. You may find your cat also uses trilling as a way to indicate they want you to pet them. As well as a sign of affection, trilling can also be a way for your cat to attract your attention.

Why do cats chirrup?

A cat usually chirps when it sees a prey animal, such as a bird or squirrel. … Most domestic cats are well aware that they can’t jump through the window to get that bird. They can see the prey, but can’t get at it, making the chirp a noise of frustration. Or they may simply be excited and happy when they see a bird.

It happens every day. I get home and Im greeted with a rrroooowe, brrring, brupppp, brupppp! or some variation of similar noises. No, I dont have an old-fashioned telephone or my iPhone set to some nostalgic ring. This cat sound commonly known as cat trilling is coming from my small calico kitty, Merritt, as she excitedly greets me and seems to chat me up about her day.

Cats are very expressive animals. Not only do they communicate with each other, but they also communicate with humans. Through their facial expressions, bodies and vocalizations they are able to express themselves and their needs. Trilling is one of the more unusual sounds that cats make. But what exactly is it? What does it mean and why do cats do it?

As a result, kittens learn this form of communication early on and, due to their tendency to mimic sounds, will use the trilling vocalization when greeting other animals or people, or when they are seeking attention themselves. If you find that your cat persistently trills at you, they may be seeking your undivided attention , says Sara Nelms, a pet writer at Boomessays and Paperfellows .

As long as you are happy to indulge your cat, you can even spend a few minutes in conversation with them, taking turns to exchange trills. However, if your cat is older or beginning to enter old age, then you should pay closer attention, as their trilling may be an indication of something more serious. If youre not sure whether or not to be concerned, take your cat to the vet, suggests Paul Martinez, a veterinarian at Thesis Writing and Stateofwriting .

Its among the cuter sounds a cat makes an extended rrrowe, rising in pitch towards the end like a question and tinged with vibrato. You may hear it when you arrive home and your cat rushes over to greet you, or when it jumps up on your bed for a sleepy snuggle. Some cats seem to make the noise at random times for no reason other than because they feel like it.

The distinctive warble that comprises the first part of the trill may sound like a higher pitched purr, but its actually made by rapidly vibrating the tongue, similar to how Spanish speakers roll their rs. There are many ways that cats greet others, from hissing and yowling at unwelcome guests to demanding meows when you get home past feeding time.

Usually this destination is the food bowl, but it can also be other things, particularly if the cat and human are deeply bonded and familiar with each other. MENTAL & PHYSICAL STIMULATION: Cats need… RELIEVES STRESS, ANXIETY & BOREDOM: Play… Kittens practice their trilling on their brothers and sisters; that familial bond carries with it an instant closeness and trust, so siblings make appropriate recipients of these friendly little chirps.

Owners of multiple cats who are bonded with each other may observe them sitting next to each other trilling gently back and forth. These trill-filled conversations havent been translated (weve yet to develop a complete understanding of cat language) but they dont appear to be related to greetings or commands to follow. Trilling is almost always a sign of happiness and good health, but there are some circumstances where it may be cause for concern, especially in older cats.

A cat that begins trilling louder than usual may be developing hearing loss, particularly if it also seems less responsive to other sounds. Cats with hearing loss make louder noises because theyre unable to tell how loud theyre being it sounds normal to them even if its ear-splitting to those around them. If your cat begins trilling for seemingly no reason and exhibits other symptoms such as confusion or excessive sleeping, consult a vet.

What do trills sound like?

Trilling sounds like the mix between a meow and a purr. The human equivalent would require pressing air through your flattened lips, like blowing a raspberry, while also humming a tune. Many have described it as a rolling R sound. I think it sounds a bit like a pigeon. Better yet, hear it for yourself with these cats:

Why Do Cats Trill?

Honestly, we wish we could know for sure! We’re still waiting on the mind-meld technology so we can understand everything our cat is trying to tell us (including why they dragged a mouse carcass to the door.) Seeing as we don’t speak cat, it’s hard to know for sure, but there are some educated guesses.

1. They want you to come along

The Humane Society suggests that trills, as well as chirps, are used by mother cats to tell their kittens to follow them. If your cat is trilling at you, there’s a good chance they’re requesting the same—follow me!

2. They’re just saying hello

Shelly Zacharias, DVM, told PopSugar that trills can just be a greeting. If you notice that your kitty starts rolling her Rs when you get home or when you enter a room, there’s a good chance she’s showing off her kitty manners and saying hi. Interestingly, cats trill to greet each other regularly, according to PetMD, but usually meow at humans only—the meow isn’t something they use with other cats.

3. It’s a demand for attention

Cat trilling paired with body language may be able to reveal more. For example, if your cat is headbutting you and trilling while you’re trying to read or watch TV, their message has likely turned from “follow me!” into “hey, pay attention!” as cat owner Cait Rohan Kelly describes for Catster.

Cats Have Many sounds

Any cat owner will tell you there’s more than meows and trills to cats. Here are just a few of the common sounds cats make:

Why do cats trill?

I had a hunch that cat trilling was a positive sound. Not only does Merritt trill when I get home, she trills when she sees or hears her treat bag or food. To be sure, I confirmed with Dr. Sasha Gibbons of Just Cats Veterinary Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut. “Trilling is a high-pitched, chirp-like noise made by cats as a greeting to people or other cats. It is associated with a positive, welcoming vibe,” she says.

First Words: The Origins of Trilling

When cats purr, the sound comes from deep within them, originating mostly from the voice box in the larynx. This causes the low pitch and deep thrum of the purr, similar to when humans speak in low voices.A trill, on the other hand, is formed mainly in the mouth. The distinctive warble that comprises the first part of the trill may sound like a higher pitched purr, but it’s actually made by rapidly vibrating the tongue, similar to how Spanish speakers roll their “r”s. The final part of the trill sounds like the end of a meow but with a raised inflection, which makes it sound like a question or a “valley girl” accent.

Start Them Young

Nobody knows kittens like a mother cat – she’s a master commander and knows exactly how to get her kittens’ attention. Sounds are very important for comfort and maternal bonding. Kittens learn their mother’s voice from the sounds she makes, so it’s crucial for her to vocalize to them often.Kittens like calm noises and they respond especially well to the firm but gentle sound of trilling. Cat purrs have a calming effect on everyone (even humans) and a trill, which sounds like a hybrid between a purr and a meow, is the perfect combination of soothing and attention-grabbing. When it’s time to get going, a simple series of trills and chirps is usually enough to round up all the kittens and let them know to follow her.

Definition, Please: Interpreting the Trill

Like most animals, kittens learn by mimicking their parents. Though they start out with tiny mews and squeaks, before long they begin to copy the noises their mother makes, starting with trills. What originates as a vocal exercise soon becomes a favored way of communication, and the kittens learn to trill as a way of saying hello and as a simple, playful acknowledgment of each other.

Welcome Home

The most common use of the trill is as a greeting. Cats learn this usage when their mothers trill to them as kittens, and it carries over into their adult lives. Because of this strong association with their loving, caring mothers, cats use the trill as their friendliest greeting.There are many ways that cats greet others, from hissing and yowling at unwelcome guests to demanding meows when you get home past feeding time. A trill, however, is a noise of positivity and happiness, one of the warmest welcomes a cat can provide. The recipient of a trill, whether human, cat or other animal, should consider the cat a friend, because that’s how the cat sees them.

Words Between Friends

Cats learn the other meaning of the trill from their mothers as well: a gentle command to follow. They were taught from kittenhood that when they hear a trill, it’s time to get up and follow the trill-maker. When they become adults, they figure out a new application for this knowledge, one that puts them in charge for a change.Many a cat owner has observed this: the cat approaches the human, trills, turns and walks a few feet away. Then it turns around to see if the human is following; if not, it trills again, trying to garner attention. Once the human does get up, the cat leads the way towards the destination, something the cat considers to be of utmost importance.Usually this destination is the food bowl, but it can also be other things, particularly if the cat and human are deeply bonded and familiar with each other. It may lead the person to a window through which something interesting is visible outside – perhaps another cat, a bird or a squirrel.The cat may also head towards a favorite toy to indicate that it’s playtime. The act of leading you around might even constitute playtime in and of itself, especially if the pace picks up and it turns into a chase. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a nice game of tag?

A Warning Sign: Can Trilling Be Bad?

Trilling is almost always a sign of happiness and good health, but there are some circumstances where it may be cause for concern, especially in older cats.A cat that begins trilling louder than usual may be developing hearing loss, particularly if it also seems less responsive to other sounds. Cats with hearing loss make louder noises because they’re unable to tell how loud they’re being – it sounds normal to them even if it’s ear-splitting to those around them. If you suspect your cat has hearing loss, a visit to the vet is in order.Senior cats may trill at inappropriate or random moments as a result of dementia. If your cat begins trilling for seemingly no reason and exhibits other symptoms such as confusion or excessive sleeping, consult a vet. The progress of dementia can be slowed if caught and treated early.Product data was last updated on 2021-08-29.