How Many Sounds Does a Cat Make?

A cat can make about 100 different sounds. By comparison, a dog makes about 10 sounds. The majority of sounds cats make are actually made to communicate with humans, not other cats. Some researchers believe that domesticated cats developed their extensive number of sounds and combined them with body language so that they could make sure that their owners serve their needs. Common sounds cats make to communicate with humans include meowing, purring, growling and hissing. When cats do communicate vocally with other cats, it generally is either between mother cats and kittens or to signal that they are in heat and wish to mate, using a high wail known as a caterwaul.

More about animal sounds:

  • The screaming howl of a fox is often mistaken for the more commonly recognized hooting of an owl.
  • The world’s largest audio collection of animal sounds contains the vocalizations of about 9,000 species and dates to 1929.
  • Animals might have different dialects, depending on where they live. Those that live near the border of two geographic regions might actually be able to understand both area’s dialects.
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Discussion Comments


I don't let my cat run free outside but he goes out in his carrier which I lovingly call his "outhouse". When he wants to go out he will come to find me, talk to me and get my eye contact but only when I ask him if he wants to go outside will he stop begging, then he dashes off and into his outhouse to wait for me. If I'm away from home too long for his fragile emotional status he meets me at the door, telling me how horrible it was being left for so long and then dashes onto the bed expecting me to drop everything and love on him. Of course I have to because he is so adorable. He has a special voice for this latter. These are only two examples of many. Never had a cat like this.


@RoyalSpyder - I'm not sure about cats, but I do know that some dogs can understand human language, to an extent obviously. Either that, or they're more familiar with the sound associated with what's being said. For example, whenever I mention the words "eat" or "food" to my dog, his eyes will get big, and he'll get the food bowl from the kitchen. As another example, whenever I tell him "don't bark", he immediately stops.

On another note, I do find it interesting that cats produce certain sounds only for their masters. This doesn't seem to be the case for dogs, unfortunately. Overall though, this article really shows the bond a pet can have with their owner.


You know, this article got me thinking, considering how cats (and possibly other animals) create noises so that their owners will listen, does that also mean that some animals (cats included) can understand what people are saying? Obviously, they don't speak English, but they must have some knowledge of when their owner is telling them right and wrong, right?

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