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Posted by Patricia on 20th Aug 2023

The rescue where we found our oldest kitty described her as a Siamese mix. We're unsure about the "mix" part because Daphne is so vocal; she's her own social media platform.

A report from the Library of Medicine, cited below, states, "Up to 21 different feline vocalizations have been described in scientific research, but their vocal repertoire probably contains even more." Siamese represent the chattiest breed, so you can imagine conversations around our home.

Daphne has a feline brother who offers frequent but more subdued meows. She also has two canine siblings who speak woof. She is used to having to share her voice. Feral and mostly-outdoor cats aren't as talkative because, according to the Library of Medicine, "The environment has an important impact on the vocal behavior and thus feral cats and pet cats vocalize differently."

Because of more dangers outside, you might think cats living outdoors would need more frequent and louder vocalizations, but actually the opposite is true. The need to stay hidden often outweighs the need to talk. The Library of Medicine states, "One particularity of the domestic cat is that it has been described as having a more developed and complex vocal repertoire than any other member of the carnivora and is even more vocal than its wild counterpart."

PetMD, cited below, discusses a few of the more common noises from cats and what they mean, ranging from the familiar "mellow meow" to "happy trilling" and "annoyed hissing." Some cats have extensive vocal skills, some less than most. For example, the Maine Coon, one of the larger felines, is also considered one of the quietest. They may chirp and trill when happy rather than meow. Your cat's vocalizations are specific to him or his immediate environment. The National Library of Medicine site offers an extensive list of other noises you may hear from your indoor cat or the ferals around the neighborhood.

One of the reasons I enjoy writing blogs for Armarkat is the chance to learn what I didn't know about cats. I've been a cat (and dog) parent for many years but only recently found that cats communicate differently depending on four interactions: mother/youth, sexual, cat/human, and unknown. The Library of Medicine says, "Despite the widespread belief that cats are solitary, they actually can have an important social life and thus use specific vocalizations for this context."

PetMD cautions that any changes to your kitty's vocalization pattern that don’t seem normal should be checked out by your veterinarian. Listen for meows and other sounds that are louder than average, more frequent than usual, increased late at night, or altered when around specific animals or people. From personal experience, I found this advice helpful. When Daphne's vocals started sounding like she was gargling, we took her to the vet. Subsequent blood work revealed she has an overactive thyroid, which is now controlled with medication. Our vet told us that a cat's thyroid is close to his larynx, which explained why her meows sounded like she was underwater.

Quote to remember: "Cats melt your heart with a single meow." - Amy Hoover


National Library of Medicine

"Feline vocal communication"


"9 Cat Noises and What They Mean"