Understanding Cat Chirping: Reasons Behind Feline Vocalizations

Tweeting: It's not just for the feathered creatures. As a matter of fact, feline tweeting is one of several methods that cats employ to converse with their human companions. But what is the reason behind cats' tweeting and what does this particular feline noise signify? Let us uncover the truth.

Cat Tweeting: A Means of Communication for Cats

Whilst their conversations with each other are not abundant, over numerous millennia of domestication, cats have come to realize that "speaking" is the most effective way to interact with their human companions (and persuade them to comply with feline desires).

According to an article published by the Veterinary Information Network, feline and human communication possess several similarities. "One reason why cats and humans have a harmonious relationship is [that] both species rely on vocal messages and visual signals." Cats and humans simply understand one another.

What Do Cat Tweets Sound Like?

The feline tweet, also referred to as a chirrup or a trill, is a brief, peeping sound that greatly resembles the melodious warbling of a songbird.

According to International Cat Care, feline vocalizations can be categorized into three groups: murmurs, meows, and aggressive sounds. A tweet is considered a type of murmur (the more common one being purring), described by ICC as a sound that is "largely produced with the mouth closed."

Why Do Cats Tweet?

ICC states that tweets are "typically...used for greetings, attention, acknowledgment, and approval." A tweet is essentially a high-pitched "Hello!" to their human.

Cat behaviorist Dr. Susanne Schötz, on her research website, Meowsic, highlights that cats also emit tweets when their hunting instincts are triggered, particularly when observing birds. Schötz mentions that cats employ this vocalization "when a bird or insect captures their attention... The cat becomes captivated by the prey and starts to tweet, chirp, and chatter." At times, your cat's tweet may sound remarkably like the very bird they are tweeting at from the window.

And it's not just real-life prey that excites your furry companion. They will also tweet and trill at toys. Observe a play session with a toy featuring feathers attached to a string and be attentive to the amusing chattering sounds.

Tweeting and Body Language

When the amiable tweets from your cat begin, take notice of how their body language reflects their cheerful mood: vibrant, blinking eyes; a swishing tail; ears upright and slightly angled to the side; and gentle head-bumps. However, when chirping at an unwelcome guest, such as a bird, your feline friend will likely adopt a vigilant posture, such as a crouched stalking position. They may also display dilated pupils, ears pointing sideways, and an arched back.

Engaging in interactive play is an excellent way to determine if your cat is a chirper. Cats are imitators, as Schötz points out, so give your best attempt at trilling and observe the response. If your cat does not emit tweets, there is no reason to worry; this does not imply that they do not adore you or cannot communicate with you in their own unique ways!

About the Author

Christine O'Brien

Christine O'Brien is an author, a mother, and an experienced caretaker of felines. As the primary guardian of two majestic Russian Blues, she knows firsthand the art of feline diplomacy. Her written contributions can also be found within the virtual pages of Care.com, What to Expect, and Fit Pregnancy, where she joyfully explores the topics of animal companions, the miracle of pregnancy, and the intricacies of family life. Should you wish to engage further, be sure to locate and accompany her on her captivating digital journeys via Instagram and Twitter, where she can be effortlessly discovered and followed @brovelliobrien.

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