From the classic “miaow” to a wide range of purrs and yowls, your little kitten uses their natural voice to make a huge variety of sounds – more than most other animals, in fact. Cats have as many as 60 different types of vocalisations and each one, uttered with a different tone and intensity, has a different meaning. But what are they trying to say to you?
The classic “miaow”
Everyone knows “miaow”. Generated in their larynx, your kitten’s “miaow” is a cry for help or attention. As they grow up, your kitten will “miaow” to convey a whole range of moods and emotions, from friendliness and fear all the way through to complaint and anger.
The “chirrup” noise
Your kitten might “chirrup” as a way of offering you a friendly greeting. Not all kittens do this – if yours does, you’ll find it really does sound as if they're talking to you!
As everyone knows, a purring kitten is a happy kitten. A newborn kitten will purr to tell their mother that they're comfortable and secure. Purring is a sound of contentment, and a clever kitten will use it to get more than their share of stroking. And you’ll no doubt be very happy to oblige!
New research suggests that cats might also purr in very stressful situations – it seems they can actually calm themselves down by purring.
Communicating with your kitten
In the wild, adult big cats rarely communicate by sound, vocalising only when they're preparing to fight or mate. By talking to you, your kitten shows that they've learned what generations of cats have learned before them– that vocalising is a great way to get attention from a human being!
The more you talk to your kitten, the more they'll understand you and respond. Soon you’ll recognise their kitten calls, and they'll recognise yours. So get chatting!