Could It Be An Attempt To Mimic Prey
A relatively new and extraordinary theory is that cats chatter in an instinctive attempt to mimic their prey. On an expedition into the Amazon rainforests of Brazil in 2005, researchers from Wildlife Conservation Society and UFAM recorded a margay, a small wild cat, mimicking the chattering calls of its prey. The margay vocalised calls to impersonate a baby pied tamarin, which attracted the primates to investigate the area around the wild cat. As they came closer to the margay, the feline attempted to catch one of the tamarins.
People who live in the Amazon have often anecdotally recounted stories of wild cats, including jaguars and pumas, mimicking the calls of prey such as small primates and rodents. This research trip, however, was the first time scientists officially noted this behaviour in a wild cat. Mimicking the calls of an animal allows feline predators to get closer to their prey. As WCS researcher Fabio Rohe said: Cats are known for their physical agility, but this vocal manipulation of prey species indicates a psychological cunning which merits further study.
It could be that domestic cats have this response ingrained somehow in their behaviour, and this is what leads them to express themselves with chatters and chirps when observing birds.
Why Do Cats Meow At Birds Chirping & Chatter Explained
Most cats find windows to be the optimal seat in the house. Your cat can catch a few rays of the sun and watch the birds and squirrels outside. Sometimes your cat will even perk up and watch the birds outside while making a chattering or meowing noise. Youve heard your cat make the noise in the past, but you dont know why, so you ask: why do cats meow at birds?
Cats meow at birds because it is their instinct to prey on birds. The meowing is an imitation of a birds chirp, and a method cats use to stalk and capture their prey. Meowing also communicates frustration for indoor cats that are unable to catch the bird.
With some animal habits, scientists can only make their best guess as to why animals do something. We can only guess why you may find your furry friend meowing at birds, but theres evidence that it usually links back to your cats ancestry. No matter the breed of cat you may have, your cat had ancestors that preyed on birds, and your cat hasnt lost those instincts. Interested? Well, keep reading to learn more!
Chirps Trills And Chirrups
Learned in kittenhood, these birdlike utterances are slightly more declarative than a meow. Originally used by mothers to tell kittens to pay attention and follow her, your cat may chirp in an effort to get you to pay attention to her or as a way to get you to check out something she deems important. Chirrups and squeaky little trills might also happen when a cat is excited and happy.
You might have heard your cat chatter her teeth while longingly staring out a window at a sparrow or squirrel in a tree. Sometimes accompanied by a chirp, squeak or faint cry, the chatter is thought to be an indicator of a cats predatory excitement and of her stress at not being able to get to the prize. Some claim the chatter is actually a mimicked bird or rodent call, but this is anecdotal at best as the hunting prowess of cats is dependent on silence and stealth.
Also Check: Why Does My Cat Squint At Me
Cat Chattering At Another Cat
The hypothesis is linked to the behaviour exhibited during rearing of kittens. Initially, the queen purrs to talk with the kittens until their ear canals open, then the queen calls with a chirping noise when its feeding time. Similarly, the kittens react to their mothers calling when they stray away by returning to the queen for warmth, food and shelter.
Why Does My Cat Chirp And Not Meow
Cats make many types of vocalizations and each one conveys a different meaning. When a cat chirps, it is usually in response to something he is excited about, such as a bird outside or a bowl of food. A meow is more of a generic sound that can be a greeting or a way to call attention to something, such as an empty food bowl.
You May Like: Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe For Cats
Other Solutions And Considerations
If your cat really does seem anxious as they are gazing out the window, treat them to a safe outdoor adventure where they can get closer to the birds and actually have their chirping be heard. Build them a tunnel or crate filled with windows and holes where they can see, smell and hear everything theyve been missing. Or really spoil them with a catio, a cat-safe enclosure secured by fencing that allows your cat to bask in the sun without the risk of running off or getting into a dangerous situation with another animal.
My Cat Chatters At Birds
Chirping at birds will eventually give way to chattering. You will know the difference between these two sounds when you hear it. Chirping is a soft coo, which could be described as a happy sound. Chattering is louder and more aggressive.
The source of this chattering is simple frustration. Your cat wants to hunt it is one of the most primal instincts that cats have. The opportunity to do so is in plain sight. Unfortunately, the presence of a window is preventing this from happening.
Another potential explanation is that the cat is picturing a killing blow. When cats hunt, they kill by biting into the neck of prey. Chattering can resemble a series of these swift, sharp bites. The cat is growing more and more agitated at the sight of its prey.
For a cat, this is a form of mental anguish. It does not understand why it cannot reach the birds. This will slowly and steadily build a sense of resentment and aggression.
When a cat starts chattering, you need to remove the temptation as cats can see through glass. Eventually, frustration will get the better of the cat. It will start to scratch the window. This may damage the glass or hurt the cats paw or claws.
If there is any way of the cat reaching the birds, it will take it. This can be determinantal to your cats health. It will look for an opening in the window, potentially climbing onto a high balcony. As the cat is antagonized, it risks falling and hurting itself.
Distracting the Cat
Also Check: How Old Is A 12 Year Old Cat
What We Still Dont Know About Cats Chattering
The question remains why cats would express themselves with a chatter only when prey is unattainable. Kitties dont chatter when they can hunt prey that is within reach. Cats usually remain as stealthy and quiet as possible when hunting. Perhaps the chattering is an attempt to bring birds closer, or just an instinct our furry friends cant control. More studies need to take place before we can find out.
Please note: some teeth chattering can be due to dental pain. If your cat is chattering at unusual times and youre concerned, please take your furry friend to see a vet.
Does your cat like to chatter at birds? Tag in your kitty chattering videos on Instagram!
For a great alternative to a cattery, find the best cat sitter near me
How does cat sitting work? Watch Here
- cat behaviour
What Do Cats Do When They See Birds
Cats usually chirp when theyre looking at birds or squirrels, but they may also do it when theyre excited about hunting toys or kibble, or even their humans, although this is much rarer, Loftin said. These strange cat sounds might also have to do with frustration, Celia Haddon, a cat behaviorist, told The Dodo.
You May Like: Why Does My Cat Wake Me Up At Night
Different Types Of Cat Sounds
The most commonly heard cat noise is the classic meow. Generally, this sound is used to demand attention. Kittens meow almost constantly, always in search of their mothers love, milk, or attention. In older animals, it is less often used to communicate with other animals and will more frequently be heard in the presence of humans.
Not all meows sound the same, or mean the same thing. Although your cat will have their own distinctive way of meowing, it is possible to generally categorise some of the types of meowing that are most commonly heard.
What Does It Mean When Cats Talk To Birds
When your cat talks to birds, it means your cat is interested in the birds outside.
Its not always easy to get a cats attention, but a cat in a window with some birds to watch outside is easily fixated. There could be one bird or a half a dozen it doesnt matter to your cat. Hell probably be watching the bird with those huge, round eyes.
If your cat is interested, you might hear your cat start to talk. Of course, this doesnt mean your cat is starting to have conversations with the birds outside.
Thats just what people often call the noises that your cat makes. Usually, the noises are meowing or a chirping noise, but it differs among cats.
Read Also: How Old Is The Oldest Cat Alive
Why Do Cats Make A Weird Clicking Noise
Jaw clicking typically occurs when your indoor puss spies a yummy prey item such as a bug, bird or squirrel through the window, possibly indicating frustration or excitement. Others have noted that the clicking noise is similar to the sounds that a cat makes as she delivers a deadly neck bite to a prey animal.
Why Do Cats Chatter
If you have a cat, youve probably heard them make chattering or chirping noises. One moment, your kitty is basking in a sunbeam, and the next, they are staring out the window and chattering away at an unsuspecting bird. But why do cats make these odd noises? It turns out it is still a mystery! Scientists have yet to find a definitive answer that explains why cats chatter, but here are a few possible theories.
Recommended Reading: Why Does My Cat Drool When He Purrs
Cat Chattering Due To Pain
Oral conditions and dental disease are a common problem in cats however may be neglected at times since cats dont like being handled or their mouths examined. Similarly, cats are masters of disguise and will continue eating despite substantial oral pain and disease.
Look out for signs such as excessive dribbling, pawing at the mouth, chattering of the teeth, smelly breath and eating on one side of the mouth. Other painful ailments such as digestive disorders, kidney failure and cancer can trigger teeth-chatter and must be treated by a veterinarian.
Ask Dr Jenn: Why Does My Cat Make Chirping Noises When She Looks Out The Window
What are these sounds and what do they mean?
Reading time: 3 Minutes
Q: Why does my cat make chirping noises when she looks out the window?
A: Cats have the ability to make a variety of sounds. Aside from birds, they have the widest vocal range of all domestic animals. Cats love to communicate with each other and with humans, using a combination of their body language and vocalizations. A twitch of the tail, an arch of the back, and a unique sound can all convey different meanings.
My kitty Dottie is always talking to me. A quiet meow says hello, Im here. A much louder meow says, Fill my bowl. A hiss says, stop petting me or get out of my space. I am most entertained when she crawls up onto the cat tower and looks out the window. She watches everything going by and when a squirrel or a bird comes into view, she sits up straight, her ears perk up, and she lets out a variety of musical sounds chirps, trills, and chatters.
Chirps and trills are musical sounds made by some, but not all, cats. These are musical sounds made when a cat pushes air across the vocal cords without opening their mouth. Sometimes they will end with a chattering of their teeth. Cats learn to make these sounds at a young age by mimicking their mother. The queen will often chirp or trill at her kittens to comfort them when they are nursing. When they are older and trying to be more independent, she will also use these sounds to get their attention and guide them in a different direction.
Recommended Reading: Alice In Wonderland Cats Name
What Do We Mean By A Cat Chattering
Chirping, twittering or chattering this behaviour might look unusual, but it is something most cat owners will recognise. Chattering almost always happens when a kitty can see, but cant reach, a creature on which cats usually prey. It is as common in inside cats and kitties who are allowed to roam outside.
Commonly this behaviour occurs when a cat is looking out of a window and sees a bird, rodent, or other small animals nearby. Cats then rapidly open and close their mouth, usually while making a chirping or squeaking noise. While chattering, a cats body language will indicate a predatory reaction too including alert ears, a focused stare and a wagging tail.
Chattering seems to be triggered by a predator-prey instinct, but why does it take such a peculiar form? And only when a cat can see but not reach its prey?
See some intriguing examples of cats chattering in the video below!
Cat Chattering At Birds
When a cat chatters at birds, the cats body language indicates it is in a stimulated state since the body is tense, eyes are usually wide-open, the whiskers point outwards away from the face, the tail vibrates and sometimes the skin ripples together with chatter. The cat is preoccupied with the unachievable prey which is too high up in a tree or visible through a window.
Recommended Reading: What Is A Cat’s Normal Heart Rate
Why Do Cats Chatter When Hunting
Some animal behaviorists say that the rapid jaw movements that cats make when they chatter is similar to a biting motion. When hunting, cats will bite the neck of their prey to quickly subdue them. Your sweet fluffball might be practicing their neck bite, which is the rapid bite used to kill their prey.
Why Do Cats Chatter At Laser Pointers
Chattering at laser pointers is usually due to frustration-provoking play. An element of irritation can develop if your cat is unable to catch the prey and manipulate it. Laser pointers should never be the only source of hunting pursuit, it should be incorporated into a play routine with other toys the cat can catch and kill.
Also Check: Can You Become Allergic To Cats
Ways To Make Bird Watching More Fun For Your Cat
If your cat loves to watch and chirp at birds outside, consider making it even more fun for her. Get a nice, comfortable scratching post or tree with a bed at window level and place it next to the window. Put a bird feeder 5-10 feet away from the window. Your cat will love having an up-close viewing portal for watching the birds. Also, if she gets really excited and needs to let off some steam, she’ll have the scratching post available right there, potentially saving your windowsill some cat scratch marks.
If you see your cat getting excited about and chattering at the birds, you can also take the opportunity for some interactive play time by dangling a wand toy tantalizingly near her. She can let out her hunter instincts by chasing and pouncing on that, relieving any frustration she might be feeling about not being able to get to the birds.
You May Also Like These Articles:
The Root Of The Behavior
A cat usually chirps when it sees a prey animal, such as a bird or squirrel. Once spotted out the window, your cat may be intensely focused on the animal, and track them with their eyes. Their body gets rigid and ready to pounce, and their mouth hangs slightly open and vibrates to make that chirping noise. If we look at the cats body language, its quite clear they are engaging in hunting behavior, which becomes even more evident if they attempt to jump through the glass to get at their prey.
But then, why make noise? Certainly, a hunting cat wouldnt want to alert their prey of their presence and possibly make them run away. While scientists arent exactly sure why cats may chirp, there are a few theories.
Most domestic cats are well aware that they cant jump through the window to get that bird. They can see the prey, but cant get at it, making the chirp a noise of frustration. Or they may simply be excited and happy when they see a bird. Your cat may be experiencing a surge of adrenalin at the sight of prey, which in the wild would flood their system to give them a burst of energy for the attack.
Read Also: How To Train A Kitten Not To Bite
Chattering Cats Indicate Feline Excitement
A more commonly known reason for cat chattering is arousal or excitement. Cats will do this behavior when looking out a window because seeing birds, squirrels, or other small animals will excite their hunting instinct. It’s a sign your cat would probably pounce on these outdoors if they weren’t restricted by the window glass. It’s fine to let your cat chatter at things they see outside the window, but you may want to step in and redirect them to another activity if they get too aroused.