What Does It Mean When A Cat Trills?

Most cat owners have heard their pet cats make numerous sounds in different scenarios. It’s a mystery deciphering their multitude of sounds – all 16 different vocalizations – found in a study done in 1944. If you’ve noticed, cats also use some of the same sounds for more than one scenario.

There are also times that cats use one or two sounds at the same time, which mystifies owners even more. However, there is one discernible sound that cat owners associate with their pets when they come home – and it’s called trilling.

Does trilling mean happiness, or is it used by cats to convey something else to you? Should you be concerned when your pet cat trills every so often?

cute little kitten

These are the questions that might be going around your head right now, so let’s go ahead and discuss one of the many vocalizations that your cat does!

What Exactly Is This Cat Trilling All About?

Cat trilling, also known as chirruping or chirring, is learned by kittens straight from their mothers. Kittens recognize the sound of their mother’s trilling and respond to it, even when far away from each other.

When they grow up, kittens would eventually stop using it to communicate with their mothers, but intensify it with their owners as a primary form of greeting.

Cats will also combine trilling with other vocalizations to convey a different emotion. Along with its body parts, your cat’s vocalizations are another way for it to talk to you. You can use these sounds to further understand your pet.  Trilling can also be combined with other sounds that your cat may make, and those will differ in meaning when accompanied by other cat actions.

What Makes Up The Sound?

As stated in a study done by Mildred Moelk in 1944, she found 16 different kinds of vocalizations. She then proceeded to interpret them by comparing the sounds to how humans could produce them. All of them would depend on how the mouth of the cat is formed, and how their tongue is used to create the sound.

Trilling happens with a sudden push of air, while the cat meows and purr rolls over the tongue. This often comes out with a high-pitched tone. Moelk eventually associated the sound to greeting not only their mothers but their owners and other animals as well.

The Meaning of the Trilling

  • Your cat is happy to see you

Chirruping is often associated with anything positive that your cat may feel, and you will be the most likely recipient.

When you see your cat cooing, in most cases, your cat is trying to convey that it is happy to see you. No matter how long you have left your cat at home, as soon as you hear your pet trilling, it is thrilled to see you.

Your cat would also use their trilling when it sees other familiar well-liked animals, be it another pet of yours, or somebody else’s. This vocalization is often followed by rubbing its head against you, or any part of your body that it can reach.

  • Your cat wants all of your attention

As soon as you hear your cat make a trilling sound, and its body is in a ready position, it may mean that it wants to play with you. This is the time to whip out the toys and provide lots of love. This is a prime time that you will have its fullest attention, so make the most out of it.

If you were trying to do something productive, such as folding the laundry, as long as the trilling continues, your cat will demand your attention in whatever way it can manage.

If you have two or more pets, your cat would most often use trilling to get your focus away from your other pets. Once your cat begins to trill insistently and tries swatting you, then it is craving your attention only for itself.

  • It wants you to follow it

As it learned from its mother, once you hear your cat chirring and walking or running away from you, your cat wants you to follow it. You might end up finding it in a corner and pawing at something, or pacing back and forth in a spot.

As long as both of these actions are done by your cat, then you have no choice but to follow in its tracks.

  • Hey, let’s be friends!

In this scenario, you’d probably see your cat trilling at another cat located a few feet away. This is a sign that your feline wants to be friends with the other cat, or at least be on good terms.

This sometimes happens if you bring home a friend, and your pet immediately likes him/her. If, after the trilling sound, it rubs against your friend’s leg or even jumps on your friend’s lap, then you won’t even need to do an introduction.

If you’re bringing home another cat or pet, you’ll be extremely lucky if your cat trills at the newcomer. There will be no need to fuss about slowly introducing them to each other.

How to Deal with the Trill?

There is a chance that when your cat trills sound, it might not be conveying happiness or joy. It may depend on how your pet was brought up by its mother cat, but these chances rarely occur.

Nonetheless, it is better to at least understand what your cat may be feeling when it trills so as to create a longer-lasting relationship. Take heed of the scenarios when your kitty trills, and work your way from there.

Whatever the sounds your cat may make, you will ultimately be the best person to anticipate what it wants. Cats are so expressive, that even people who don’t like cats will understand the urgency that they are trying to express.

So the next time your cat makes a sound, stop what you’re doing and look at your cat’s surroundings while listening to the sounds. This will help you get a sense of what your cat desires.

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