Detecting Angry Cat Sounds and How to Handle Them

People use body language all the time to communicate with each other, sometimes subtly and other times not so much. When it comes to your cat you need to realize they will send you body language messages before you hear a sound. But if you miss the body language you can be sure to expect a verbal communication when they have reached the point of being angry. The first step in dealing with an angry cat is to be aware of the different sounds they make, which may be unique to your cat. This list of sounds should help you to know what is going on with the kitty, and what steps to take once you’ve identified what the problem is.

The Growl

Think of growling as a warning sound, similar to that of the meaning of a dog’s growl. Your cat might be angry or just annoyed. Unless you can discover the reason for the bad disposition, just leave the cat be, give it some space, and everything should be fine.

The Angry Meow

This sound often follows the growling, but it’s not the friendly kitty meow. You will notice the hostility and intensity pick up, which also means the cat’s warning is being given with added emphasis. They may look at you as they send the message, directing their anger at you. If the pitch of the angry meow starts low and then goes high, it is signaling they are especially stressed and are likely to take it to the next step if they don’t walk away.

The Hiss

Anyone who has been around a cat for any length of time knows the hissing sound. But when it comes to being an angry hiss you need to pay attention closer. The cat could also be afraid or confused, and if the situation resolves itself (let’s say a dog is approaching and then moves on) they will decompress pretty quickly. Hissing is a clear sign the cat is ready to fight. You may see the claws come out or their back arch up. This is definitely a time to give them as much space as they need until they reach a point where they feel safe again.

Your response to the sounds

There are some basic approaches given above, but every situation is unique so you need to have a set of tools to handle specific situations. The general rule to follow in any situation is that it is better to be safe than sorry. A cat’s claws are its primary means of attack and defense, and cat owners who have had kitty dig their claws into their leg knows how sharp they are. They are not likely to engage in prolonged attacks because they prefer to be cuddlers, not fighters.

You need to know there is a cat biology at work here, and that includes a healthy increase in their adrenaline production. Even though cats are domesticated, they are still animals and will react instinctively to situations when they are angry or feel threatened. Expect no less and you will be better prepared to deal with the situation.

Another general rule is not to overreact to the angry cat sounds. Some cat owners punish their cats for getting angry, which isn’t justified. Though we like to think we understand our cats, the reality is we don’t have a cat’s brain and so really don’t know what going on inside there. What we do know is cats will always be cats.

At the beginning, the cat’s body language was mentioned, so it makes sense to finish things up by talking about it a bit more here. Easy things to look for are: ears pointed up is usually a happy kitty, ears pulled back is a warning sign; shoulders relaxed is good, hunched shoulders are bad. When you see their tail twitching or going back from one side to the other, it usually means they are being inquisitive or see something that interests them.

So what if your angry cat bites or scratches you? If you have an outdoor cat, their bite could cause some serious problems for you because they are likely to eat some type of rodent, which may pass a disease on to you. An indoor cat may not pose such a problem, but only if you’re sure you house is mouse free. Scratches are usually not a problem, but first consider the state of their litter box.

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