Why Is My Cat Chirping? The Surprising Reason Behind This Strange Sound


Cat chirping is a unique vocalization that cats make, often described as a “chittering” or “chattering” sound. It is different from a cat’s typical meow and often sounds like a rapid series of clicking or purring noises. Cat chirping can happen in various contexts and have different meanings depending on the situation.

This article provides an overview of the common reasons cats chirp, including during hunting, as a greeting, when sick, due to breed tendencies, or as a sign of distress. It covers what cat owners should know about interpreting chirping sounds, whether action is required, and how to curb excessive vocalizations.

Common Causes

Cats often chirp when they spot potential prey, especially birds, that they cannot immediately catch or reach (Source). This chirping or “chattering” behavior stems from their predatory instincts and desire to hunt. Cats may see a bird through a window and start chirping excitedly in anticipation of capturing it. The chirping likely mimics the sounds of actual prey to lure in the bird (Source). Even though the hunting attempt is futile, the inner urge to stalk remains strong.

In addition, cats may chirp as a friendly greeting to their owners or other cats. The chirping indicates contentment and affection. It often occurs along with purring and rubbing against legs.

Sometimes chirping or chattering can signal an underlying medical issue. Hyperthyroidism, dental disease, dementia or neurological problems can cause involuntary chattering. If the behavior seems excessive or combined with other symptoms, a veterinary exam is recommended.

Hunting Behavior

One of the most common reasons cats make chirping noises is when they spot potential prey, like birds or squirrels, outside a window. The chirping mimics the sounds of prey animals, which cats would do in the wild to attract and hunt their next meal. It comes from an innate predatory instinct.

According to catinaflat.com, “The chirp is an expression of excitement at seeing something cats want to chase – some kitties even chatter and chirp at their toys.” When a domestic cat sees something like a bird that triggers their hunting instincts, the chirping noises are a response to that inner drive to chase. The noises express a cat’s interest, excitement and eagerness.


One of the most common reasons for cat chirping is as a greeting. Cats will often chirp or trill when their owner comes home as a way of saying hello and communicating happiness at seeing them. It’s a social bonding behavior that shows contentment. According to The Village Vets, “If your cat chirps and trills at you when you get home after work every day, she is saying hello to you in her language.”

Cats also chirp as a way to get your attention when they want food or playtime. The chirping noises can indicate excitement and eagerness for interaction. It’s a different vocalization from meowing and shows they are feeling upbeat. So chirping can be your cat’s way of happily greeting you or requesting your attention.

Chirping back to your cat can help strengthen your bond and validate their communication. Just ensure the chirping occurs at appropriate times, such as when arriving home or before mealtimes. You don’t want to reinforce constant vocal demands.

Medical Issues

Some medical conditions can cause cats to chirp excessively. Respiratory infections like feline calicivirus or feline herpesvirus can lead to nasal congestion, making it difficult for cats to meow properly. The infection causes inflammation in the throat and nose, resulting in a hoarse, chirping sound instead of a normal meow [1].

Dental problems such as tooth resorption, gum disease, or mouth ulcers are another medical reason for chirping. Pain in the mouth prevents cats from opening wide enough to vocalize normally. The chirping occurs as they try to meow through the discomfort [2].

In both cases, the change in vocalization alerts pet owners to get their cat checked by a vet. Treatment of the underlying condition will allow the cat to meow normally again instead of chirping.

Breed Differences

Certain cat breeds are known to be more vocal than others. Two breeds in particular that tend to chirp and meow more frequently are Siamese and Oriental breeds.

Siamese cats are one of the most talkative breeds. They are known for their loud, raspy meows and persistent vocalizations. This is due to their very social and demanding personalities. Siamese cats crave attention and will “talk” often to get noticed by their owners.

Oriental cats, including breeds like the Balinese and Javanese, also tend to be quite vocal. They have a wide range of vocalizations from chirps to meows and often “converse” back and forth with their owners. Their vocal nature stems from their energetic, affectionate personalities.

In general, the most vocal cat breeds tend to be those that are very active, social, and that form strong bonds with their human families. Breeds like the Siamese and Oriental perfectly fit that mold.

What To Do

When your cat chirps, the best thing to do is respond to them to acknowledge the communication. According to the article “Cat Communication 101: Common Reasons for Cat Chirping” on thevillagevets.com, you should try mimicking the chirp back at your cat or offer them affection. This lets your cat know you understand their greeting or request. If your cat is chirping excessively, you may want to take them to the vet for a checkup, as advised in the article “Why Do Cats Chirp? The Answer is Truly Fascinating” on pawtracks.com. The vet can rule out any medical issues causing excessive vocalizations.

In general, respond to chirping positively and don’t punish or yell at your cat for chirping, as this could damage your bond. Be attentive to any changes in the frequency or context of chirping, as this could signal an underlying issue requiring veterinary attention.

Stopping Excessive Chirping

If your cat is chirping excessively, there are some things you can try to curb the behavior:

Provide plenty of stimulation through play and exercise. Bored or understimulated cats may chirp for attention. Try scheduling regular play sessions throughout the day with feather wands, laser toys, treat puzzles, and more. Get your cat running and jumping to burn off excess energy. [1]

Check for any underlying medical issues. Cats may chirp due to illness, pain or discomfort. Schedule a vet visit to rule out health problems. Common issues like dental disease, arthritis, hyperthyroidism or urinary tract infections can cause vocalizations. [2]

Try to remain calm and not overreact to chirping, as this can reinforce the behavior. If your cat chirps for attention, try your best to wait until they are quiet before interacting. This helps them associate silence with rewards. [3]

When To Worry

While most chirping is normal cat communication, excessive or frequent chirping can sometimes indicate an underlying medical issue. According to The Village Vets, you should contact your veterinarian if your cat is chirping constantly or chirping much more than usual https://thevillagevets.com/blog/common-reasons-cat-chirping/. Persistent chirping or meowing can be a sign of hyperthyroidism, dementia, or other conditions. It’s important to rule out any medical causes if your cat seems distressed or the vocalizations become excessive.

Seeing your veterinarian is especially recommended if the chirping occurs along with other symptoms like weight loss, increased thirst or urination, vomiting, or changes in appetite. Frequent loud chirping that persists day and night without explanation warrants a veterinary exam according to Hill’s Pet Nutrition https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/behavior-appearance/cat-chirping. While a certain amount of chirping is normal, a sudden increase in frequency or duration could indicate your cat is trying to communicate discomfort or distress.


In summary, cats make a chirping noise for a variety of reasons, some of which are completely normal and others which may indicate an underlying medical issue. Chirping may be part of normal hunting behavior, a form of communication and greeting with other cats or humans, or an indicator of an upper respiratory infection among certain breeds. If your cat is excessively chirruping, try to identify any potential causes like a new environment, visits from outdoor cats, or stressful situations. You can discourage unwanted chirping by limiting stimuli and responses. However, if the chirping persists along with other symptoms like sneezing or nasal discharge, take your cat to the vet to rule out illness. Usually, occasional chirping is nothing to worry about, but any abrupt changes to your cat’s vocalizations deserve further attention to ensure their health and wellbeing.

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