Cat Moaning: What It Means & What To Do

Jan 9, 2024 | Cats & Kittens | 2 comments

Cat moaning, also known as caterwauling, is a haunting and enigmatic vocalization of cats that has intrigued and perplexed cat owners for generations. This unique feline behavior, characterized by eerie moans and yowls, is a captivating aspect of our beloved pets’ communication.

Let’s delve into the mysterious world of caterwauling, unraveling its secrets and shedding light on the intriguing reasons behind it.

What Is Caterwauling?

This peculiar vocal behavior has puzzled and fascinated cat owners for generations. But what exactly is wailing, and why do cats engage in this mysterious vocalization?

Caterwauling is a distinctive vocalization often exhibited by cats, marked by a combination of yowls, meows, and moans that create a haunting and captivating sound.

Causes Why Cats Moan

Cats are renowned for their expressive vocalizations; caterwauling is a prime example of their intriguing communication. There are several compelling reasons why cats may engage in moaning and caterwauling:

Mating Behavior

Caterwauling is often associated with mating behavior. Unspayed female cats in heat may emit these distinctive sounds to attract potential mates. Unneutered males, in response, may also caterwaul as they seek out females in heat.

While it can be a raucous experience for humans, it’s a natural part of the feline reproductive cycle.

Territorial Disputes

Cats, by nature, are territorial beings fiercely protective of their claimed domains. When two unfamiliar cats cross paths in their designated territory, it can trigger intense vocal confrontations in the form of caterwauling.

These unsettling vocalizations serve as a means for cats to assert dominance and defend their space, highlighting the significance of territory in their feline world.


Sometimes, cats use caterwauling as a form of communication with their owners. They may be hungry, in discomfort, or simply seeking attention. Deciphering the context and accompanying body language can help you understand the underlying message behind the moans.

Health Concerns

In some instances, cats may moan when they are unwell or in pain. Paying attention to sudden changes in behavior is crucial, as excessive caterwauling could indicate underlying health issues requiring prompt veterinary attention.

Cats moaning

Chirps and Yowls: What Does it Mean?

Apart from caterwauling, cats employ various vocalizations to communicate their feelings and needs. You may hear two familiar sounds from your feline companion: chirps and yowls. But what do these sounds mean, and how can we interpret them?

Chirping: Cats often emit chirping sounds when observing birds or other prey animals from a distance. This behavior may be instinctual, mimicking the sounds of birds to attract prey. It shows excitement and anticipation, showcasing your cat’s predatory instincts.

Yowling: Yowling serves multiple purposes in the feline communication repertoire. It can express frustration, discomfort, or the desire for attention. Understanding the context and accompanying body language can help you determine the specific message your cat is conveying through yowls.

In the complex world of feline vocalizations, chirps and yowls are just a few ways your cat communicates with you.

By paying attention to these sounds and the situations in which they occur, you can gain valuable insights into your feline friend’s thoughts and emotions.


Cats are incredibly expressive creatures; their moaning, caterwauling, chirping, and yowling are all part of their unique communication toolkit. Understanding the reasons behind these vocalizations is vital to being a responsible and attentive cat owner.


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Is caterwauling normal for cats?

Caterwauling can be expected in certain situations, such as during mating behavior or territorial disputes. However, excessive or sudden caterwauling should be investigated, as it could indicate underlying health issues.

How can I stop my cat from caterwauling at night?

To reduce nighttime caterwauling, consider spaying/neutering your cat, providing plenty of playtime and mental stimulation during the day, and creating a calm and comfortable sleeping environment.

Why does my cat chirp at birds but never catch them?

Chirping at birds is an instinctual behavior that mimics the sounds of prey. Cats may do this out of excitement or anticipation, even if they don’t intend to catch the birds.

My cat yowls when I leave the house. Is this separation anxiety?

Yowling when you leave can be a sign of separation anxiety. It’s essential to consult with a veterinarian or a professional animal behaviorist for guidance on addressing this issue.

Can caterwauling be prevented through training?

While you can’t completely prevent caterwauling, spaying/neutering and positive reinforcement training can help reduce excessive vocalizations related to mating behavior or territorial disputes.



  1. SmartCats

    sometimes it seems to me that my cat is trying to speak human language because she makes very uncat sounds

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