An angry cat growling, hissing or hiding.
An angry cat growling, hissing or hiding. Photography ©points | Thinkstock.

Let’s Talk Cat Growling — Why Does Your Cat Growl and How Should You React?

Why do cats growl? Is your cat growling because he’s angry, in pain or feeling territorial — or is he just being dramatic? Plus, what is the right way for a human to react to cat growling?
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As kitty parents know, cats make all kinds of sounds. My little calico lady, Merritt, is fond of trilling, but my large orange tabby dude, Gabby, is fond of the huff (an annoyed, airy snort — does anyone else’s cat do this?!) and the growl. We adopted Gabby as an abandoned older kitty with an unknown past, so it makes sense that he’s got a few behavioral issues and is more prone to expressing his discontent vocally. But I’ve heard a fair amount of cat growling come from Merritt, too (we recently experienced a case of feline non-recognition aggression that caused her to growl away!).

So, what exactly is cat growling and how should you react when your cat growls? Let’s take a look:

What does cat growling sound like?

To me, cat growling sound like a low brrrrrroooooooooooowwww. Gabby sometimes makes what I call a pre-growl or warning growl, which sounds like a creaking door — a slow and low precursor to the full-on growl. “Growling is a deep, rumbling noise that comes from passage of air through vocal folds,” explains Dr. Sasha Gibbons of Just Cats Veterinary Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut. “[It] can sound very similar to a dog growl.”

If Gabby is especially not pleased, he will follow his growl with a big hiss. For those who still don’t know what cat growling sounds like (lucky you!), check out the video of this poor little ticked-off guy above.

What causes cat growling?

why does my cat growl
Cat growling can be caused by a number of things, like toy aggression. Photography ©Page Light Studios | Thinkstock.

Although Gabby is more reserved than my outgoing lap cat Merritt, he is truly a big, lovable baby around an exclusive, privileged few and, since he had a rough start at life, it’s even more of a triumph when Gabby chooses to curl up next to us, groom us, or lavish us with headbutts and purrs. He does not growl all the time, but he does growl more than other cats because he is more nervous than most cats. Gabby growls mostly when strangers enter our house and especially when strangers try to approach him without properly introducing themselves. I get it — I’d growl too if some weirdo entered my home and immediately thought they were entitled to the same physical contact (in Gabby’s case, head pets, in mine, hugs) I reserve for family and friends.

“Growling is a warning noise,” Dr. Gibbons affirms. “It implies unhappiness from annoyance, anger, aggression or fear. It is a signal to back off. Growling can occur from a variety of triggers. Some cats can be food or toy aggressive and growl to show possession. If a cat is annoyed from physical contact, he or she may growl.”

What about when cats growl at each other? When Merritt was growling at Gabby after he returned from the vet, it was because she simply didn’t recognize her kitty sibling! He smelled like the vet (Shots! A sterile environment! Riding in the car! Other cats!) instead of his usual odor (usually a mix of cat food and rolling around in his dad’s hockey gear). “Cats can also growl in the presence of other cats or dogs in order to establish dominance or signify they are not interested in interacting with the other animal,” Dr. Gibbons explains.

Is cat growling a reaction to pain?

A-brown-cat-growling-or-hissing-and-looking-angry
Careful — a growl might mean your cat is in pain. Photography ©points | Thinkstock.

Yes — cat growling is sometimes a reaction to pain. “Pain due to physical ailments, including: urinary tract infections, dental disease, trauma, arthritis and some metabolic diseases, such as hyperthyroidism, can cause cat growling. So, a thorough exam should be performed to rule out any underlying medical conditions,” says Dr. Jenny Kistler, owner and medical director at Brandermill Animal Hospital in Midlothian, Virginia. “If a cat’s growling is a consistent problem, the cause behind it should be determined, if possible, so that appropriate medical or behavioral protocols can be instituted to make you cat happier or more comfortable.”

The first time we took Gabby to a cats-only vet, they found that he needed six (!!!) teeth pulled (his unknown past seems to have had less-than-nutritious things on the menu, unfortunately). For a minute, we thought we had found the answer to why he was a bit of a curmudgeon! Maybe all those growls were just a reaction to the pain he was in! Maybe the surgery would take away his pain! Although Gabby definitely felt better after his decaying teeth were out, this did not stop him from growling.

How should humans respond to cat growling?

why does my cat growl
This little guy is upset — but don’t rush to comfort him! Photography ©Ornitolog82 | Thinkstock.

We’ve already established that cat growling is a warning noise, which means — you guessed it — leave your cat alone. Do not try to comfort him or, worse, “do not try to scold or reprimand the cat, especially with physical contact or hand gestures,” advises Dr. Gibbons. “This may be misinterpreted as aggression and the situation could escalate from a warning to physical contact.”

Is cat growling ever just your cat being “all talk”?

A gray kitten growling or hissing with his ears back.
Is your cat growling because he’s overdramatic? Photography ©scorpp | Thinkstock.

I know Gabby has behavioral issues. As much as I instruct guests in my home to please approach him appropriately or leave him alone, there will be people who ignore me and he will growl because he is confused, frustrated and scared. But there are also times when he growls just out of sheer annoyance.

Four years into being his mom, I’m pretty attuned to what growls mean he’s really angry or when he’s being all talk (read: overdramatic). He’s a very vocal cat in the first place, so I understand the difference between a half-hearted growl that means he’s displeased but I can still (cautiously) walk past him or pick him up. And I know when he needs to be left alone to cool off.

“Cats can growl for a variety of reasons and from a long list of triggers,” explains Dr. Gibbons. “It can be difficult to determine which cat growls are simply vocalizing, and which cats would react physically following vocalization, so it is always best to work with a professional (veterinarian or animal behavioralist) if you have concerns with your cat growling.”

Tell us: Does your cat growl a lot or not so much? To you, what does cat growling sound like?

This piece was originally published in 2017.

About the author

Cait Rohan Kelly is a digital writer, editor and marketer with over a decade of experience working with everything from sports stars to different types of cheese. She is currently the Digital Content Marketing Manager for Catster and Dogster. Cait is a lifelong animal lover and cat lady. She lives in Connecticut with her husband (a self-professed cat dude), her son (his first word will probably be one of her cats’ names) and her two rescue cats — Gabby, an orange tabby and avid sleeper, and Merritt, a sassy calico.

Read more about cat sounds on Catster.com:

125 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Cat Growling — Why Does Your Cat Growl and How Should You React?”

  1. I have a two year old cat named Penny, I was petting her while I was doing some work and all of a sudden she jumped and started to growl. She was pacing back and forth growling and everytime I asked her what was wrong she’d growl this very low growl. Then after going around I’m circles she comes back and sits between my legs and starts trying for me to pet her. She wasn’t aggressive or anything towards me. This is the first time I heard her growl. The only thing I can think of is she is excited for her new cat condo we got her and a new wicker bed? But I’ve never heard that before. I’ve had her since she was a kitten. My understanding is she is possessive but of what? I was just minding my business working. I only pet her where she likes to be petted.. just like to know what you may think she acted this way? Thoughts? Thank you!

    1. Hi there,
      These articles might provide some further insight:
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-aggression-during-petting
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/how-to-prevent-cat-petting-induced-aggression-behavior
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-aggression

  2. I have one cat that is terrified of heavy rain, thunder and just storms in general. Right as he hears the thunder or heavy rain start he goes to crouch down, stares up at ceiling intently and starts to growl. Then immediately gets under the bed and won’t come out until the weather is better. My Griffin the growler is my weather cat!

  3. Dr Gibbons is incorrect. Cats do not growl to exert dominance over other cats. Cats are not a hierarchical species. They are solitary hunters and are very territorial, as well as being hugely protective of their resources (food, water, litter trays, beds, toys, scratch posts, human attention). A resident cat growls at an intruder (a new cat or kitten) to warn them t to stay away. If the newcomer ignores them there is a risk the newcomer will be attacked or chased away. The resident cat is not interested in dominating an intruder, only in getting them out of his home.

    1. Well my cat was bought and supposedly she was found on the street at 3 weeks old so a person took her in and for some literally crazy reason they named her ANGEL of ALL THINGS and so she is 4 1/2 now and EVERYYY TIME we pick her up she growls like crazy she is only nice to me and purrs for me put no one else and she can like be sleeping and randomly growling. She doesn’t seem to mean the growling in a mean way but she like does it out of habit because she can be held and her tongue is sticking out and her eyes are closed like she’s happy but she is growling

    2. I agree, it’s hard to know exactly why or what cats are thinking and perhaps you don’t agree they growl for dominance is fine. The whole alpha dog thing could pertain to felines like the big cats is a theory I can agree with for some cats.

  4. Well, I ran into this article because my cat growls like a dog and actually is VERY cute. He’s the sweetest, super laid back, I had NEVER EVER seem him angry, my friends call him the cat dog because he is very chill. But sometimes we he hears a sound that he doesn’t recognize FROM THE OUTSIDE he growls (it last literally one or two seconds) and run to see what happens, very alert but still relaxed if you could say, nothing agresive. I am really convinced he’s just like “who’s/what’s that?” Ive only seen That behavior in dogs so I find it very very cute.

    1. My cat does the same. She is a sweet girl, but when she hears something she doesn’t recognize, she growls like a dog. Funny. But unusual

      1. It’s interesting to me that we all say the same thing and it’s not in this article. Our cats’ (Birmans and Ragdolls) have always growled when the doorbell rings or they think they hear someone outside just like a dog as well and always think its cute- Watch-Kitty! The only other time our 6 yr Male– is a Ragdoll– has growled (never hissed before) is at my husband and sons when they have him outside with them and it’s time to come inside. He’s an indoor cat, but hangs out when someone is busy outdoors…loves it so much and acts like a brat when time to come in. Me on the other hand, being mom, he has NEVER reacted any way but submissive. When I call, say do anything, he knows, and does it. Everyone calls him mamas-boy. I even taught him to sit and stay. :)

    2. Our cat always growls at outdoor sounds or unfamiliar humans but never hisses at them. She NEVER growls at me or my wife but if we are doing something that irritates her like walking too closely behind her, she’ll turn an give us a nasty hiss. During chase and capture play with a stuffed toy she will generally hiss at the toy but occasionally growl as well.

      1. Our seven year old black cat TomTom does not like trucks and will hiss at all that dare come down our culdesack!!! It all started when we had the water company digging for a couple of weeks. I think he always growled at the garbage truck. Both my tuxedo cats Alex and Rocky that I had at separate times, growled at the doorbell. They were my little guard cats.

    1. My black cat has serious problems with spinning in circles, batting at his tail, growling and screaming. Its day and night behaviour, except when he naps. He has been doing this for 3 years. He growls and screeches and I never get any sleep. Its just horrible. He is also aggressive towards my older cat. Bites her on the neck. This behaviour has been going on for 3 years. The tail chasing,screeching growling, racing around like something is chasing him.
      Is my cat losing his mind? I rescued him at 2 weeks old.

  5. Hi! I have 2 cats that I took in from a family that I previously lived with. Both of them haven’t been fixed and even though I was raised with a cat almost my whole life, I have never experienced these behaviors before. Besides being in NON STOP heat, they will go to lick themselves, breath heavily a couple times, and then growl before twirling in their spot playfully. This post seems to point to aggression or pain but if it is the latter, I couldn’t afford to take them to a vet for a while. I guess I mean to ask, is there something i could do to determine what is bothering them? They’re pretty peaceful cats, one is a lap cat while the other begs for you to touch her without touching her. Please help if possible

    1. I am currently in the same boat as you, im worried something is wrong with my cat. She went into heat continuesly, then she started growling when she went potty. Shes gained a bunch of weight since my mom and her 3 cats moved in. It almost looks like shes pregnant but my moms male cat is fixed. Ive seen him try to mount her, but hes neutered, so idk whats going on.

  6. We have to sister cats from the same litter and have had them since they were kittens. They have both been spayed and had their shots all done at the same time. Four years later starting yesterday they are growling and hissing at each other. What are we supposed to do? This morning they were actually fighting. Please help.

    1. Hi there,

      Your cat might just not want the person to get up! Here are some other articles that might provide some insight:
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-problems-tips-cats-aggressive-aggression
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/lets-talk-angry-cat-sounds-and-how-to-handle-them
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-noises-what-they-mean
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/what-do-different-cat-meow-sounds-mean

  7. My cat Diamond growls and hisses at everyone and will even swat at people. I got her at 5 weeks old and we lived alone for 2 yrs with out company visiting. Then when she was 2 1/2 my sister moved in with her 2 adult cats ( 5 & 7 yr old cats). But Diamond took an instant liking to the cats and hates people. It’s now been 4 yrs living arrangement. And Diamond (now 6 yrs old) is still very upset with it all. She hisses and growls with ears laid back and swatting at people (glad she can’t scratch). Took Diamond a full year before she would let my sister pet her without all the drama. Just last week I was upset and crying and she hissed & growled at me. She growls at my daughter and grandkids, everyone just laughs at her and leaves her alone. Everyone that comes to house is either scared of her or they just laugh. She’s actually quite hilarious but she’s dead serious, she likes no one invading her space. She hates all people except me.

    1. Hi Debbie,

      Sorry to hear you’re dealing with this! These articles might provide some further insight, too:
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-problems-tips-cats-aggressive-aggression
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/do-you-have-an-aggressive-cat
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-aggression
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/lets-talk-angry-cat-sounds-and-how-to-handle-them

      1. Had a feral tnr cat visiting us for months. One day she decided to go from skittish, scared and scary to poking her head in my door and jumping on my lap. She moved in. She does not meow. She growls at everything. Growls when I stop petting, growls to get petted, growls for food, list goes on. No difference in her growls. Thing to watch on her is her ears. She’s pretty awesome. <3

        1. We have 2 TNR ferals brother and sister.They are indoors and have been for 2 yrs. The male was attacked so after a vet visit they both were brought indoors. Our male usually growl if his sister is in his bed. He will also jump on her and push her so he can lay in her spot. They have become pretty friendly, he will get in my lap. She and I do a lot of high pitched squeaking noises back and forth,she allows me to pet her too. We enjoy both of them.

  8. My cat, Julius, would occasionally hiss and growl at my older cat, Romeo. Mostly after Romeo had been to the vet. Last December, just before Christmas, Julius started to hiss and growl at Romeo all the time. He would also run away from him. Come to find out, Romeo had cardiomyopathy and was starting to ‘throw’ blood clots. Romeo also had a heart murmur that no one heard until the very end. Sadly, I had to help my Romeo to the Rainbow Bridge on new years eve.
    I would suggest if you have a cat that starts to growl and/or hiss at your other cat(s), for no apparent reason, bring all of them to the vet for a check up.

  9. We have an adopted cat, Reddy Fox, who suffers from hyperesthesia (fear of his tail.) He seems weirdly wired, has a heart condition and was supposed to drop dead by 6 months old. He is now over 4 years old and going strong. His bouts usually are worse when he is hungry so I feed him when he begins with the low growl (which is not directed at us.)

    If anyone has any helpful ideas, I’d be grateful.

  10. My calico just doesn’t like other animals (except humans, including the vet) so she growls at the male cat, and sometimes more. Sometimes she’ll smack him in the face just for looking at her!

    My favorite boy only growled whenever someone knocked on the door, like a dog! He also growled at the vet’s, but using his mountain lion voice for greater effect, LOL.

  11. Cat growling is never good – immediately defuse the situation by introducing some super yummy food, like a special treat or raw chicken liver.

  12. I have two males and one female at the moment. The female, I’ve had as a kitten did not like the first male as he was bigger and younger when I adopted him. He wants to play but she says back off. However, she is more tolerant of the second male as he had been dumped after being adopted. He was very friendly and would rub me when I went to feed the ferals so she actually got used to his smell better.
    However, there have been a couple unaltered males who come to eat at separate times but once in awhile run into each other. That’s when I hear the growls/yowls!
    I’m still trying to TNR them but they are very scared.

  13. One of my cats growls after she’s pooped–she runs around the house growling. Another growls at things that startle or scare her, like noises outside. In the first instance, there’s no warning involved. In the second, probably. Go figure. They’re all individuals.

  14. My vet told me some cats growl because they’re Deaf!!!
    I learned this when I adopted a pure white Mao with blue eyes.
    People would beat her because they thought she was vicious, when she was just deaf! Of course, being misunderstood and beaten died help.
    Please people….According to many vets….cats And dogs can and usually growl a lot because of deafness and hearing loss too! Get their ears checked thoroughly for mites and disease and _deafness.
    Thanks..m???????? Andrea Gaines.

  15. We have 3 indoor cats (a brother & sister strays – we found homes for the other 2 -, she was actually concave from lack of food and also smaller – so we think the runt of the litter), and another feral cat which my husband rescued at work as a very little kitten b/c he had infected eyes which required we give him drops 3x a day (he got the name Little Guy since he was so tiny, but is now 16 lbs. and built like a [U.S.] football linebacker). The cats are 5 & 4 years old now, and the growler of the bunch is the little girl. Little Guy gets along with the other male, but is somewhat a bully to the girl – with the exception of waiting for dinner time in the kitchen, when she’ll take a swipe/ hit him. When he goes after her (sometimes chasing, or to get her move off of a spot he wants), she lets out very loud low growls and in catching her breath for more she actually snorts just like a pig. Sometimes it starts with snort and can be quite startling!

  16. Carole Williams

    My cat, Harper Lee, became the boss of the dogs and her littermates in the household whose two owners rescued her pregnant momcat. They said she was fearless. She’s not afraid of much in my apartment, even if something falls on the floor or I run the blow dryer. She used to growl when the garbage truck lumbered past the windows, but it does not bother her any more. However, she will growl when she hears other tenants talking outside in the parking lot, or hears one of their dogs barking outside. A few years ago, the couple across the hall would argue (thank God they moved!) and she would growl and run to the door. Otherwise, she’s talkative, and trills when I ask her where her favorite pipecleaner is.

  17. I have a couple of cats that growl whenever they hear strange noises. One is a female and the other is a male. The male cat recently got neutered and it seems like he’s afraid of everything so when he’s growling, I check to see what’s bothering him and he will let me go over and pet him on the head to comfort him. I feel like he’s just warning me that someone is around that I need to be aware of.

  18. One need only look at the level of healing of the cat scratches all over my hands and wrists to understand that I’ve finally figured out which growls are drama and which are warnings. :P I have many that are almost gone, a few more that are a little more visible, and only one recent one.

  19. Our cat, Emily, is almost two years old. We rescued her from Animal Control when she was 8 weeks old. She growls, yowls, and hisses many times a day. She even bats at our feet as we walk by when she’s in one of her “moods,” but never with claws out. She stand at the back door and meows, but when we open the door, she hisses and runs away. All the rest of the time, she is a normal cat. At first we were very concerned something was wrong, but the vet told me some cats are just like that. I have labeled her “special needs” and we just go with the flow when she is like this; we even have found the humor in it. She’s like a rebellious teenager who argues at the drop of a hat. She even growls and hisses when she is told no.

  20. My cat growls at cars, thunder, and people walking outside (even if it’s someone she knows well). She’s 3 years old and just recently started growling this year. Is this something I should be worried about? How can I comfort her?

    1. Try using Feliway diffusers in your home. They are worth the cost and can help your cat feel more calm. I have three going in my multiple cat household at all times and I really notice a difference in their stress levels when the diffusers run out.

  21. Hi my two cats are brother and sister we have had them from been 10weeks old now 3 took the male to vet for yr check up two days later took female for same thing when we got back the male cat went for her in a big way so she hid under the sofa for a little while she’s out now but under the table in the room and on a chair she is eating and will play on the chair with us but she growing and hissing at the male cat who is very laid back he will hiss at her some times she has become very nervous The vet have given tablets what else can I do any cat behaviourist you can recommend we live in Hull thank you

    1. Michaela Conlon

      Hi there Sandra,

      Thanks for commenting! This article provides more information on cat hissing:

      All About Cat Hissing — Why Do Cats Hiss?

      This article on ways to avoid a cat fight might help you as well:

      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/stop-cats-fighting

      Additionally, Rita Reimers’ Cat Behavior Coaching has helped many cat owners better understand their feline friends. Visit RitaReimers.com to read her cat behavior blog or to book a cat behavior coaching session.

    2. Stephanie Barnard

      This is why I take all 4 of my cats together for their annual wellness visits at the Vet. They can commiserate together and they all smell the same when they return home. This has worked for many years. When one has to go by herself, I usually have issues with the others for about 12 hours. Fortunately, it’s usually just avoidance of the “new comer” until they realize it’s their sister. Then, everyone is fine.

  22. One of my cats has, for the first time (7 yo) hidden under chair and growled long and low because we have put on her Advocat worm and flea treatment. The other really isn’t bothered.
    I’m ignoring her as I know she will sulk for 24 hours.

  23. My cat, Nola, huffs too! It’s actually how I found this article…I was trying to figure out why she was snorting. It seems it’s all connected to the new kitten I brought into the house about a month ago. Nola started with hissing and growling…as expected. Now she’s moved on to huffing (and not in the can of spray paint way)! Thankfully the kitten, Dante, seems used to it as this point. Hoping it’ll ease up eventually!

  24. I have a lovely cat who is just adorable before bed time, but I the morning, I often find a monster hiding in a corner growling and watching any move I make with her ears bend backwards. From my knowledge she is acting terrified of me, but I always talk to her calm and slowly, or even go to pet ger gently, yet her response is pure hate or frustration, but I can’t figure out why or how to stop this bad black circle :)

    1. Hi Mike —
      These pieces might help:
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-problems-tips-cats-aggressive-aggression
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cats-with-their-ears-back-what-it-means-in-cat-language
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/bond-with-new-cat
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/how-to-help-fearful-cat-feel-safe-secure-behavior-tips
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-training-behavior-tips-socializing-shy-cats
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/8-tips-for-bringing-a-shy-cat-out-of-her-shell

  25. I have a siamese Cat, She’s a handful of years old i’m not quite too sure…
    I recently have gotten a kitten. My older cat does NOT like this. She will hiss, growl, and run away.
    How do i make them comfortable with each other ?

    1. belvoir admin

      Hi Katie,

      Sorry to hear your cats are having issues! These articles might provide some insight:
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-training-introducing-new-cats-tips
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/how-to-introduce-new-cat-into-home
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/do-cats-need-other-cats
      Best of luck!

  26. I have a part Siamese male cat. He LOVES my husband and will jump up and purr while pawing him every chance he gets. I love my my cat but that affection is not returned. I will pick him up and scratch his neck or back and I have about 30 seconds before the growling starts. It’s so predictably it has become a joke around our house. I have never heard him growl or hiss at anyone besides me. He never becomes aggressive, just very vocal; even if he swats at me with his paws, its like he’s playing, his claws are always in, he never scratches me. If he goes to bite he is always very gentle and if I say “ow” he immediately stops, he has never even come close to piercing my skin. He wants to love on my husband and wrestle with me.

  27. Esther Troetschel

    My female cat only growls if she sees/meets a male cat. She is ok with females they just sniff and observe each other (at the vet at least). I think she is frightened of males. Does anyone know why this may be?

  28. Help!!!!!!
    My Girls are sisters and have been together all the time. In the last month one has been attacking the other. Moose will be sitting on our lap and Tank will walk past and Moose will swipe for her, also if Moose is sitting on the sofa and Tank walks past Moose will chase her up the stairs and growl at her. Why oh Why is she doing this and how can I stop this. Thank you in advance. X

  29. My blue (unknown origin that would need gene test) is a right old growler. This I take to be her expressing opinions. She is very talkative and has a full range of vocal sounds which she employs all the time. However, she is very quick to tell you when she is displeased…anything from mild ‘oh do stop that’ which you may be familiar with if you recall your mother trying to brush/comb your hair when you were young but feeling too old to have her attentions! To, ‘I’m warning you….'(and meaning it!)
    A recent UK vet’s TV programme recently featured a lovely farm lady who adopts and looks after lost cats. She had one with similar colouring to mine and was frightened of the growling as this was not the typical response she got from cats. It was no surprise to me and I could tell the growling was just informative not threatening!

  30. My new little tabby growls at the little boy I babysit in the afternoon! I believe it’s because when he would play with her, he would “attack” her with the toys (like I tried to tell him not to do!), so now she just really dislikes him! The funny part, though, is when we’re playing a game, she’ll jump up on the table, next to him! But then if he has to reach near her to draw a card or retrieve a dice, she’ll growl! She will also sit on the back of his chair (without growling) and will even purr if he’s leaning back with his head next to her, but if he reaches back to pet her, she growls! It’s too funny! She’s also never growled at anyone else, and she only growls at me when he is around! I’ve never had a kitty who hones in so much on just one person!

  31. My male, fixed, inside cat of 17 years for the past 3 years likes to scream at the top of his voice and usually at 3,4,5 a.m. He has two spots he sleeps at. Our bed on a small towel at the end of the bed and downstairs. He always has food, water and his litter box is clean. I had him to a vet and they said nothing was wrong physically. I have heard the same scream a few times when he is in my porch when he wants in. But at that time I know he wants me to open the door and let him in. Why this at night. Please help!

    1. Your 17 year old may be experiencing some dementia and nighttime can be disorienting as his hearing/eyesight probably aren’t the same as when he was younger. I have had this with a couple of my seniors. They want some reassurance. I usually just holler out at them to let them know where I am and they stop.

    2. Also besides from your kitty having a senior moment. The eyesight may not be too good at night anymore try adding some nightlights for him. Helped my senior when he would holler as we figured he was scared on his way to potty.

    3. I agree with the others, as our 18 year old cat recently began howling. She started when another cat took ill and it worsened after his passing. We have since adopted two other cats and added a night light to our bedroom. No more howling at all.

    4. Hi Carmen,
      Concerning your question about why your cat screams at dawn. My male, fixed, cat is an indoor/outdoor cat and we keep him in at night because the raccoons are out, but 3, 4, 5 a.m. is when he wants back out again. Possibly your cat wants out because cats are not really nocturnal but crepuscular which means they are active at dawn and twilight.
      Hope this helps.

  32. I had a part-Siamese male who growled when someone knocked on the door or rang the doorbell. He’d growl at strangers who came in the house on his way to a hiding spot. His two brothers, however, never did this. The ginger boy I have now will growl when he sees an unfamiliar cat or dog. He even growled at my dog when she surprised him once in the yard. However, he’s friendly to a small female raccoon and has never growled at her.

  33. I rescued a kitten from a farm in Iowa. She was about 2 months. I gave the farmer a towel, saying I wanted a female and told him to wrap her in the towel. He gave her to me and I wrapped her up with just her face showing. I spoke softly to her and she growled and hissed the whole way home. She was covered in fleas, so a deflea bath was in order. She definitely didn’t like it, but we wrapped her up again in a warm towel speaking softly, and flea combing her until she was free of fleas and dry. She was purrng loudly by the time we finished, we fed her and put her to bed. In the morning she acted like she was special baby (which she was) and rarely hissed or growled again. I think that we exhausted her and she loved the attention so much she thought she got a good deal. We named her “Metzie” which means “kitten” in German.

  34. Our three maine coons will growl if the see or hear a stranger come to the door. They also growl when UPS or FedEx trucks come up the drive way. They’re great watch cats and sound threatening, but then they go hide under the bed. LOL

  35. My male cat “loses it” when he is suddenly surprised, especially by the female cat. He goes absolutely bonkers, physically attacks her or me or anyone nearby. I have to scoop him up (very carefully) and take him to the bedroom, close the door, turn the lights down low and then let him cool out for a bit. I’ll go in there and pet him, hold him, and reassure him. It takes a while, but eventually he relaxes. Such drama!!

  36. I have four indoor cats, and the littlest one, a female Siamese, will growl at my big male if he tries to initiate play with her. She is plainly saying, “Paws off, buster!”

  37. One of our cats growls when he is sat in front of the door to go out when you are about to open it for him. Annoyance (Im guessing) because the door is not opened immediately he sits in front of it.

  38. Jennifer Barber-Bishop

    A cat I used to have growled whenever someone was coming up the walk to my door. It was a great doorbell.

  39. Tee ‘n’ the Wildlife

    My little hauspanther Twinkle, who rules the roost here, growls if some cat-brother-or-other walks around behind her when she’s eating: “Don’t you touch my tail!” And sometimes she snorts! She’s just the silliest!

  40. I have two cats, neither are growlers anymore. My younger cat (two years old) used to growl as a kitten when he had a toy in his mouth and the dog looked like she might approach him. He grew out of it, probably because he’s the larges animal in the house now and is no longer afraid she’ll steal his toys. He does huff though! I’ve never known anyone else with a huffing cat! He does it when he’s annoyed, not getting his way (like when I don’t move fast enough to feed him), or being held when he’d rather not be. I think it’s so funny and cute. He’s like a spoiled child XD

  41. My cat Katie that I adopted at her age of 4, makes those little puffs of air that are noticeable. The very first time I heard it, I thought she was hissing. My head swung around quickly and shows relaxing on the floor. I usually hear it 4, 5 times a day and it is charming. I love it. We all call it her “puff”. I asked other kitties in Katie’s blond there are a few others who make that charming puff. If you look at them, you will seethe are perfectly calm and at ease. It’sjust a sweet thing they do.

  42. My daughter moved and was not able to take her cat with her. I am temporarily housing her 1 year old kitty with my 11 year old cat. My cat hates her. She growls all time at her and sometimes at me. It has not been easy living with both cats.

  43. This past March I had adopted an older cat from a local shelter. The first day home I was scratching her under the chin the like most cats like and that was the first time she started growling. Then she would growl whenever I wanted her to get down from a spot she didn’t belong on (and I wasn’t even picking her up, just gently placing my hand on her side and trying to encourage her to get down). She also growled at my 8 yr. old cat every time I tried to introduce them (and my cat just wanted to be friends). After 10 days things escalated to her swatting my cat and scratching me when I went to pet her and I wound up returning her to the shelter. Things might have changed in time, but having to keep this cat locked up all day and during the night while I slept to insure that she didn’t injure my older cat was not a happy situation for any of us.

    3 days later I adopted a 9 month old kitten from a rescue group and I’m happy to say that it’s been a much different situation. She does the trilling sounds all day long, she’s a snuggle bunny with me and she and my other cat adore each other.

  44. My sister’s cat growls at me every time I visit them. There is no way I could approach or even touch the cat. As soon as I walk in he gives me his warning growl and I just try to ignore him. It’s a mystery. He is not very friendly with any other visitors either, but me he just hates. I am a cat lover and would like to pet him so much, but I can not. I just have to let him be.

    1. It may be that the cat is threatened by the smell of your cat on your clothes. My cat is like that with a close friend. We found that rubbing the cat with a towel and then rubbing the towel on my friend’s pant legs took care of the problem.

  45. The first time my cat growled was at fireworks going on in my neighborhood. He was about 8 months old and got in the window and growled at the noise. My husband doesn’t believe me because we’ve had cats for 40 years and never had a growler! He is, however, the friendliest and most loving cat. Sometimes when he’s running around the house playing, I’ll hear him growling at nothing!

  46. I have a feral cat, had her ober 12 years. I’ve had her since she was trapped at 3-weeks old. She still doesn’t want to be held, she screams the whole time I pick her up. I want to find out about soup. She loves home made soup. Tomatoes, butterbeans, corn, potatoes, beef, celery seed. She spent eat the beef but she loves everything else. Is this good for her and she goes to Brandermill Animal Hospital. Drs there are fantastic.

  47. My cat Shota, makes a low growl of annoyance when she gets picked up or held too long. She’s pretty and people looooove to try and hold her. I do not allow visitors to touch her if she does not initiate.
    If she growls with me when i lift her. I just put her down.

    Sometimes though, she growls while being held, so I go to put her down and she growls, so I let go and let her sit on me and she doesn’t leave but still growls! Guess I can’t do anything right lol!

    Seriously though, she’s a high anxiety animal, so I do my best but sometimes, cats are just weird.

  48. I have a rescue kitty who loves any and all human attention but detests the two other cats living in the house. If they stand or walk to close to her or even look at her she’ll growl loudly. They never retaliate, just back WAY up so I guess they already understand that all she’s saying is “don’t bother me ever”

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