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Why Do Cats Chirp? 3 Reasons for This Behavior

cat outside the window
Image Credit: ANGELA NEWMAN, Unsplash
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

Cats are known for meowing and hissing, but they can also chirp. This is a communication noise that most people are not aware of unless they have experience as cat parents. Chirping, or chirruping, is a normal noise for cats to make, so no alarm is necessary the first time you hear it. A cat chirping sounds like a bird chirping, but it is usually rhythmic in nature. Some people think that a cat chirp sounds like a goat bleep, but much higher pitched. So, why do cats chirp? Here are five reasons for this interesting behavior.

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The 3 Reasons Why Do Cats Chirp

1. It Can Be a Form of Salutation

Even though most cats act independent, they get peppy when their human parents arrive home from a long day of work or overnight vacation. They have missed their parents and want to greet them by chirping. Some cats will even chirp at their human parents any time they walk in from another room. They may chirp at other cats they live with when they greet each other after a nap and want to play.

white cat chirping
Image Credit: Deedee86, Pixabay

2. It Can Be Due to Excitement

Another reason a cat might chirp is due to excitement. Chasing a plush toy or ball, playing with kids, and even watching other cats play can make a cat want to show their excitement by chirping. Waiting patiently for a treat can excite a cat enough to let out a chirp or two as well. You never know when a cat will surprise you with an exciting chirp.

3. It Can Be Because of Prey Drive

A cat’s prey drive can get them into the mood to chirp. In fact, being in the hunting mood is the biggest reason for a cat to chirp. Many cats will chirp at birds that they spy through a window in their home, making it seem like they are mimicking the bird. However, they are not mimicking, but instead, they are plotting a path to hunt the bird down. Some cats also chirp at their toys when using the toys as prey.

Cats tend to look happy and relaxed when chirping due to excitement or when saying a hello. But cats that chirp due to their prey drive are erect, alert, and ready to pounce.

Tortoiseshell cat looking out of the window
Image Credit: Michaela Filipcikova, Unsplash

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Ways to Get Your Cat to Chirp

If you want to hear your cat chirp, you can try teasing them with a feather on a stick, acting as if the feather is prey. Alternatively, you can try turning an electronic toy rat or bird on and putting it on the floor in the middle of the room. Try using treats to entice your cat to chirp when you get home after being gone for a few hours. Your best bet is to just keep an ear out so you can catch your cat chirping naturally.

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Final Thoughts

Now that you know why cats chirp and you have an idea of what cat chirping sounds like, you will be able to recognize this specific type of communication more easily when it occurs. Not all cats chirp, so you may not hear your cat make the noise. However, just because a cat has never chirped before does not mean that it never will. Be patient — it could happen at any time!

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Featured Image Credit: ANGELA NEWMAN, Unsplash

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

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