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All cats make sounds, though some kitties are more vocal than others. Meowing, purring, hissing and growling are some common cat noises— but what about cat howling? Is it normal for cats to howl, and if so, why do cats howl? If these are questions you’ve asked yourself, you’ve come to the right place … read on to learn more about cat howling!

First, what does cat howling sound like?

A cat howling sounds like typical cat meowing, except more drawn out — and sometimes deeper. There can also be a melodic quality to it.

Why is your cat howling?

Cats usually meow to communicate with humans. They use the vocalization to ask for food, attention, to be let in or out of a room or any number of day-to-day reasons. With cat howling, however, there’s typically something more unusual at play. Some of the reasons for cat howling may include …

1. Cat howling happens because your cat isn’t spayed or neutered

Marilyn Krieger, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and author of Naughty No More! says, “Whole females are known to howl. They howl to let the boys know they’re looking for boyfriends.” Males also howl when they sense there are ready-to-mate females nearby.

2. Cats howl because of boredom and stress

Cats who lack mental stimulation may start howling because they’re bored. This could mean they’re left alone too often or they don’t have the toys and resources to keep their brains active.

Cats could respond to anxiety with cat howling, too. Many cats become stressed when there are shifts in the household, including a move, change in the number of people or animals in the home, or even a switch in food or litter brand.

How does cat howling differ from dog howling?

An older calico cat with mouth open making sounds or noises.

Cat howling is different than dog howling. Photography © ablokhin | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

We’ve all heard howling dogs, right? Sometimes canines join together in choral “harmony.” In general, dogs can howl for different reasons than cats do. Additionally, they do it more often than cats do, and a lot of it has to do with genetics. Dogs are wired to howl because that’s the way of their wild ancestors, who howled to direct members of the pack home after they’d been away — kind of like a puppy version of Marco Polo.

Thumbnail: Photography © SensorSpot | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

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Mubashir Ali


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