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Why Do Cats Growl – Behavioral Concerns And More!

Why Do Cats Growl – Behavioral Concerns And More!

It can be challenging to interpret all of the sounds your cat makes, especially growling. There is a whole range of tones and inflections cats use, and they all convey different emotions. Sometimes these sounds can be sweet, and sometimes they can be a signal that your cat is unhappy. So, why do cats growl?

Cats growl when they are feeling angry or frightened. Growling indicates that your cat is upset about something happening in its surroundings. Distress, pain, can cause cats to growl, however it is not always a sign of aggression.

While growling is a concern at first, it does not always mean your cat is unhappy. Mostly, it’s your cat communicating something to you, and sometimes it’s a happy thing. Read on to discover more about why cats growl and what you can do about it.

Reasons Cats Growl

There are five key reasons why a cat growls, lets dive into each of those below.

Your Cat Is Trying To Communicate 

All forms of vocalization from cats are a way for them to communicate with their owners through nonverbal messages. Cats that are happy usually express this through purring, and cats that are not happy may growl or hiss to show you their displeasure about a situation.

Your Cat Feels Threatened 

A low-pitched growl is a sound cats often make when they feel they have been cornered or threatened by another person or animal. Often you will also see them arch their back and strike a defensive pose while making this sound. 

Your Cat Feels Insecure 

Cats also growl when they are around unfamiliar people or animals. Growling is a way for them to present a tough appearance, while they really may be feeling insecure or shy. 

Growling is a way for cats to mask their insecurities in front of others. They are especially likely to do this if an unfamiliar person makes a sudden movement to get close to them.

Your Cat Is Guarding His Or Her Food 

Cats can be pretty territorial animals, especially when it comes to guarding their food bowl. If your cat thinks you are trying to take their food away, or if you get too close to their face while they are eating, you might hear your cat growl at you.

This can be a scary moment, and it’s best to train your cat not to be territorial around food to prevent anyone from getting hurt during mealtime.

Your Cat Is Protecting You 

Sometimes cats may growl as a warning mechanism to other animals that they are ready to attack if necessary. If you have a loyal and loving cat, they might act possessive if another person or animal is trying to harm their owner. Cats are pretty loyal and may growl as a way to let them know they will protect you at all costs. 

Is It Normal For Cats To Growl

Yes, it is normal for your cat to growl occasionally when they are feeling angry or scared. Hopefully, this is not a sound you hear very often from your cat, as it can indicate your cat has been set off by something in their environment. 

Cats may exhibit their most aggressive behaviors when they are in a growling mood, so do your best to diffuse the situation if you see your cat feeling this way.

What Does A Cat Growl Sound Like 

When a cat starts growling, it usually sounds like a low throaty groan or a hissing noise. You can usually tell when your cat is upset about something because their growl will take on an angry tone. Typically a cat this is growling will sound similar to the sound a dog makes when it is growling. 

Along with the growl, cats may also angrily swish their tale or curl their lips and expose their teeth while growling as well. 

What Does A Low Growl From A Cat Mean

If your cat is making a low growling noise, they are letting you know they need you to keep your distance and back away from what you are doing. When your cat is making this noise, it is likely after an incident that upset them. 

This could be anything from another animal trying to lick them or get too close to your cat getting upset because they are tired of you petting them. Cats are the most likely to strike or swipe their paw at someone while they are in this type of mood as a defensive reaction.

Why Does My Cat Growl Like A Dog 

Your cat might growl like a dog because they protect their territory or home turf like a dog would. Often animals will make a growling noise when new people or animals are invited into their space. If a cat is bothered or unsure about the other animal, it will often growl to alert everyone.  

Why Does My Cat Growl When I Pet Him

If your cat is growling when you go to pet him, that is a direct sign that they are not interested in being petted or receiving attention at the moment. Some cats are very particular about when they want to receive affection and may growl when it is not wanted. 

Additionally, a cat might be growling while you pet them if they don’t like where you are petting them. Sometimes cats are very sensitive and do not like anyone touching their tails or paws. 

Why Does My Cat Growl All The Time?

If your cat is frequently growling and it does not seem to be prompted by a specific scenario, you may want to take your cat to the vet for a complete wellness checkup.

Sometimes growling or any change in your cat’s vocalization can indicate that they are in pain. If they are growling while they eat, this could indicate their teeth are causing them physical pain. Observe in which scenarios they most frequently do this to pinpoint what is hurting them.

Why Do Cats Growl At Night

Cats may growl at night because they are spooked or alerting you about something they see while sleeping. It depends on your cat’s personality, but some cats are quite easily scared by just about anything! 

Cats cannot see in total darkness, but they do have very advanced night vision that is far better than that of a human. Thanks to this, cats may notice something moving in their frame of vision at night and growl as they see it as a potential threat. 

Why Do Cats Growl At Strangers 

A cat might growl at a stranger merely because the person is unfamiliar and your cat does not recognize their face or scent.

This is a great reason to try and socialize your cat while they are young, as you can train your cat to be approachable and friendly with new people. This is an essential skill for cats because there may come a time when someone new has to feed your cat or watch them while you are out of town, and you do not want your cat to act hostile.

Why Do Cats Growl At Kittens 

When your cat growls at a new kitten you have brought into your family, they act territorial over their home. Typically cats take a while to warm up other cats, especially when introducing the new cat into your home environment.

Cats are often more solitary animals, and they like to be in control. A new kitten presents an outside threat, so to avoid either animal getting hostile, try to introduce them to each other slowly. 

Why Do Cats Growl When Eating

A cat will growl while eating if they think someone is about to take their food away from them. Cats see their food as a resource they must protect and guard at all costs, and their natural response is to growl at anyone who tries to get between them and their food. 

It is a best practice to avoid ever picking up your cat’s food or bothering them while they are in the process of eating, as this is a very sensitive time for them. If your cat ever lived in the wild or was the runt of the litter, they may be used to having to fight for their food and act territorial to ensure they get their meal. 

Other Considerations

You always want to give a lot of space to a growling cat until they settle down and feel more comfortable again. If you feel like your cat is constantly irritable, evaluate whether anything has drastically changed in their home environment. 

Cats are very routine-oriented animals and do not like significant changes to their schedule. If you suddenly start feeding them at a different time of day or move homes, they may start growling and acting out. 

They might also do this if you suddenly bring home another cat or dog. If your cat was used to being the only animal in the home, they might be upset that they share their owner with someone else. Recognizing why your cat is upset is the best way to resolve their unhappy feelings!