Do domestic cats chuff?

Domestic cats don’t chuff. Tigers chuff. It is a form of communication made at close range and part of the tiger’s greeting behaviour. The tiger chuff is sometimes described as a ‘prusten’. I believe that they are the same sound. It is a staccato puffing sound.

Domestic cat chattering not chuffing.
Domestic cat chattering not chuffing.
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There may be some confusion because on the internet there is a video (see below) which Google picks up and presents on the first page of its search results of a domestic cat making a sound which is described as chuffing.

This is not chuffing in my opinion. Domestic cats do not chuff as mentioned. This is a cat chattering at the sight and sound of his or her owner making a clicking sound with an object which is out of the frame and which creates a response in the cat as if he is looking at a bird.

You may have seen domestic cats chattering (see a page on this). Domestic cats often look out of the window at a bird and they may start chattering their jaws. It is believed that this is domestic cats practising the killing bite into the nape of a bird’s neck to kill it. Because the cat is unable to get at the bird he simply chatters as an act of frustration and practice – a “tooth-rattling stutter”. In this instance the cat is making a sound at the same time. Perhaps it is a vestigial you form of purring because he is content which when combined with the chattering produces what the videomaker has described as a chuff.

To reiterate, domestic cats do not chuff. The word chuff relates exclusively to the close range conversation between much larger cats, in this instance the tiger.


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8 thoughts on “Do domestic cats chuff?”

  1. I’ve seen articles saying some cats do chuff. The only ones I’m finding that say cats don’t chuff are your posts. Have you pursued in veterinary sciences? There are accounts of people’s vets even telling them that their cat is chuffing, and I’d assume a vet, or multiple in this case, knows the difference between a chuff and a chatter. Absolutely no offense to you, you can believe whatever you want no matter how right or wrong you are, but I’m going to listen to veterinarians over some guy on the internet who just insists he’s not wrong.

    • The word ‘chuff’ describes a wild cat sound. The domestic cat meow is very variable but it is still a form of meow. It is about semantics. Do what you like. I am correct.

  2. Yes some domestic cats do chuff it’s not super common though and most don’t even notice when a cats doing it. My Tabby cat does it when hes wanting me to play fetch with him and when hes excited with his toys. My other cat doesn’t make the noise at all. So to the person who wrote the article you need to find a topic you actually know something more about. You are very wrong on this topic you clearly do not know enough about domestic cats to state this as a fact, sorry! No one sits here and gets chuffing confused with chattering or trilling, just saying!! lmao.

    • Well I guess the point here is that domestic cats do make some weird sounds which don’t sound like meows. But the word ‘chuff’ is one which applies to the wild species which is why I have stated that domestic cats don’t make this sound. The written description ‘chuff’ is odd because what sort of sound does it describe?

      I disagree with you. I am not wrong. But thanks for taking the time to express your thoughts.

  3. My cats chuff at each other at night when they see each other and are ready to play. I know what chattering is as both chatter at birds all the time. They both exhibit the characteristics of chuffing as their mouths are closed and they bob their heads. I don’t think you should be making absolutes in this field.

    • Just saw your post. I had a domestic cat that also chuffed and I filmed it. I definitely know the difference between chattering and chuffing, so I think whoever wrote this article is incorrect.


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