Categories: vocalising anxiety

Domestic cat makes weird cat sound but how weird is it?

Kelso, Washington, USA: Elizabeth Opdycke, 22, and her husband, Michael, must have sent a video of their cat calling from an area of their home to the Daily Mail online. The sound that their cat, Clark, makes is clearly unusual. It is definitely a call to attract the attention of the significant others in the home. It is not a close encounter vocalisation like a meow or purr but designed to be heard at a distance.

Elizabeth with Clark and Bea their other cat

Is this domestic cat sound weird? I don’t think it is; unusual but but not weird and within the range of domestic cat sounds. We have to remember that all domestic cats have a wide range of vocalisations which are personalised versions of the standard sounds that we expect. We should not expect domestic cats to stick to the regulation sounds as listed in books and on the internet.

Video of Clark calling

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Personalised

For instance I have a visiting cat who never meows or makes any sounds other than a trill. She never opens her mouth; it is a closed mouth trill. She just trills all the time. It is a very individualistic way for a domestic cat to communicate but it is within the range of sounds that I’d expect. It is about expectation management from humans really. People tend to think that all cats are the same. They are individuals both in character, behaviour and the sounds they make.

Anxious?

In the video, Clark is vocalising his version of a caterwaul but there is no sexual context as far as I can tell. It is just a call to his human guardians. It seems that he is confused and lost. He appears to be anxious. These apparent emotions may be why he called in this way. It would be nice to know the context in which the call was made. I sense that he is an anxious cat in general. It may be a good idea to have a look at the underlying causes if I am correct. This may be a version of separation anxiety although he is not separated. He may have the fear of separation.

Elizabeth says that Clark is pretty vocal and yells like this around the house and that it was unusual for him to call in this way in front of her. She was filming him so we can see how close she was to him.

This is a still a long range call despite her close proximity to Clark. It is just that Clark is calling instinctively. He may be calling for her husband, Michael who is not in the room.

CONCUSION: we should expect big differences in cat sounds and some just don’t fit in to the list of sounds provided by the experts. If a cat feels the need to vocalise a lot, it would be wise to investigate the emotional reason. There will be one. Is Clark a rescue cat? What were his early years like? I’d start there.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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