There are some singing cats on YouTube. The star, ‘signing cat’ is the one in the video below.
It is by pure chance that the sound this cat makes has hints of the sound of a person signing. All domestic cats have the potential to make this sound but not all do. There are a lot of variations on it but, at root, it is the dame vocalization. It is a vocalization which is not listed in the books.
The answer as to what the sound means can be found on the cat’s face and demeanour, I believe. Also, you’ll notice that the cat licks his nose in between ‘singing’. When cats lick their nose in this way they are demonstrating uncertainty as to what to do next. It is called ‘displacement activity or behavior’. A human version of it would be to scratch the head or bite nails. This supports my theory that….
Domestic cats making this sound are, in my opinion, demonstrating anxiety to varying degrees. For me it is ‘vocalised anxiety’. Perhaps it is like us saying “oh no..” There is uncertainty in the cat’s mind about the impending outcome. But why is the cat making this sound? I believe it is because (a) he wants what is happening in front of him to stop and (b) it is an emotional, instinctive response.
So what is the guy doing in front of his cat which makes him ‘sing’? He is carrying a video camera. It is my belief that the camera and perhaps the presence of the man himself, which makes the cat anxious. The cat will only ‘sing’ under certain and specific conditions. It may be that the only condition is when this man videos this cat. That is fortuitous for the man because it meant he was able to make a million-hit video!
If you click on this link you’ll see another video of another cat vocalising in a similar way but with a sound that says “No No”. There is the same repetitive nature of the sound, which comes across in the “Incredible Singing Cat” video as a vibrato – a regular pulse of sound and change in pitch made by a human when singing.
Another sign of uncertainty in the mind of a cat is tail swishing from side to side. This mimics a cat climbing and using his tail to retain balance. In the mind of an uncertain cat there is a balance between two decisions and the cat isn’t sure which is the better one. He is in a state of mental conflict. He swishes his tail while he thinks.
Hear domestic cat sounds with full descriptions.