Felines can be noisy creatures (especially at 3 a.m.), but cat chirping is one of the odder sounds you’ll hear. The occasional growl, hiss, meow, or purr is totally normal — but what about that weird chattering staccato sound your kitty emits usually after he or she has spotted something outside to chase? There are a few explanations for this kooky cat behavior.
Cats normally start chirping or chattering when they catch sight of a bird or squirrel in the backyard, though experts can’t agree on whether this noise is intended to lure prey by mimicry. One thing that is certain is that all cats, including wild ones, can chirp, so this noise isn’t a cause for concern.
Another explanation for cat chirping is that it indicates frustration at not being able to attack. Even if your kitty is a big old softie that wouldn’t last a minute against a big bad squirrel, he or she may still chatter at the sight of a bushy tail because the desire to hunt is hardwired. Some exasperated kitties may turn to hunting flies or even their humans (don’t worry, this shouldn’t last long) as a result.
If those reasons sound a bit morbid, the Humane Society of the United States has a sweeter, more heartwarming explanation. They explain that the trilling and chirping sounds are how mama cats communicate with their kittens. Basically, Mom is saying, “Follow me.” When your cats chirp at you, it probably means they want you to accompany them to the food bowls so they can point out how you’ve failed to refill their dishes in the last five minutes (gasp!). Cats also chirp when they talk to each other.
Kitties are smart creatures that know how to get what they want from you, be it pets, more food, or a piece of your chicken. If you notice your cat chirping at you a lot for seemingly no reason, you may want to pay extra attention; kitty is trying to tell you something.