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Why Does My Cat Chatter At Me? (Menacing Intentions?)

If you have noticed that your cat is chattering you may be wondering why it is doing this and if it should be cause for concern…

Why does my cat chatter at me?

A cat may chatter at you, or near you, in response to its prey. There is a theory that these cats try to emulate the sound of their prey while they do this, hence the chattering sound. If it chatters at you, it could be in response to your sneezing, commonly known as a cackle. This chattering may also sound similar to chirping, but it has a slight difference in sound.

So, now you know. But, should you prevent your cat from doing this? Can they chatter at another cat? Why do they do this when you sneeze? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

What is cat chattering?

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A cat with its mouth open & teeth showing

Cat chattering is a subtle sound a cat makes in response to seeing its prey. For example, you may see your cat standing near your window looking out on a bird table chattering away directing it to them. You may mistakenly think it’s directed to you, but that is unusual. It is usually directed to its prey.

There are many theories on the mental state of the cat when it is chattering. For example, some say they are excited, others say they are frustrated because they can’t get to them. But, either way, it seems to be a response to their prey being present.

Should I prevent my cat from chattering?

You should not prevent your cat from chattering. Firstly, it may be very difficult or borderline impossible to do that. Also, why? It’s a natural response that harms nobody, right? It may sound weird when you first hear it but, it doesn’t really harm anyone.

Also, if you tried to stop your cat from doing something natural to its existence it may cause it to resent or lose trust in you. You should feel happy that your cat is acting normal, and this is quite a common sound observed by other cat owners.

Can a cat chatter at another cat?

Cats are unlikely to chatter at another cat. This is because they typically direct this sound towards their prey and do not expect a response. You may also notice that cats rarely even meow at other cats. These noises are usually reserved for their attempts to communicate with their owner or other humans.

For example, have you ever been walking down the street and come across a stray or outdoor cat? What usually happens? In most cases, if it stops near you, it will meow for your attention. This is their attempt to communicate with you, right?

The only time you may hear cats meowing at each other is if they get agitated and fight, maybe over territory, or something else. If this happens you may hear them meowing aggressively while they tussle.

Why does my cat chatter at me when I sneeze

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Your cat may chatter when you sneeze to emulate the sound you made. This is commonly referred to as a cackle. When you sneeze you tend to make quite a distinctive sound that some cats react in this way.

So, if your cat chatters at you when you sneeze and you have wondered why this has happened, you now have an idea of why this may be happening and what it is commonly known as. If you think about it even humans react instantly to you sneezing, right? Most people at least say “bless you”.

Why is it important to interpret your cat’s voice & noises?

It’s important to listen, and understand your cat’s various noises because it will help you to help your cat when they need you. This is not just limited to meowing, other sounds, like squeaking,  may indicate they are in pain or need something urgently from you.

If you have heard various noises from your cat and tend to overlook them as, just noise, now you know the importance of taking the time to interpret them and how this can help you look after them better.

It is similar to having a baby. They can’t talk so they use their sounds, and crying, as a way to communicate their feeling as emotions to get you to provide what they need.

I remember, raising our firstborn son, and he had milk allergies, but we had no idea why he was crying and not sleeping until he was much older. And, it seems these simple cries, and sounds were a sign to us to look into his diet.

Is chattering and chirping the same thing?

Cat chattering and chirping are similar but not the same. The sound is slightly different when you listen closely, and the meaning behind it can differ as well. This is why it’s worth taking the time to learn what these subtle differences are to improve your care for your cat.

If you have ever heard people talking about chattering and chirping and assumed they were the same and you were looking for some confirmation, now you know that they are not the same and why they are not.

Do cats use their teeth when they chatter?

Cats are known to use their teeth when they chatter. They are often seen looking out at their prey chattering away subtly flapping their teeth at their prey. Some say this is part of their hunting procedure but this seems unproven.

Also, when you witness cat hunting one thing you will notice is how careful they are to stay quiet. So, the thought of them chattering while they hunt their prey sounds far-fetched.

Is chattering used to fool your cat’s prey?

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A cat looking at a mouse on a table.

Some people believe that cats use this chattering as a way to fool their prey to come closer. However, I practice this may be difficult to work. Why? Well, just the presence of a cat is enough to make their prey run for their lives. So, any sound from the cat would likely alert them t run.

Here are three other ways cats fool their prey:

  • Speed: They know that their prey can’t outrun them, but their prey are often fooled into thinking they have even half a chance.
  • Silence: Most animals cats prey on will rely on either seeing them or in most cases hearing them before they see them. So, cats use silence to fool them and catch them easier.
  • Intelligence: Cats may not seem like scientists, but in comparison to their prey, such as mice, they are very intelligent and use this to fool and put-smart them.

This is why most cats hunt in a stealth-like manner so they can catch their prey off-guard and take them down. This chattering, on the other hand, would simply send a big warning sound to their prey, in my opinion.

How is a cat’s body positioned when they chatter?

As a cat focuses on its prey and chatters, it may change its posture and focus its eyes widely on its prey. This is believed to be because they are focused and simulating an attack on their prey, even if they are stuck indoors, looking out at their prey.

So, if you have seen your cat act similar to this, and wondered if this change of stance, while they chatter, is intended then now you know.

Lindsey Browlingdon