Let’s Talk Cat Growling — Why Does Your Cat Growl and How Should You React?

Is cat growling ever just your cat being “all talk”?

A gray kitten growling or hissing with his ears back.

Is your cat growling because he’s overdramatic? Photography ©scorpp | Thinkstock.

I know Gabby has behavioral issues. As much as I instruct guests in my home to please approach him appropriately or leave him alone, there will be people who ignore me and he will growl because he is confused, frustrated, and scared. But there are also times when he growls just out of sheer annoyance.

Four years into being his mom, I’m pretty attuned to what growls mean he’s really angry or when he’s being all talk (read: overdramatic). He’s a very vocal cat in the first place, so I understand the difference between a half-hearted growl that means he’s displeased but I can still (cautiously) walk past him or pick him up. And I know when he needs to be left alone to cool off.

“Cats can growl for a variety of reasons and from a long list of triggers,” explains Dr. Gibbons. “It can be difficult to determine which cat growls are simply vocalizing, and which cats would react physically following vocalization, so it is always best to work with a professional (veterinarian or animal behavioralist) if you have concerns with your cat growling.”

Tell us: Does your cat growl a lot or not so much? To you, what does cat growling sound like?

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