Cats have their own ways of communicating with their humans. While they are better known for purring and meowing, you may find your cat grunting frequently as well. These are common noises that cats use to communicate, although a grunt can express different things among cats.
There are many different reasons why your cat is grunting. It may be feeling communicative, relaxed, motherly, or it may be exerting itself physically. However, grunting can also be a sign of an underlying health condition that should be checked by a veterinarian.
In the rest of this article, we will explore the many possible reasons why your cat is grunting at you. We will see some of the positive reasons why your cat may be making this noise, as well as when these grunts should be taken as warning signs.
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Little Grunting Noises Can Be Positive
There are plenty of endearing reasons why your cat is making little grunting noises that are unrelated to health problems or other emergencies. Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons your cat may be grunting at you in happiness.
Means of Communication
Any cat owner can tell you that cats have many peculiar ways of expressing themselves to their owners. Some cats are particularly vocal and communicative with their owners, and they may utilize a grunt from time to time instead of purring or meowing.
Cats have unique personalities, and you should observe your cat to see what mood makes them grunt. Some cats may grunt when they want to positively interact with you.
Others may grunt when they are feeling hungry or processing their food.
When you notice the repeated conditions that make your cat grunt, you will be able to better understand what they are trying to say. If your cat seems content while they are grunting at you, this is a positive sign that your cat feels secure enough to “talk” with you.
If you want to encourage more verbal communication between you and your cat, be sure to react warmly to your cat’s noises. By talking with them and giving them affection and attention when they talk to you, you will encourage this behavior.
If your cat’s noises bother you, you will want to avoid engaging with your cat while it is being talkative.
While some cats grunt when they want to talk to you, others will only grunt in connection with sleep. When some cats enter a truly relaxed state, it is not uncommon for them to emit a little grunting noise. This is a positive sign, showing that your cat is feeling completely safe and at ease.
Cats may also grunt as they are falling asleep. If they are experiencing dreams or a deeply relaxing sleep, they may make little grunting noises as they snooze.
Humans are also known to emit little grunts as they get ready to fall asleep or as they are just waking up. Your cat likely has a similar habit, and when you hear them give a little grunt, they might be extremely relaxed and about to fall asleep.
Similar to humans, cats may grunt when they are exerting themselves physically. It is similar to the way humans may grunt when picking up something heavy. You may notice your cat emitting a little grunt when it takes a big leap or performs another impressive physical movement.
Female cats will often use their grunts to get the attention of their kittens. A mother cat may make a grunting noise in order to get her kittens to follow her somewhere or to gather around her for feeding time.
Your cat may make this noise even if she is not a mother. It can be a bit like an excited purr, where she is happy and maybe even excited and lets out a little grunt to express herself.
To learn more about this particular type of cat vocalization, you can check out this Youtube video:
Little Grunting Noises Might Be a Sign Of Distress
Not all grunts are cute and sweet. Sometimes your cat might be grunting to communicate with you that something is wrong. If you suspect that your cat’s grunts are not an expression of affection or relaxation, keep reading to find out what else they might mean.
Sign of Obesity
If your cat is overweight, it may struggle with excessive grunting. The excess weight that your cat is carrying is likely pushing on its airways, making them more constricted. When the airways are compressed like this, your cat may emit more grunting noises.
Obesity is a common problem for domestic cats and is defined when their weight is 20% higher than normal. While it is a widespread problem, it is also a very serious one.
If your cat becomes obese, there is a wide range of other severe health issues they can develop more easily.
If you notice your cat is looking bigger and grunting more, it’s possible that it is carrying too much weight around. You will want to speak to your veterinarian about a weight loss program that is right for your cat and its health.
Expression of Pain
Particularly if the grunting has started suddenly and is quite noticeable, your cat may be expressing the pain it is experiencing. Perhaps your cat is developing a health condition or is experiencing another physical problem.
They may be grunting to communicate this pain to you.
If you believe this is the reason why your cat has started grunting more often, look for any patterns. If your cat always grunts in a particular position or when it moves in a certain way, take note.
This can help you explain the situation to your vet and get to the bottom of your cat’s health problem.
If you have a brachycephalic cat breed, like a Persian, Himalayan, or Burmese cat, you will want to pay extra attention to changes in their breath and grunts. These are short-nosed cat breeds that tend to develop breathing problems more commonly than other breeds of cats with more elongated noses.
These breeds are particularly at risk when it comes to abnormal breathing conditions.
Their airways can be too narrow as their palettes may be too soft and long, and they may have abnormalities in their throats and larynxes.
These issues can make their breathing much noisier, including excessive grunting when awake or asleep. While these conditions are common in these breeds of cats, they are still serious and should be monitored by your vet.
What To Do About It
If you’re concerned that your cat’s grunting is a sign of pain, an underlying health condition, or due to its weight, you will want to seek professional help. You will want to take note if the grunting is more frequent or louder than before, as this can signal a change in your cat.
Taking a video of your cat while it is making these noises is a great way to inform your vet of the situation accurately. This evidence can help your vet better understand if your cat is making the noises out of relaxation or if there is a potential health problem.
For more advice on what to do if your cat is experiencing more grunting than usual, you can check out this informative video on Youtube:
If you’re curious why your cat is grunting, there are many explanations. It may be trying to connect and communicate with you, eliciting a verbal response from you in return for its grunt.
It may also be feeling relaxed or sleepy, or it could be exerting itself physically.
On the other hand, grunting can be a sign of something more serious, such as restricted airways and more serious breathing conditions. It can be caused by obesity or your cat’s breed. If you suspect that the grunts are serious, you will want to have them examined by your vet right away.
- Cornell Feline Health Center: Obesity
- FAQ Cats: Why Do Cats Grunt?
- Quora: Why Is My Cat So Vocal?
- VCA Hospitals: Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in Cats
- Youtube: Cat Vocalizations and What They Mean
- Youtube: Why Is My Cat Snoring and Grunting?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.