Why Do Cats Chatter?

Your cat is crouched on your window sill. It is very tense and intently focused on a squirrel, a bird or some other prey. The jaws of your cat are slightly parted and the tail is lashing as it produces some chattering cry. The chatter almost sounds like the bird.

It is always fascinating to watch your cat inn predator mode. But you just cannot help but wonder, is something wrong? Is the cat feeling unwell? Is she trying to communicate something? But simply put, you have nothing to worry about.

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Why do Cats Chatter at Birds 

The fact that cat do not do this as often has led to most people being unaware of it. Up to this day, cat chattering is for the most art a mystery. Scientists have not yet given a tangible reason why cats chatter.

However, they have shown some light on how it happens. It is simple. The cat opens its mouth and makes a very different and unique sound. In this moment, the mouth is wide open and vibrating. The teeth are visible.

Cats feature some modified scent glands located on the roof of the mouth and just behind the nose. The glands are referred to as VNO (Vomer nasal organs). When a cat chatters, it could probably be moving the air right across the said glands to get an even better idea of its prey. So basically what a cat is saying when it is chattering is, ‘I can definitely see you, I am interested, but somehow, I cannot seem to smell you.’

So is cat chattering normal? Yes, it is. The lack of scientific evidence to support its occurrence does not mean it is not. Actually, there are several theories that try to explain chattering in cats. You can prefer any theory you wish.


The chattering behaviour some cats indulge in when they see a squirrel or a bird is popularly believed to be as a result of some deep rooted predator instinct in them. Large and small cats in the world are believed to exhibit this behaviour.

They do this when they are not in a position to reach the prey they are eyeing. You might have noticed that this happens when the cat is viewing their prey from behind a window. Some scientists say that the chattering happens as the cat is trying to express its frustration. Aside from prey, the frustration may also build up when chasing a laser point. Simply put, chattering occurs when the cat cannot get to something it wants.

 The other theory is slightly more violent. It explains that the chattering by cats is more of a reflex when they are about to kill their prey. Speaking of killing, cats are almost perfect hunters. They have an innate ability to kill prey that is considerably bigger.

Being predators, cats kill their prey using their teeth. They go for the jugular on the neck of the prey’s head. Chattering after felling a prey provides insight on a cat’s feeling of victory.

The last theory states that cats chatter to express their expression when they see a bird. As you might have already noticed, birds seem to be the favourite prey for most cats. They particularly love chasing the small birds.

As a matter of fact, there are some cats that prefer hunting birds compared to mice. But on the other hand, a cat that has never successfully hunted a bird does not consider them as favourite prey types.

So why do cats chatter? Well, from the theories above, it is probably is a predator thing, denotes frustration or better still, shows excitement.

What Should You Do If Your Cat Chatters?

If you notice that your cat sits at the window and chatters as it watches the birds fly low playfully, you should seize the moment and engage him in an interactive playful session. It will be more inclined to play with you as it is already excited.

Playing with your cat will also help it feel as though it has ‘captured’ and conquered a prey. On the flip side of things, if the chatter is caused by building frustration, playing will help channel the frustration and leave the cat feeling fulfilled.

Leaving you cat to itself when it is chattering is an option, but not the best. It does not provide a calming effect like playing with it does.

But the downside of engaging your cat when it chatters is that in that moment, the cat plays more aggressively and for longer. Unfortunately, this also means that the cat just might accidentally scratch you. As such, you should exercise caution when playing with the cat. Wear gloves if you must to protect yourself from the sharp cat claws.

How Can I Safely Engage My Cat When It Is Frustrated And Chattering?

When chattering, cats tend to overdo everything. While you may want to engage it, the idea of having protective clothing to avoid getting bitten or scratched just does not sit well with you.

In this case, you can get a toy. The Lictin Butterfly Toy and the SmartyKat Electronic Sound Toy will help to engage the cat, ease its frustration and keep you safe.

Facts about Cats Chattering

We have already established that cats chatter. And we know why cats chatter. But now the question is, can a cat chatter at its owner? And when if it does, what conditions are necessary for it to happen?

Well, first and foremost, yes, cats can chatter at their owners. This is however, a rare occurrence. But nonetheless, it can happen. The explanation as to why cats chatter at humans is simply frustration.

In the event you do not spend quality time with your cat and afford it the attention it deserves, there are high chances that it will chatter. Chattering in this case is designed to help calm your cat down. In the same light, note that cats can also chatter at small bugs as well.

Now, as mentioned above, the main cause of chattering in cats is frustration. To help ease the frustration, you may decide to play with your at or even feed it. But do bear in mind that animals detest being distracted from their food. It is common knowledge that dogs will attack once you interfere with them when they are having meals. What most persons are not aware of is that cats being highly instinctive animals react in almost the same way.

The inference is that you should not dare disturb your cat when it is eating without protective gloves. But if you are looking to hear your cat chatter, then by all means proceed. Just be sure to be safe.

Why Does My Cat Chatter When I Sneeze?

This is incredibly rare. But all the same, some people have experienced it. Why does it happen? Again, it is all about frustration. If you have noticed your cat chatters when you sneeze, it only means that you are doing it way too close.

Cats dislike the whole idea of having air blown at their face. When you sneeze, you inadvertently blow on its face. This gets the cat very upset. At first, you cat may try to silently get away from you. However, if you insist on not letting it get away, it will start chattering and probably even scratch you violently.

It Is a Predator Thing After all

Cats make a lot of noises aside from chattering. All of which have their own meaning. Chattering in cats, however, when all is said and done, is a predator thing coupled with frustration. It is perfectly normal for cats to do so.

Rebecca Welters

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington.

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