Cat Trilling: What Is It and Why Do Cats Trill?

Cats are very expressive animals. They do not only interact with one another but also with human beings. To interact with humans, they use different ways, such as by making different sounds like trill, which is also called feline chirping. With their bodies, facial expressions, and vocalizations, cats are able to express themselves and their requirements. So, trilling is an unusual sound that cats make. However, what is cat trilling ? Why do cats trill?


What Does Cat Trilling Mean?

To put it simply, cat trilling is a kind of vocalization that cats make for expressing themselves. In fact, cats make a variety of different sounds, from chirps to meowing and hisses to purrs. Unlike most other sounds, however, like meowing, trilling sounds are produced with a closed mouth. Rather than expelling the air, when cats trill, the air is pushed actually through the vocal cords.

The meaning of cat trill is a positive one. Female cats use trilling the most. This is because they use the trill for communicating with their kittens throughout the weaning and suckling period for calling their babies to them or inviting them to follow them. This is the reason that cats learn these vocalizations at a very young age.

Cat trill is best labeled as a high-pitched sound that is similar to soft rolling ‘Rs’, which is usually linked to Spanish. The sound produced is quite often fairly short, which lasts for a second or two. Generally, this trilling sound is linked to more high-pitched sounds and positive emotions.

Trilling falls under the same category of purring. This is because both are murmurs or vocalizations made with their mouth closed and employed for seeking attention, approval, recognition, and for greeting. Unlike purring, the trill always carries a friendly meaning. Purring is made by the glottis’s movement and is employed in a range of contexts. Small kittens also purr for expressing happiness and mother cats purr for reassuring their kittens. When they become adults, purring becomes an expression of gratitude.

On contrary, meowing could have negative or positive connotations. Just like purring, meowing tends to be deeper or lower sounds. It is quite difficult to say how many kinds of sounds a cat can make. However, it is definitely true that these diverse sounds enable very varied interactions. So, does your feline friend communicate with you through trilling?

Watch this video to see how a cat trills and purrs!

Reasons Why Your Feline Friend May Trill

There could be lots of reasons why cats trill. Usually, cat trilling is a positive sign. The willingness of a cat to trill could be seen as an indication of their ease, comfort, and trust in their owner.

Trilling Between Kitten and Mother

Mostly, female cats use trilling. This is because of the fact that when a kitten is very young, their mother cat trill at them as a sign for encouraging them to follow her or as a strategy for capturing their attention. This is how kittens learn this communication form early on. Because of their tendency of mimicking sounds, they will use trilling vocalization to greet people or other animals, or when they like to seek attention.


Adult cats, by contrast, often tend to employ trilling as a form of greeting other cats or their owners. Often, trilling is used by an adult cat as a sign of happiness and affection. Also, you may find cats trilling as an indication that they like you to pet them.

Seeking Attention

Apart from being a symbol of affection, trilling is even a way to attract the attention from you. If you find your cat trills persistently at you, they might be seeking undivided attention from you. This might even be an offer for youto pet them and spend time with them. If your feline friend continuous to look at you, whilst trilling and moving away, they may be requesting you to follow them. Cats will sometimes use trilling as a form of getting your attention so that they can show something to you.

A Kind of Communication

Trilling is a form of communication or as a sign of positive emotions. Feline friends will use trilling as a method for communicating with other feline beings and as an effective way to communicate with their owners. As long as you like to be indulged, you could even spend some minutes with them and take turns for exchanging trills.

When Does Trilling Become A Worry?

cat trilling

You should treat the trilling of your cat as a positive sign, even take it as a compliment. Usually, trilling signifies that they are comfortable and happy when they are with you. However, if your feline friend is growing old or older, then you need to pay close attention. In that case, trilling could mean a sign of something more severe.

In several instances, an elevation in the trilling of your cat or even, excessive, sudden trilling could be a symptom that your furry friend is injured, in pain, or unwell. Then, you should look for the reason behind your feline’s increased trilling. Also, be sure to resolve the problem. If you are not sure whether you should be concerned or not, it is best to consult your vet.

Why Does Not Your Cat Trill?

So, not every cat will trill. The amount of trilling differs with personality. Mostly, trilling is a kind of reflection of the personality of a cat. Cats with more extroverted, livelier personalities will more likely trill.

Do some feline animals use the cat trill more as compared to others? The answer is yes. Usually, the trill is normal in cats with more bubbly, lively, and expansive personalities. On the other hand, shy beings find it extremely tough to express themselves. Also, they are more discreet to display their true emotions.

So, if your furry friend is extremely shy, then they will not trill often. This is because they find it quite hard to express their true emotions. In the same way, some cat breeds are likely to trill more than others. For instance, cats with Siamese, Scottish Fold, or Maine Coon blood tend to be talkative than others.


As we all know, cats express their feelings by meowing. However, what we do not know is that cats even interact with one another as well as with use through specific vocalizations. One of the unusual and the most intriguing ones is the cat trill.

So, cats have different ways to tell about their needs and to express their feelings. Cat trilling is a simple way of communication and usually a positive form. Whether your feline friend greets you, seeks attention, or wants to pet, they are going to trill. So, all you need to do is to trill back and have fun communicating with your trilling cat!

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Luna Tran

My name is Luna and I am a great cat lover and a cat owner of three lovely cats. I have owned many cats till now and have dedicated many years to nurturing and caring cats. Through this blog, I am here to share my knowledge and experience about cats.