Cat Making Clicking Sound – Why Do Cats Chatter?

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Why Do Cats Chatter

If you have a cat for a while, you might have seen a reaction like this a few times already.

Sometimes the cat makes a clicking noise with their mouth. This is known as ‘chattering’. S/he maintains an intense focus on something, their whiskers are pulled in front of the mouth and their jaws vibrate quickly. After all, it’s not regular feline behavior or dog behavior and these jaw clicks can even scare you into a vet visit.

It might be fascinating or even quite funny to watch when s/he’s doing this. But you might wonder what is actually happening or try to figure out if your dear kitty is trying to communicate something with his or her cat sounds.

Why do cats chatter their teeth? Is it ok?

Don’t worry. This behavior is normal. It’s not a sign of oral discomfort or any trouble. So don’t worry you won’t need any extra pet insurance. Cat experts haven’t discovered exactly why kitties produce the chirping sound so the true meaning isn’t completely understood. However, there are a few theories out there that explain this cat chirp, chirps, and chatters.

Usually, you’ll notice your cat chattering at birds. Experts explain that seeing birds can unleash cat’s wild instincts and make her wish to practice her hunting skills.
Therefore, chattering could be a kind of vocal manipulation as the cat copies the calls of a bird, which in this case is the prey. This use of vocal mimicry can serve as a hunting tool.

Cat behavior specialists think that in these conditions cats chatter due to anticipation or frustration. If the cat is looking out the window and can’t catch a bird, s/he might be frustrated because she won’t be able to hunt.

The chattering noise can be related to the readiness to perform and take down the prey. The movement is similar to the killing bite that the cat would use as a hunter.
When your cat is doing this, you can distract her with a toy. In this way, she can chase down and capture something. Moreover, you can enjoy her full attention.
However, there are other situations when your cat might chatter even if there is no possible prey around.

So why do cats chatter at laser pointers?

Why is my cat chattering at me?

Apart from the predator theory, there is another one that suggests that chattering noises are triggered by excitement. This is most likely what happens when the cat is so delighted to see something that she shows her happiness by making a special noise.

The domesticated cat is chattering her jaw as a way to show off her enthusiasm for being able to engage in a pleasant activity such as playing with the laser pointer or spending time with you. It’s not even unusual to see your car chattering at a fly or to catch birds. They even sometimes chatter and chirp or while watching the birds.

Next time you see your cat chattering at birds or hear your cat making clicking sound somewhere in the house, rest assured that there is nothing wrong. It’s just one of the cute things kitties do! Anyway, whenever your cat is doing something and you’re not sure whether it’s ok or not, it’s always best to double-check.

Like learning about cat behavior?  You might enjoy this book: CatWise: America’s Favorite Cat Expert Answers Your Cat Behavior Questions

Or Think Like a Cat


Does your cat chatter at birds or toys?

Comments (4)

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  1. I call it chirping and I’m convinced that they are saying “come here to me” hahaha. I love how their whiskers get when they chatter!

      1. The sound Miss PSB makes is definitely more of a chirp (kind of a chortling chirpy sound is the best way to describe it). Cutest thing ever! 🙂 <3

  2. Wonderful post & video & pics, Jenny! Like, Patricia, I also refer to this behavior as chirping. Miss PSB has started doing this over the past two years more and more and we LURVE it when she chirps!! To us, it represents that she’s happy and excited about something and is trying to let us know! She’ll usually dash into the living room like a cheetah on cocaine and jump on her infinity scratch and look at her daddy or me and chirp! My heart melts every single time! It is usually an invitation for us to engage her in a little conversation where we ask if she’s excited or has a woobie (fetch toy) she wants to play with, etc…and sometimes will begin a game of chase with me down the hallway! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

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