If you’ve ever asked yourself, ‘Why does my cat sigh?’ you’re not alone.

Many cat owners recount seeing their cats let out a deep sigh and wondered whether their kitties were okay. 

In the following post, we will provide a detailed answer to this question.

We will also examine sighing goes beyond “just a funny cat habit” and becomes something to worry about.

DO CATS SIGH LIKE PEOPLE?

A cat’s sigh sounds vaguely similar to that of humans. It entails a prolonged, somewhat loud sound as they exhale.

The main difference with cats is that they sigh through the mouth. 

WHY DO CATS SIGH?

british shorthair cat sighing

When you hear your cat sighing for the first time, you might be a little concerned. But it’s nothing unusual so there’s no need to worry. 

Many theories have been put forward to explain why cats sigh, but one that most people agree on is that it’s a sign of relaxation.

Let’s say you were playing hide and seek with your cat earlier.

If she lets out the sigh and then lies down to rest following such a fun game, it’s simply a sign of contentment. If anything, you should take it as a compliment. 

There are times when your cat will partially close her eyes after sighing. She will do this as a way of expressing pleasure. 

If you aren’t sure of what’s caused your cat to sigh, examine what is happening around her.

If you’ve just given her her best treat or placed her on her favorite tower, she’s simply trying to tell you that she’s happy with the current situation. 

READ MORE: Why Does My Cat Attack its Own Tails?

IS SIGHING GOOD OR BAD?

As we mentioned earlier, sighing is not bad behavior for cats. They’re merely trying to communicate their feelings, often, to show that they’re content.

There are only a few instances where a cat’s sigh has a negative or unpleasant connotation.

WHEN TO WORRY ABOUT YOUR CAT’S SIGHING

There are times when you shouldn’t neglect your cat’s sighing. That is if:

  • The sighing is accompanied by other sounds, such as moaning or howling
  • Your cat sighs constantly
  • The sighing comes with other signs such as decreased appetite or a lack of energy

In all of these instances, your cat could be trying to express her discomfort. In case this happens, assess your pet and her environment more closely.

Check whether there’s anything in her surroundings that could be making her uncomfortable.

If you can’t figure out the cause, and she continues to sigh, take her for a medical check-up.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN A CAT HUFFS AT ANOTHER CAT?

The most likely reason why one cat may huff at another is if her space is being invaded.

Cats are among the most territorial creatures, so they’d much rather not share their space with other pets.

If another pet- be it a dog or a cat- intrudes her space, she will react by producing a huffing noise.

It’s important to note that a huff is different from a sigh.

A sigh is extended and audible respiration of air whereas a huff is a deep and heavy breath often made to signal anger or frustration.

A huff almost sounds like a grunt. Check out the video below to see what I mean:

READ MORE: Why Does My Cat Stare at the Wall?

7 OTHER COMMON CAT NOISES AND WHAT THEY MEAN

Now that we know why cats sigh, let’s explore some other common cat noises.

1. MEOWING

why does my cat sigh? a little kitten yawning outdoor

If you’ve owned your furbaby for a long time, you’re probably already familiar with this sound.

This is the most common sound cats make to try and communicate with humans.

As such, there are numerous reasons why your cat could be meowing.

Perhaps she’s asking you to refill her food or water bowl. Or maybe she wants you to pet or rub her tummy. 

2. CHIRPING 

little tiger kitten walking in the forest surrounded by nature

Birds aren’t the only species that chirp, cats do too. For the latter, this will typically be a brief beep-like sound.

It’s best likened to the warbling sound that songbirds make when they’re singing. 

Cats chirp for several reasons, mostly to greet, catch your attention, as a form of acknowledgment or approval.

It’s like a high-pitched “Hey there!” to their favorite person. 

Another reason why cats produce this sound is when their hunting instincts set in.

If they spot a bird or insect, which quickly draws their attention, they may pull out a chirp. They may also chirp at toys. 

Here’s a compilation of cats chirping to give you an idea of this sound:

READ MORE: Why Does My Cat Nibble My Nose?

3. SNARLING

black cat growling

Another one of the most common cat sounds is snarling. When your cat snarls, it’s a sign that she’s scared, angry or getting defensive of her territory.

But unlike the snarl produced by larger cats- like tigers and lions- your domestic cat’s snarl will be higher-pitched. 

And, it often starts and ends with a howl.

Furthermore, this sound may be accompanied by a change in body postures, such as a more arched back, puffed-up fur, and a twitching tail.

Unless your cat is being attacked by another cat or animal, you don’t have to respond to her snarling. Just let her be as she’ll stop snarling after a while. 

4. HOWLING

feline cat howling

This sound is also referred to as yowling. When your cat howls, she will produce a prolonged but low-pitched moan, mainly from her throat.

 Important to note about this sound is that cats use it to communicate to humans as well as their fellow feline species. 

Cats howl for multiple reasons, one of which is to express discomfort or worry. If your cat keeps howling, check whether she’s suffering from an injury or illness.

They will also make this sound if they feel like their territory is being invaded.

As such, you will find that cats in multi-pet households produce this sound more frequently than those in single-pet ones.

Another probable reason for a cat’s howl is boredom.

If your furry friend isn’t getting enough entertainment, consider buying her more toys to reduce the howling. 

5. HISSING

a funny yawning catnipped cat that will make you laugh hard

When your feline friend hisses or growls, she’s not trying to be impolite. Often, it’s because she’s either scared or getting her defense weapons up. 

Taking this into account, your cat will most likely produce this sound when she notices a stranger at home.

Or, whenever she sees someone she doesn’t like that much. She may also hiss at her fellow cats, especially if she feels like they’re encroaching her space. 

According to experts, you should not pay too much attention to your cat’s hiss. Instead, allow some time to pass and the hissing will gradually vanish.  

6. MOANING

Are you wondering how to quiet your talkative cat because your kitty is driving you crazy with constant meowing? Check out these 7 superb tips!

Cats usually moan to signal that they’re in distress or that they’re experiencing pain or discomfort.

There are many illnesses that can cause these creatures to feel hungry, thirsty or pain, and all of these can lead to excessive moaning. 

They also moan when they’re trying to get your attention. If your feline pal wants you to play with them, pet, or talk to them, she may produce this sound. 

7. PURRING

a cat lover lady with red hair embracing her tiger cat

One of the best moments you share with your feline friend is when you get home and she snuggles up to you while purring.

Typically, this is the sound made by kittens, who are born blind and deaf, as they try to communicate with their mom.

But, any cat can produce this sound, to express her happiness and contentment.

Interestingly, a cat may also make this noise if she’s trying to comfort herself when she’s scared.

For instance, if you suddenly turn on an appliance that generates a lot of noise, she may start purring.

To avoid making her feel scared, give your furbaby attention and affection as soon as you hear that motor running.

CONCLUSION

It’s not atypical for cats to sigh. The main reason why they produce this sound is to signal contentment. 

If they let out this sound after you’ve finished playing, petting, or feeding them, they’re probably just trying to express their satisfaction.

That said, you should always keep a watchful eye on your feline friend.

If the sighing is accompanied by unusual behavior like howling or decreased appetite, take her to the vet for a check-up. 

grey and white cat with text "why does my cat sigh?"

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Barry Stingmore
Barry Stingmore

Barry Stingmore is a British content creator living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats.

Barry works with the island’s animal charities to help manage and care for feral and abandoned animals. Alongside fieldwork, he works to support the charities with fundraising and raising awareness.

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