It’s purrfect!

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Most cats communicate through a variety of vocal noises, such as purring, hissing, meowing, to name a few. They generally display their own personalities through these vocalisations and most people find them very endearing… sometimes though they can be very annoying.

Purring/meowing is the cat’s way of getting your attention and this is quite normal. Obviously during mating season, the vocalisation from your cat increases and this can become quite annoying. Siameses are known to have a much louder purr/meow than most other breeds whereas Abyssinians and Persians are generally rather quiet cats.

The various sounds: Cats purring loudly for their dinner is quite different to the cat who meows very loudly in the middle of the night – generally demanding attention. If they do not get the attention they desire, then obviously the purring/meowing becomes louder and louder. Hissing, however, is a totally different situation and the cat is letting you know he is not pleased about something.
Excessive vocalisation: It is, however, difficult to actually describe excessive vocalisation as all cats are different. It really depends on how much ‘noise’ the pet parent is prepared to put up with.
The attention-seekers: A lot may have to do with the time of day… is it getting close to meal time and you are being rather slow to provide their dinner? Do they want you to play with them or do they want to go outside?
Purring in discomfort: It is also wise to make sure that your cat is not unwell or injured and this is the only way they can get our attention to help them… the sounds they make in cases such as that are generally very different to those they make when all is well.
Getting their own way: Pet parents must always keep in mind that cats are highly intelligent animals and they can soon learn what I call THE DRIP SYSTEM – if they keep pestering us for long enough we will eventually give in. It is like a dripping tap that is hard to ignore – we soon stop what we are doing and go and turn the tap off…. cats work on the assumption that we will soon give them the attention they want – regardless of what we are doing.
If a cat learns that her pet parent will immediately pay her attention, then she will soon realise that loud purring/meowing will get her what she wants – even if it is only more attention! It is hard to ignore a cat who constantly seeks attention but like a naughty child we need to limit the time we give her – especially if we are very busy – and eventually the cat will realise.

(Joan E Henderson is based in Australia and she has judged furry felines in many other countries including USA, Bermuda, Malaysia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Philippines and New Zealand)