Does anyone speak ‘Kitteh’?

I need a Kitteh to English dictionary.

I’d REALLY like to know what this cat is saying.

Can you translate, Philip K.?



  1. I want to catch that bird
    I want to catch that bird now
    I want the bird
    I want to eat that bird
    eat that bird now
    the bird
    catch it
    eat it

  2. bird calling. Good stuff

  3. I totally agree. Good job translating Leila!
    My kitties do the same thing sometimes to the mysterious dots that appear when i use those laser pointer things 🙂 hehe

  4. Leila is very accurate, although I will add that the kitteh is kind of saying it like “Milton” from the Mike Judge shorts and the movie “Office Space” (voiced by the endlessly talented Stephen Root).

    So, it’s a bit more like,

    Ummm, excuse me, yes, I want to catch that bird, I want to catch that bird now, yes….

    …and I swear he also says something about a red stapler at the end.

    But anyone with a kitteh near birds knows this sound very, very well.

  5. My male cat does that too. I always thought he was chirping to the birdies…then I found out what he was REALLY doing. (scroll to “other noises”

  6. We just stayed at a friend’s house, and they have a cat that loves to chat to things. If there’s nothing else suitable around, he does it into a mirror. Generally, I believe he’s saying ‘Oooh, you’re a handsome boy. People should give you things to eat and then be warm and still, so you can lie upon them. And the door should always be open, in case you want to go out. And cat food should be bountiful and always available.’

  7. From Trisha’s link:
    “Cats are also known to make chirping or chattering noises when observing prey, or as a means of expressing interest in an object to nearby humans.”

    All my cats have made the same noises when they see birds on the feeder or on the patio. The volume and intensity of the chattering from my current cat varies in relation to how large/delectable he thinks the particular birds are.

  8. my cat will make little chirpy noises like that when he’s looking outside, I didn’t know it was pretty common. thanks for the link to that article Trisha, was very informative.

  9. Yep – gimme gimme gimme bird or insect or lizard 🙂

  10. Ruby Tuesday says:

    I do think that in addition to your “Kitteh to English” translation phrase book, you’ll need a “Kitteh to Byrdie” phrase book too.

    I personally subscribe to the idea that cats are trying to imitate the bird sounds when they do that. (“Hi fellow byrdies!!!!! Wanna come play over here with me? I promise I’m not a kitteh and won’t try to eat you!”)

    Which means you’d have to translate that noise from Byrdie to Kitteh, then from Kitteh to English. I’m sure something would be lost in the translation though…

  11. Thanks. I thought many might be interested in that link…for years I just thought my cat ‘liked’ the birdies and was simply chirping to them! LOL!

  12. This cat is obviously talking to a Fly. My cats do it all the time. (In winter occasionally also to snow flakes)

    I never understood why they keep conversations with flies though and not with me.
    I feel neglected.

  13. ahh, the prey “conversation.” after i moved my menagerie (and myself) to the boyfriend’s house, my kitteh has realized HOLYCRAP WE HAVE WINDOWS…and subsequently, HOLYCRAP THERE ARE RODENTS AND BIRDS OUTSIDE **chatterchatterchatter**

    it makes for an entertaining afternoon, watching him go into systemic overload from all the windows. he will literally try to chatter out of each one.

  14. jacqueline.L says:

    “Look. Bird. Yummy bird. Let me out side. Open the door. quick. now. open door. NOW!. please. before he fly’s away. oh no. he’s going. open door! “

  15. People have suggested it’s imitating birds, but I would have guessed that this cat was raised in a home with small dogs.

  16. i kinda think it sounds like his humming a lil tune :/

    like “doo-doo-dee-doo” but… kitteh.

  17. Awww, kitty wants to hunt! So sweet! My cat also sits in front of the window and starts chirping exitedly when ever he sees something moving outside… birds, flies, schoolkids etc.

  18. I’m with blah on this one, it’s a fly. Usually they are addressed in this manner when they are just out of reach, and often just before a hopeless, silly pounce attempt ending in a crash =)

  19. well i think it’s one of those made-up languages we had in school.. it’s not real kitteh.

  20. Alice Shortcake says:

    My cat does this when she’s hunting moths. Not flies, birds, laser points etc – just moths.

  21. actually.. i can’t help it sounds like a chicken.


    My cat doesn’t chatter or chirp like that, but he does meow really loudly, and very obnoxiously. MOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
    Pretty much just like that.


  23. Bird bird bird birdbirdbird SQUIRREL bird bird bird

  24. Hilarious! 😀

  25. birdbirdbirdbirdbiiiiiirrdd birdbirdbird…

  26. birdbirdbirdbirdbirdbirdbird…

    (just to be very original)

  27. momof2kitties says:

    George says this too when he sees a bird or a squirrel in the yard. We have always called it “chirping”, and we know it means he’s on the case and not to be disturbed.

  28. My younger cat did this the first time he looked out the window – so cute! I have to agree with the theory that they are “rehearsing” for catching the bird, though.

  29. Reminds me of the Cadbury Bunny.

  30. Biscuit Tin says:

    Squirrel! I’ll murderize him! I’ll kill him! I’ll kill him till he dies from it! LOOOOOOOOOOK! Look at him with that tail. He’s asking for it! You won’t be so happy when you’re dead, mofo! I’m coming!

  31. jackie31337 says:

    @CB: “People have suggested it’s imitating birds, but I would have guessed that this cat was raised in a home with small dogs.”

    That was the first thing that came to my mind too. Specifically small dogs barking Jingle Bells.

  32. I’ve always assumed that those noises denote frustration over prey that’s out of reach (poor kitty!). I’ve only seen them do it when the prey is on the other side of the window. After all, why would they do it in a real hunting situation where it would give away their position? Unless it really IS an attempt to imitate a boid… I dunno about that, though.

  33. Well, he’s no Don Piano, that’s for sure.

  34. My late flower cat and my current tabby both make sounds like that when they see birds, and neither of them has been close to a small dog ;). I think that all cats sing “oh small bird, fly down here that we may play gently together”, but that each cat has his or her own voice and range (and range of interest; the tabby wants everything that moves, while the flower cat had no interest in, say, squirrels or insects).

  35. i think he’s talking ‘duck’.

  36. I think it sounds like he swallowed a squeaky toy. This is a desperate cry for help, and we are all just laughing!

  37. My cat completely freaked out when i played this. I tried to show him that it was a “TV kitty” but he ran away from the laptop. Usually, he’s good a telling the difference between real kitties an TV kitties.

  38. I’ve seen cats who were less good at climbing trees make that sound and assumed it was to alert other cats who were either good at hunting birds, or in a position to hunt the birds (like being on the other side of the glass), that “Hey, there’s a bird! I can’t get at it!”

    When they’re actually hunting birds, cats are deadly silent.

  39. Dat’s Kitteh Morse Code for, “Hey guys there’s a squirrel! Look at the squirrel! I could catch dat squirrel if you let me out! Pleeeeeez!”

  40. littleredhen says:

    My Fatcat does this when he’s chasing the flashlight beam, or watching birds from the window. I think it’s frustration at not being able to catch the prey.

  41. violetgreen says:

    Ze Frank has kindly provided some translations here:

  42. violetgreen says:

    Actually that’s the translation of what the birds are saying to the cat.

  43. Sounds to me like the cat is trying to speak squirrel.

  44. Lurker is referring to this cat:

  45. I will eat you with hot sauce, or gravy, or bbq, or boiled, roasted, or pan fried with miiiilk….

  46. from Trisha’s link “When preparing to fight an adversary or to frighten one away, cats can emit long, articulated meows that can sound eerily like human speech. “


  47. Yup, gotta be a fly. My orange tab started that when she was a tiny behbeh and the first time I actually thought she was having a seizure! Then I saw the fly on the wall that had her attention. Now Pepp is 13 years old and still occasionally gets the “squeekies”, but only for the flies.

  48. For my kitties, it’s always been squirrels and birds. I’ve always thought of the chirpie sounds as “Ooh…oh…ahh…d’oh…ahhh…oooh”.

    Then there’s the whole different set of vocalizations my kitties make when they are talking to me. They’re usually louder, have more urgency, and generally more demanding. Coupled with some claw action where appropriate.

  49. Yes, that cat is definitely looking at a bird. My mom’s old cat Raven (rest in peace, best cat ever) would do that. I called it cat chatter.

  50. I’ve only had two cats do this, one is my current girl, Polly. When she sees the doves that like to perch on my AC unit she sits on her haunches and chatters away. My other kitty Minkie that we had when I was a kid actually sounded like a money when she chattered and it was always at squirrels.

    Its interesting to read what causes everyone else’s kittehs to do this.

  51. More than just a chatter of frustration, it is also a warning that there is a VERY DANGEROUS CREATURE that looks like prey, but is in disguise and will come to attack our house if you don’t let me out to KILL it, or at least bother it a little.

  52. That’s a new one on me. Cat thoughts, cat thoughts…

  53. this is too cute

  54. Hah, my tuxedo cat does that whenever he sees a bird or a bunny in the backyard, but he doesn’t usually do it to anything else. My orange tabby couldn’t be bothered to talk to anything outside though, I’ve never seen him chirping at the window.

  55. Rachel of Cyberia says:

    “well i think it’s one of those made-up languages we had in school.. it’s not real kitteh.”

    Kitteh latin?

  56. One of my late boys used to chirp when he was birdwatching, but he did it so very softly and staccato that it sounded just like a chicken clucking. He was my little ornithologist.

  57. I have heard this type of noise referred to by the interesting word “gheckering”. I don’t know if that’s a real word though, searching it brings up practically nothing (though it did get one hit). Can’t remember where I heard it, has anyone else?

  58. my meow makes this noise whenever he sees birdies through the window. I had no idea it was a common thing, i thought puff was just weird!

  59. That cat is bird watching!

  60. This is also the only way to successfully *point* in cat. You know how if you point with your finger, the cat just sniffs your finger? If you stare very intently at something and chatter, the cat will go after it.

  61. He’s saying, “let me out so I can eat that bird!” 🙂

  62. texirishrose says:



    do want…

  63. Someone remove the audio and replace it with the speech from “Independence Day”, quick!!! Or possibly a bevy of Gandalf dialogue.

    P.S. The guy laughing in the background sounds sexy… Plus cute points!

  64. little birdy, hide in here here here…

  65. I think that the kit is watching a bird, bug, or some other huntable (yes I know that’s not a word) critter.

    One of my past cats used to do the chattering while hunched in the grass eyeballing some poor bird, at a much lower decible.

    I think they are saying “I want… gonna get… somehow” lol

  66. Slave To Three says:

    Tabby Sue used to do this to moths. Buddy will do it to birds on the edge of the roof. Horus does it to anything that is just out of his reach that he really wants.

    For Scarlett’s birthday party last week, I got a cake. Everytime the light would catch the cake knife as I was cutting a piece, the reflection would dance across the wall and ceiling. It would send Horus into a fit of chatter. Silly boy.

  67. @Blah. Don’t feel neglected, they talk like this to their prey. So, not talking to you like this means you’ll live another day ;o)

  68. We used to call this
    “short circuting”

  69. Is this an indoor cat? With such a wide field next to the house? Let the cat out! She is craving for it!

  70. Stephanie C. says:

    Holy inter-species communication, Batman!

    That cat is clearly speaking dolphin.

  71. Yep -it must be BIRDSBIRDSBIRDS. Upon hearig this, my Frodo went instantly to her birdwatching window and began to meow. As if she were a member of the Borg and received some command.

  72. Kitty sounds exactly like the squirrels! I always thought that birds were making those chirpy sounds in the trees until one day I saw a squirrel and it was chattering AT ME! I had no idea that cats could make that kind of sound!

  73. my favorite is the “meow?” towards the end.

  74. Our tabby Hobbes used to sit on the window sill and watch birds and make this noise. His had more of a “bir, bir” sound to it, so we all swore it sounded like was saying the word “bird”. His tail would twitch madly as he did it, too. It was so adorable to watch!

  75. yup, one of 2 things:

    1. bird, bird, bird, EAT
    2. skwerl, skwerl, skwerl EAT NOW!

  76. Leila, momof2cats and Biscuit Tin, you’re right. All the rest of you, you are, too. *Chirp chirp chudder chudder*

  77. Agreed. That cat is saying, “I want to get that bird…I want to get it…want to get it…WANT…”

    That being said, I don’t know that I’ve heard another one who chattered quite so vocally and comically!

  78. Aww, kitty singing a ditty!

    A Kitty Ditty, if you will.

  79. Growing up, when my cats did that, I was told that they were trying to hypnotize the object they wanted the hunt. A lot of cats that I had do that when they’re home playing. The cat we have now does it and sometimes if you mimic him, you can get a conversation going.

  80. I had my sound on a little high, and all 3 of my dogs came to see what the heck was going on. They just started at the screen… I bet they where thinking what in the world is that cat doing!

  81. Beep beep. Boop boop. Beep boop boop. Beep beep.

  82. I’ve seen my kitteh do this while watching the birdees! She was trying to entice them to the ground!!!! I wonder if she had any ultimate goals in mind???

  83. That was MORRIS code!!! hee hee

  84. Whatever that cat was saying, my cats seem very concerned listening to it.

  85. Our cats used to get really weird when one of them was inside and the other outside. They would sit in the window in and one out and get confused that they could SEE but NOT SMELL!!! the other. they would push their noses against the glass (producing a cat-height-line of nose prints on the window) and kind of hyperventilate/gasp at the other that was outside. Really cute that they would get so upset and confused over that glass window. Now they are 17..and they mostly sleep. inside. together. aaw 🙂

  86. I learned something today!
    Both my cats make those noises and I never knew what they meant and never bothered to look it up. Cute overload – not just a pretty site – its an education.

  87. Leslie James says:

    Ahh, Goat Kitty! In my house it’s usually a fly or an outside bird that warrants this chatter.

  88. I think it’s a “Catbury.” Like the rabbit who pretends to be a chicken in the Cadbury commercial.

  89. No, ….but I can hum a few bars!

  90. I brought my tortie-point Siamese in to listen to the video. She looked at me in blue-eyed horror and fled. This is not the American Kitteh Idol I guess.

  91. Isn’t that Cyna-kitty?!

  92. My cat used to do this, even tho he had a catflap. He knew that as soon as he left the windowsill from which he had spotted them, the birds would fly away. He would sit there watching them, knowing it was hopeless, chirping and flicking his tail until he could take no more. Then he’d run for the catflap, but by the time he was outside, the birds had all gone…

  93. Beth (in NC) says:


    Can I eat it?


  94. Whatever this kitty was saying… it must have been pretty interesting, because it had my cat in a trance the entire time it was playing.

  95. warrior rabbit says:

    Jill… !

  96. warrior rabbit says:

    Erica, a conversation? Like this?

    (beware 1:17)

  97. Momma kitty never taught this kitty to be quiet when she sneaks up on her prey so as not to scare it. I have two kitties, one born and raised indoors and one born and raised (until 2 months) outdoors. The kitty born indoors makes these noises. The kitty born outdoors does not.

  98. Miss Temple says:

    Must be some international Kitteh-language. I’m from Germany and my kitty talks almost the same, propably just a different accent. ^^

  99. Mars attacks!

  100. Get in mah BELLAH!!

  101. warrior rabbit says:


  102. Sounds like a small dog’s yapping, including a little howl! But I agree it’s cat chirping in excitement. I’d only had young cats do this; the older ones didn’t, they just YOWLED. Very loudly, too.

  103. Guard cat on the prowl!
    Lemme at that dog!
    Lemme at him!

  104. Except for the first and last bits which are obv. kitteh code for ‘start’ and ‘end transmission’, I de-Morse it as:
    “n a f a a
    f a m m m ss d”

    which CLEARLY means, “naf [not nuff] I FAMISHED”. [‘Naff’ is Brit for ‘uncool’]

    *OR* it’s the chorus of ‘The Lonely Goatherd’:

    “Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay SKWERL ho . . .”

  105. I refer to those other noises as the “rat”. Their whiskers tend to flutter about like a rat and all sorts of odd noises can come out. It’s a combo of feeling annoyed and frustrated. Either way it’s hilarious.

  106. My cat makes a similar sound when he comes into a room, like a greeting… but it’s only a few chirps!
    His sister used to make a trilling sound all the time, but nothing like this conversation. ^^

  107. It sounds like it’s trying to immitate a chicken. 😀

  108. Cat is saying “get rid of that video camera and stop filming me now. please. “

  109. aww, my Sherbet used to do that all the time when she’d sit at the window watching birds. Just hilarious.

  110. MissCelanius says:

    He’s saying “Here birdeh, birdeh, birdeh… I has a delicious birdeh treat for you”

  111. We call this “snarking”. This is one talkative kitteh!!

  112. mmyyy preeeccciousss, I seees it, I waaaants it… bbaaaad preccciooous, I cannot geeeeeet it.
    OOOH, my preeeeccious.

    (yeah it’s a bird or a squirrel out there.)

  113. ps:
    as in short sound for dot, long sound for dash:
    -. .- .-.
    n a f

  114. I call this “gakking at birds”

  115. Totalee Puppy says:

    Thanks, everyone! I really had no idea…

  116. We call that kitty karaoke in my house.

  117. girlnextdoortn says:

    I call it “machine-gunning”. Only one of my cats does it, and he does it soooo softly, as if he knows how futile it is.

  118. bluechipmunk says:

    Of course this means: “There are birds out there!”, but my cat, Carmel, is more precise. She only uses these words, in this way, specifically for “There are CROWS out there!” : )

  119. hahaha this is cute, my friends cat used to do the same thing, she thinks he picked it up from the birds and was copy”cat”ing it… sorry bad joke teehee

  120. Mine also makes this noise for birds and squirrels, though usually without the intervening meows. 0:29-30 cracked me up with the “are you still going?” “mewwwwww” exchange. 🙂

  121. actually, that was more of a “myurr” than a “mew”. kitteh transcription is tough!

  122. Lurker! Word to the Don Piano reference! I <3 "Oh Don Piano."

    Anyway, from the wikipedia entry — super interesting that tigers do the greeting “chirrup.” I think that is my favorite cat noise, and my kitteh does it all the time (and I do it to him now almost without thinking — it’s a little “brrip!” noise)

  123. a kitty stutter?

  124. Sounds to me like he’s saying, “Heeeere, birdy birdy birdy birdy!”

    My cat does this with bugs and spiders, and looks right at me as if to say, “Help me/catch it for me.”

    He then tortures it within an inch of its life or, sometimes he kills it, but he never eats them, just a couple of chews maybe, “Nom nom… OK, done.”

  125. Jill, you slayed me. (ouchie, ouchie, ouch) good one!

  126. what, lassiecat?
    the pomeranian fell down the well?

  127. A very educated kitty,who not only speaks “kittehs” but also “dogs” !

  128. It’s saying:



    Hehe it sounds kind of like a monkey!

  129. “That was MORRIS code!!! hee hee

    LOL!! 🙂

    My kitty Summer does this when she sees birds or squirrels outside, too. Freaked me right out the first time it happened, lol — I’d never had a cat before, so I didn’t know what was going on at first!

  130. :^)


  131. I watched similar clip before and it seems like the cat was trying to bark with the tempo like this: “ar woof~~~ar woof! ar woof!ar woof~~~”

  132. i have MANY kitties and they all do that when they see birds. i am pretty sure from the way he/she is looking into the sky or trees its a bird. but it is funny because when my kitties do it is seems very involuntary.

  133. Can’t add anything to this conversation – oh actually I can. My cat clearly says “reow reow” when he really wants to be fed. This is the second cat I’ve had that made this sound, for the same reason!
    I wanted to comment on the Wikipedia reference: I like how they refer to humans as “guardians” instead of “owners”.

  134. Rooanne-what a lovely thought, I’ll try to use that from now on, along with ‘companions’.

  135. Am I the only one who thought she sounded suspiciously like a chicken?

  136. Well, i showed this video to my cat..
    And i think she’s understanding what your cat is saying.. Her eyes became bigger and bigger while seeing this cat talking , she was almost sitting on the computer.

  137. My sister and I always thought of it as “kitty cuss words”

  138. i love it. my tabby cat, Stella, used to do that!!! not quite that much for as long, but she totally “barked” when we’d let her outside. *LOL*

    so cute! i <3 tabbies!

  139. i think the kitteh is singing the official “Kitteh Anthem”

  140. ophelia said:
    “My late flower cat and my current tabby both make sounds like that when they see birds. . .”

    What is a flower cat? It sounds delightful.

  141. I want it I want it I want it
    Can I have it, lemme have it, I need it
    Let me out so I can get it, open the window I want it, I want it I want it I want it
    HURRY UP IT’S GONNA GET AWAY!!! Look it’s moving around, it’s gonna leave I have to get out there NOW or I’ll never have it
    OH NO there’s that neighbor cat you gotta let me out look there he goes he’s gonna try to get it NO STOP THAT ITS MINE LEAVE IT ALONE ITS MINE MINE MINE MINE I SAW IT FIRST

  142. All the cats I’ve ever had make the same noise whenever they’ve been bird- and/or rodent- and/or skwerl-watching by the window. I’ve always called it “chittering.” The tail is usually waving madly to-&-fro, and the cat was obvy v. excited… and impotent to catch the critter, poooor babeh.

  143. @mberkie0: That’s EXACTLY what we’ve always called it, too! And here I thought we were so original … *sigh*
    My current catpanions don’t do this; The Ratbag is too lazy to jump up in the windowsill, and The Stink wouldn’t DEIGN to lower herself to the level of “lesser species.” Although they both do the “staring at Greebles” thing, where they look at the same [blank][as in empty — I wasn’t swearing!] point on a wall and even turn their heads at the same time. (That one has always freaked me out. THERE’S NOTHING THERE!!!)

    We just moved to a new apt. with a balcony/patio, and they LOVE what passes for “fresh” air in Austin .. but since they’ve never been “out” before, I aonly let them stay out [WITH ME ONLY] for a couple of minutes at a time.

    Next: bird feeders!!!

  144. Well by the comments, I guess we all speak Kitteh in some dialect or another!

  145. for my cat, it’s “be vewwy vewwy qwiet…i’m huntin’ birdehs…eheheheheheheh….” then she creeps up, still making the “eh..meeh..meeeeh” noises, and JUST before she pounces, i slam open the screen door and they fly away. and then she turns and gives me a pointed look, that says, “i TOLD you to be qwiet!!!”

  146. frogprof- and with birdfeeders you get a bevy of other critters for your kittehs to watch…even Killer Corgi loves it when we put the birdfeeder up-
    GRAIN!! I LOVE GRAIN (I LOVE EVERYTHING) OH, GOLLY, I LOVE GRAIN, etc. There is no trusting a perpetually-hungry Corgalah. So, have fun-do you have chipmunks and squirrels where you live?

  147. Our computer isn’t playing videos properly right now for some reason, (a problem not related to the video source), but I already knew what this was about.

    My own kitty, Alexandra, would call flies by imitating their noise (which, in he case, sounded like a miniature gatling gun). The first time I saw her do it, I was baffled — and shocked into laughing! Who could have taught her this wonderful trick?

    If the very cool ability of calling prey is not instinctual by species or breed, then kitties who model it may just be smarter-than-average. 🙂

  148. Those are bird calls!