Cat grunting: why do cats grunt and is it bad?

Cat grunting

Cats can be quite enigmatic, mysterious and very interesting animals. This is why they also exhibit certain behaviors and habits that can be a little bit odd at times. And grunting is one of them! Have you ever heard a cat grunt? If yes, then it’s possible that you wonder why they do this and what it means. We have the answers to your questions, so read along to know more about why cats grunt and what’s the reasons behind it!


What does the grunting mean?

If we want to define and explain the overall meaning of grunting in cats, a good way of doing this is saying that the grunting is a way that cats express their feelings, sensations and emotions. For them, it’s a way of communicating, of telling something. But, what is your cat exactly telling you when it grunts? The fact is that the message behind the grunting can mean very different and diverse things, depending on the context, the cat’s personality and the particularities of the situation.

In this sense, a good way of understanding what the grunting might mean is to pay attention to the cat’s body language. Does the grunting follow an arched back, tense ears or an overall uncomfortable attitude? Then your cat might be telling you to get away from it. Is the grunting noise quiet and short? This can be due to gas or food digestion. Is the grunt light and soft? Then your cat might be telling you that it’s happy! As you can see, there is a lot of information behind cat grunting.


Is grunting something bad for cats?

Is it normal for cats to grunt? As you might imagine, the answer is yes! Grunting is definitely a normal behavior in cats because, as we said before, for them it’s a way of communication and expression. Cats grunt when they are happy, when they are angry, when they are annoyed, when they want attention, when they eat.

Nevertheless, it’s very important for you to also know that not all gruntings are considered normal. If you see that your cat is expressing other symptoms, like the cat being hurt or seeming uncomfortable, then you should pay special attention to the grunt, and be attentive to its body language and other signs that might also help you to understand what’s going on behind that particular type of grunting.


When do cats grunt?

As we have mentioned, cats grunt for a very wide variety of reasons and each grunting is a way of expressing and communicating a different thing. It’s not always easy to understand what your cat is trying to communicate to you through the grunting if you don’t fully know the reasons and explanations behind this. And it is also very important to learn how to interpret the grunting because it says a lot about your cat and what it is going through at certain moments and situations. That’s why here we are going to tell you more about some of the main reasons that lie behind cat grunting.

  1. Grunting while breathing: if your cat grunts regularly while it breathes, it is possible that this is due to the cat being overweight. When cat’s weight more than what they should, it can happen that their airways narrow down a little bit, which causes regular grunting. Overweight or obesity can bring serious health issues to your cat, so it’s important that you take action and treat your cat if it is in this situation.
  2. Grunting and jumping: if your cat grunts when it jumps, don’t worry! This is a perfectly normal behavior, as the grunting comes out as an involuntary sound of the lungs exhaling strongly after the physical effort of the jumping.
  3. Grunting when you pick your cat up: as you might know, cats sometimes don’t like excessive contact, so if your cat grunts when you pick it up, this probably means that it doesn’t want that to happen! So we recommend you to put your cat back in the ground. In this sense, grunting when you pick your cat up is a sign of discomfort.
  4. Grunting in the sleep: if your cat has the habit of grunting in the sleep, there’s nothing for you to worry about, as this is quite a normal behavior. The reason why your cat might grunt during the sleep is because it is dreaming, or otherwise also due to an excess of weight, as we mentioned before.
  5. Grunting after touching your cat: if you notice that your cat is grunting after you touch it, this is probably because it doesn’t like this or it doesn’t want to be touched! Imagine your cat is comfortably resting on the couch and you go and touch it. It most surely won’t be very fond of this and it will grunt. As you might know, cats are not always very social and they will not hesitate to express their discomfort through a grunt if you’re doing something that they don’t want you to do.
  6. Grunting and petting: if you softly and gently pet and rub your cat and you hear a grunt, this is most probably a good sign! Indeed, if your cat grunts when you pet it, what it is trying to tell you is that it likes it and that it’s happy, so it grunts as a way of showing affection and approval. Nevertheless, if you notice that the grunt is too harsh or strong, pay attention because it might mean that your cat is uncomfortable. In these cases you can usually tell whether the grunt expresses a positive or negative thing by listening closely to it. The tone and sound of the grunt will surely tell you what your cat is trying to communicate to you.

Cat jumping

When should you pay attention to the grunting?

As we have mentioned, grunting is mostly considered a usual and normal behavior in cats, and it is not a bad or negative thing. In spite of this, it’s very important to pay attention to the grunting because, on occasions, it might be a sign of alert that something is wrong with your cat. For example, if the grunting is too harsh, or if your cat is overweight and it grunts a lot.  The context, situation and particular moment of the grunting can tell you a lot about the reasons behind it, as well as the overall personality and state of your cat and the tone and sound of the grunting itself.

To sum up, you usually don’t have to worry too much about the times when your cat is grunting but we want to remark that it’s still very important to be attentive to this, as it can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside your cat. All in all, understanding and learning how to interpret your cat’s grunting is very important for you to know what your cat is feeling and what it is going through, and it will enable you to take specific action when it’s required.

Going to the vet if your cat is overweight and grunts a lot when is breaths or when it is sleeping, or leaving it alone and backing up if you are touching it and you notice it grunts in discomfort. Did this information help you to better understand your cat and its ways of communicating with you? Let us know in the comments below!

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We are a team of cat lovers, doing our best to create and spread information about cats. On you will read all about different cat breeds, and what makes them so special. You will also find information about grooming and training your cat. Be sure to leave us a reply if you like our article.

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