Maine Coons are known for their unique vocalizations, rarely meowing, but instead using trills, purrs, and chirps for their language. The question is – why do they trill?
Here is why Maine Coons trill. The trill is used as a greeting or to garner care. A cat’s use in this sound, beginning with their mother, is a command to pay attention. It is a happy go lucky vocalization that is utilized after kittenhood to communicate with their human.
Due to the language barrier, it is vital to understand your cat’s vocalizations and tone so that you can keep them happy and healthy. Read further to learn what precisely a trill is and how to interpret your cat’s language.
Why cats trill
Trilling begins with their mother commanding them to follow, as a greeting, or to get a misbehaving little one to pay attention. Kittens learn this from their mother and mimic it back to her to acknowledge her commands.
Reasons why a cat is trilling:
- To get your attention
- Older cats might trill more in frustration
- Trilling in pain
Typically though the trill is a happy sound saying hello and as a way of trying to get your attention.
The amount of trilling depends on the interactions that the mother had with the kitten and the breed of cat. Guess what, the Maine Coon is very likely to trill. In fact, a unique range of vocalization is distinct in this breed of kitty.
The majority of cat's vocalizations are for the purpose of human interaction that they have developed over the years of domestication. Being the dog of the cat world, your Maine Coon just wants to talk to you. Part of the day and all night.
If you are the owner of multiple cats, notice how they act together. The only vocal interaction that I can recall between kitties is the hissing noise to let the intruder cat know that it was in their territory.
Whereas if I walk by, they trill and meow to let me know that I cannot possibly pass without giving a lot of time to pet them.
Differentiating the trill from other vocalizations
The Maine Coon isn’t a mower type of cat. Instead, these kitties have many vocalizations that they perform to communicate with you about what they are feeling and the needs that they have at that moment.
It might be hard to determine if that is a trill, a chirp, or if they are mimicking you.
Trills and chirps are often confusing to distinguish between. The chirping sound that your Maine Coon is an open mouth sound, typically used when they spot prey. The trill is a soft closed mouth rolling of the rs.
Perhaps you have noticed it when your Maine Coon greets you at the door with a rub to your leg. Or the familiar ‘hey you, my food bowl is halfway gone, and I can kind of see the bottom.’
It's a very purr-like sound so that it appears to be an extension of the purr. It is actually a separate vocalization they are using.
The difference is where the noise is coming from. The purr is rooted in the body. If they allow you, put your hand on your kitties stomach then you can feel the happy rumbles. This particular sound is meant to be felt by those nearby since it is rarely loud.
On the other hand, for the trill, they use their closed mouth to make this noise.
Determining the tone
So I’m sure you panicked up there once the pain and old age comment came up. Oh, no is my cat hurting or frustrated? We don't know what our cats are trying to say to us, but we can listen to their tone.
They can't understand what you are saying, but they can determine the tone in which you speak. The same is true of the communication that your cat gives to you. Every sound that a kitty makes can either be good or bad depending on the situation or pitch.
When I have paid too close attention to my ‘also big cat’, he will give me a gruff no along with a paw push on my hand to point out that he doesn't want pets right now. Perhaps he learned that from me after I found out he had a love of climbing up my clothes in the closet.
Tone and situation are everything to a feline. The sound they are using, you are using, and what is going on in the environment are things that you need to be conscious of to know how your Maine Coon is doing.
There is a different trill when your Maine Coon is greeting you at the door to when they try to entice a stray fly that got inside. The intent is in the tone.
The personality of the trilling cat
Maine Coons are known for their friendly character, so the trill is an extension of their amiability and playful nature.
A trilling cat is a social cat.
Trilling is typically thought of as a happy go lucky tone. A more quiet or shy feline might rarely trill, they don't have time for such a casual tone. A sillier kitty might never stop, making sure that you are aware they love you and want you to be with them.
The Maine Coon is such a people cat they speak out more because they want that human connection. For a Maine Coon, their trills might not be just to get your attention or to let you know… They are literally just trying to talk to you, so speak back to them they will love it.
In most breeds, the trill starts to dwindle as they age, though older cats are known to vibrato in confusion if they are entering dementia or can't see as well. The Maine Coon, however, is slow to age, entering adulthood at around age 4 depending on the cat.
A baby Maine Coon will be clingier and therefore trill more for interaction with their people until it is given.
Understand that the Maine Coon doesn't like to be alone, they are social and want to be near their human. Give them the attention that they need for that special connection.
Or provide a companion for them when you are away so that you can keep your giant friend happy.
Are Maine Coons more vocal? Maine Coons are one of the most vocal cats breeds out there. The female Maine Coon being the quieter of the two sexes. Slow to age and known as the dogs of the cat world they are attached to their humans thus tend to be on the vocal side more.
What is a Maine Coon’s nature? Amiability and friendliness are required personality traits for this breed. While they might look intimidating due to their size, they are actually playful and loyal companions. Prepare yourself to be followed everywhere you go, along with a mischievous peeking into everything that you own.
Want to learn more? Here are 15 things you should know about a Maine Coon´s personality!
Are Maine Coons happy to be alone? Maine Coons like to have the company of their human by their side. Left alone for extended periods are detrimental to their health due to their loyal natures. It is recommended that if you do have to be away from your MC for lengthy periods to have a companion cat or a familiar face to kitty-sit for you.
Also read our article Can Maine Coons Be Left Alone?