Why is my cat growling at his toys?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Grrrrr! Did your cat just growled?

You’re thinking “Hey! You have your toys, then what’s all the growling about?”

Let us solve your query:

Cats growling is a very natural behavior. Rather we’ll say if your cat doesn’t growl that can mean something wrong. When cats grow up, their growling is an act of communicating with their human parents or their feline family members. Their growl can mean that its scared, annoyed, irritated, or maybe something else as well.

It looks like you’re still a little worried and are looking for further details.

So, what are you waiting for? Read ahead.

Why is my cat growling?

The growling of cats is a very natural behavior and a way of communication.

Let’s look at the growling reasons and what it means, then we’ll be able to figure out why cats growl at their toys.

But first, here’s a video that will help you analyze the growling sound better so you’re absolutely sure that what your cat is not purring or making any other sound:

Warning to back off

A growling cat can be a warning. Sometimes, cats growl when they don’t want anyone coming any closer to them, and this is not just for humans but for other animals too. This is a way of cats showing their possessiveness or protectiveness. They may growl when they see some danger coming towards them or their children. The cats would growl to back you off or else the cat will attack.

When a cat growls as a warning, generally the growl is a loud and prolonged one as well. When cats growl, their body language also changes, such as

  • Backward folded ears
  • Alert posture
  • Bristled hair
  • Focused eyes

They’re scared

Cats are very delicate pets and they may get scared easily from the smallest of things. If they see a harmless animal or some shadow or something which they feel they won’t be able to fight off, they growl at them.

Even when they are in an unfamiliar environment, the cats would growl out of fear at anything and everything. Try and provide your cat with an escape route so that they don’t get stressed out and can stay calm. Hence, a growl is not always because it wants to scare the other person, but sometimes it also means that they are scared.

If you’ve shifted to a new home, you could also provide your cat with a kitty shelter like this one from chewy to make them feel safe and secure.

Dominance

If you have more then one cat in the house or some other small pet, chances are the growling is because your cat is trying to dominate the other pet.

Even if they have toys around, they will growl to dominate the other pet or animal. This is generally a normal behavior because this is coming from their feline ancestors and through generations that want to mark their territory and their dominance over the weak. 

Pain

Has your cat recently gotten hurt?

Does it look like it’s in pain?

At times when cats are growling too much or when bent in a certain way, possibilities are that they’ve gotten hurt and are in pain.  You need to be very careful and observant of your cat to make sure they don’t hurt themselves even further, because cats are very good at deceiving and hiding pain or injuries.

So, try and look out for any pain or injury your cat has and visit your vet to make sure everything is fine with your furry friend.

Surprise

When your cat gets surprised or they are caught off-guard, they will hiss and growl at you or anything that surprised or shocked them.

For example, you pop up from the back or there is some other cat in your cat’s place etc. These things cause your cat to get shocked which can lead to the hissing and growling.

Blending in with others

At times when cats see other feline members that they don’t recognize, they’ll growl at them initially, but once they get comfortable with each other, the growling would stop. 

In case this is why your cat is growling, you need to make sure that the new pet is not too frequently in front of your cat, otherwise the cat will attack in its defense. But make sure you get them to interact a little as well so that they can get comfortable in each others presence.

They’re just being playful

Yes, the growling is not only negative, but it can also be because of the fact that the cats are just being playful with each other and nothing more. They can be playing with a human, a cat, or even toys and they would start to growl. But this doesn’t mean it’s getting angry or anything, they’re just being playful.

What to do when cats growl?

No matter why or when a cat growls, be sure to not punish or hush them. They’re already probably going through negative emotions and the punishing would mean aggravating the situation.

This will only result in your cat getting more aggressive and the odds of you getting hurt would be very high.

If your cat is getting aggressive, here’s a video to help you out:

This behavior of punishing may also result in the cat getting too much negative energy and anger inside them, so much that it may result in poor relations between the two of you. Your cat may even get stressed out too much which would definitely not be favorable for either of you.

Therefore, trying to be nice and sweet with your cat will help you both get things working. You need to be observant of your cat and its behaviors so that you’re able to identify what is bothering them so much.

Once figured out try and solve the problem yourself and try and reward your cat whenever they listen to you and obey your commands.

But in case the problem continues and you’re starting to get worried, take your cat for a vet’s visit. The vet will be able to help you out and make sure that your cat is not going through any kind of physical or internal pain.

Related questions

Why do cats growl at nothing?

The kittens may be imitating their mother or if you can’t see what your cat is growling at, get it checked by your vet.

Should I hiss back at my cat?

It’s not hissing to insult or abuse you, it’s their way of telling the other person or animal to back off. So it won’t really make a difference if you hiss back or not.

Are cats protective of their owners?

Just like dogs, cats are also very protective of their owners. They may not be showing it but they are very protective.

How do you stop a cat from growling?

Try and divert its attention and get it distracted. This should help your cat get to normal and then reward its good behavior.

What does it mean if a cat spits at you?

This may mean that your cat is aggressive, angry, frightened or annoyed. Look out for the signs and sort out the problem so that the spitting behavior stops.

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