If you’re a cat lover like I am, you’re probably well versed in the noises our beloved felines make and what they mean. However, have you ever wondered about big cats? Do they make the same sounds as our household animal companions, and do they mean the same thing? I found this adorable video of a tiger meowing and it made me curious, so I went googling. I found a Quora thread that goes into quite a lot of detail about this topic, as well as a fascinating Reddit thread. Additionally, the website for the Mountain High Animal Sanctuary had an informative article on the topic.
All of the Big Cats That Meow and Purr
The responses on the different sites varied, but they were also fairly consistent. Here’s the concensus:
- Lions, leopards, tigers, snow leopards, clouded leopards, and jaguars apparently can’t technically meow or purr because of the way their vocal folds are built.
- However, the snow leopard CAN actually purr and meow for some unknown (to the person answering the question and to me) reason.
- The cheetah, lynx, mountain lion, and puma can purr and meow.
- When you see a big cat producing a moaning sound, that’s basically their “meow,” according to Mountain High Animal Sanctuary.
The sanctuary adds that if little housecats COULD do some of the big cat things like roaring, they certainly would. Ha. It all comes down to how their throats are built. One thing that seems certain is that the emotions and intent behind their various sounds is consistent whether they’re a big cat or a small cat.
Do Tigers and Big Cats Meow?
Also, when it comes to purring, big cats do something called “chuffing.” It’s also called “prusten” and this is the big cat’s equivalent to what we know as purring in small cats. If a tiger “chuffs” to another tiger, they’re basically saying “hiya!”
In the video below, this guy certainly sounds like he’s meowing to me! He’s adorable.
We love this guy!