Pet Panthers is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission.

Why Do Savannah Cats Chirp?

Cats do a lot of weird things. From the noises they make to how they act out, cats are always doing something a little odd. And when it comes to Savannah cats, hybrids of servals and domesticated cats, many often wonder what the noises they make mean, especially the chirping.

Savannahs tend to chirp or chatter when they see prey but cannot get to it. Often, this happens if they see a bird outside, yet are locked in and cannot attack it. Savannah cats can also chirp when they are excited at seeing prey, or when they’re just excited in general.

Savannahs can make noises just like regular domesticated cats in this way. However, many owners find that their chirping sounds much more like a serval’s chirp than an average cat’s. Below, we will explore the reasons Savannah cats chirp in more detail, along with other sounds they make too.

Understanding What Chirping Means

First, let’s do a deep dive into chirping. If you’ve ever owned any type of cat before — not just a Savannah — chances are you’ve heard some form of chirping or chattering. Both words are used to describe these types of noises, though every cat sounds different. As you may have concluded, it can be hard for owners to accurately describe the noises their cats make.

Excitement

Often, cats will chirp or chatter when they are overjoyed with predatory excitement. For example, when they see a bird outside of the window, they can chirp. For the most part, cats only chirp when they’re excited, but also stressed because they cannot reach their prey. If the prey was indoors where they could actually reach it, chances are you wouldn’t hear them chirping.

Attention Seeking

Cats can also chirp when they want attention or would like to show you something that they deem attention worthy. At the end of the day, chirping comes from a place of excitement. While they often do it when they are gazing out the window at a bird they cannot reach, cats can also chirp for other attention-related reasons.

The same thing applies to Savannah cats too. Savannah owners have recognized that, just like regular domesticated cats, they chirp when they see their prey outside, where they cannot reach it. However, a Savannah cat’s chirp differs a bit from that of a regular cat. A lot of people feel it sounds much more like a serval’s chirping than a domesticated cat’s.

Every Sound Is Different

Some Savannah owners have even gone as far as to say that their cat’s chirping sounds almost like their form of a dog’s bark. It’s important to remember that every cat is different — so noises can sound different from cat to cat. Some Savannahs may have a loud chirp, while others are very quiet. No need to worry if your cat is very loud or very quiet!

It’s also worth remembering that Savannahs are considered vocal cats. They aren’t the most vocal cat breed out there, but they definitely talk more than others. Because of this, you might notice your Savannah chirping more often than a normal cat would. But that’s okay!

Hybrid Cats

Always remember that Savannahs are hybrid cats. They’re halfwild serval, half domesticated cat. And even if they have serval ancestors (rather than serval parents) and aren’t an F1 cat, there’s still serval blood in them. Often, you might find your cat making wild noises that you’ve never heard a domesticated cat make.

Reasons That Savannah Cats Chirp

Watching The Birds

As we’ve discussed above, your Savannah is probably chirping because they see prey in an area where they cannot reach it. Often, this happens when they see a bird outside — and they’re stuck inside, gazing at it from out the window. This chirping comes from a place of great excitement, but it can also grow from a little bit of stress (due to them not being able to hunt the prey they can see).

While this chirp is similar to a domesticated cat’s, some Savannahs have sounds that sound more like their serval parents or ancestors. In the past, some have floated the idea that chirping comes from a cat mimicking its prey’s noises. After all, a cat’s chirp isn’t too far removed from a bird’s. However, it doesn’t appear that this is really the case.

Probably Not The Case

There isn’t enough evidence to back it up. After all, when a cat (wild or domesticated) truly hunts, they’re not exactly loud or mimicking their prey. They’re silent. They rely on this silence. This is why many don’t believe that they’re mimicking their prey.

Rather, it’s an odd sound that comes from a place of excitement over seeing their prey, and stress over not being able to truly get to it. You don’t have to worry when you hear your Savannah chirping. This is just what they — and so many other cats — do to relay their excitement and frustration.

Sometimes, your Savannah might chirp when they are not gazing out the window at a bird. They could in fact do this if they’re trying to get you to pay attention to them, or to something else they deem very important. For the most part, though, your Savannah will only chirp when they see something they desperately want to get to.

Other Sounds Savannah Cats Make And What They Mean

Keep Them Happy And Safe

Savannahs, just like so many other cats, make different sounds that all have different meanings. As a Savannah owner — or if you’re thinking of adopting a Savannah — it’s vital that you understand exactly what you’re getting into. Understanding all their many different sounds can help you, as an owner, keep them safe, happy, and healthy.

Let’s start with some noises Savannahs make when they are happy. We all know what a cat’s purr sounds like. And Savannahs purr just as domesticated cats do. Because of their size and vocal nature, a Savannah’s purr sometimes sounds louder than an average cat’s — but this isn’t necessarily unique to Savannahs as a whole. Rather, if your cat’s purr is quite loud, it’s unique to your own cat.

Purring

Savannahs, just like other cats, purr when they are very happy and content. If your Savannah is laying in your lap, purring as you pet them, they feel very safe and happy. And, obviously, that’s exactly what you want!

Meows

When it comes to meows, it’s worth remembering that Savannahs are very unique. Some Savannahs may meow often, others may not. However, they are quite vocal cats. And often, they’ll combine meows with other sounds, like chirps, and sound like no other cat you’ve ever heard before.

Just as with a domesticated cat, meows can mean a lot of different things. Often, meows are positive, good signs. A cat may meow when they see you in greeting — and Savannahs are known to greet you at the door after work, just like a dog. Cats can also meow when they want attention and are trying to get you to look at them.

Of course, cats can also meow when they are lonely, sad, uncomfortable, or annoyed. As we said before, every cat is different. You’ll eventually understand the type of meows that your cat is making and be able to differentiate when they’re just saying hi versus when they feel lonely. As Savannahs are quite vocal, you’ll grow used to understanding the many ways your Savannah communicates with you!

Hissing

Now, let’s discuss noises your Savannah may make when they are not happy. If you’ve ever owned any type of cat before, you’ve probably heard them hiss at least once in their life. Cats can hiss when they are confronted with a person or animal that they don’t like. This hiss happens when they feel that they must fight — and are ready to pounce.

Savannahs hiss for the same reason. However, just like with their chirping, a Savannah’s hiss is definitely more serval than a domesticated animal. Some Savannah owners have said it can sound like a snake, but each hiss varies depending on your Savannah breed and unique personality. However, all Savannah cats’ hisses definitely sound serval, and less domesticated.

Therefore, hearing your Savannah hiss can definitely be worrisome. Especially when you realize that your cat is only hissing when they are on the verge of attacking, or at the very least on the verge of being aggressive. If you hear your Savannah make this noise, try to eliminate the situation causing them so much stress immediately.

Body Language

The last thing you want is your Savannah continuing to be put in a situation they obviously don’t want to be in! Understanding why your Savannah is hissing can greatly help keep your Savannah free from danger. Their body posture also helps you understand that they are ready to attack, as you’ll probably see their tail straight and their back arched.

Just like with meows, hissing can mean your cat is about to act in different ways. While they are only ever hissing because they feel they are threatened, cats can hiss in different situations. If you have a friendly cat who makes friends with people and animals alike, they’ll probably only hiss when they truly feel threatened.

Meanwhile, if you have a cat who isn’t great with people or other animals, they’ll readily hiss before a friendly cat ever will. And, of course, if your cat has had unfortunate situations in the past where they’ve been abused by people or other animals, they will hiss much more readily than others.

Much Louder

At the end of the dayit doesn’t really matter how many times your cat hisses. What matters is the fact that they’re obviously uncomfortable and feel threatened in that situation — and that means you should take them out of the situation as soon as possible. Savannahs’ hisses can be very loud, usually much louder than a domesticated cat.

This loudness can actually really help Savannah owners, as there will be no questioning whether you’re Savannah is hissing or not. And once you hear this hiss, it’s time to act and eliminate the fear that your Savannah is feeling, in whatever way you can.

As you get to know all the many different sounds your Savannah cat makes, you’ll probably grow used to their blend of domesticated cat noises and serval sounds. It’s a little odd that they can do this so naturally, but also incredibly interesting!

Final Thoughts

Savannah cats, like many other breeds, usually chirp when they can see prey but cannot get to it. This is thought by many to be a sign of excitement and frustration combined into one, but it is nothing to be worried about as an owner. Savannah cats also meow and hiss much like other cats, albeit usually in a much louder fashion.