The Sounds We Come to Know

By Tracy Ahrens

One evening I was sitting in my parent’s living room and a persistent moaning became predominant over the sound of a television program. I muted the sound on the TV and asked my mom what the heck that noise was.

She immediately replied, “Pooper is snoring.”

The gray-and-white male cat was curled up in a warm bed, nestled in a chair, snoring. This was a sound familiar for her, like birds singing outside or the hum of the refrigerator motor in the kitchen. As for me, I was mystified and focused on finding the source of the moaning.

At my house, it took just one episode for me to identify a mysterious hopping and thumping sound. I remember standing in the bathroom one night when the strange sound came from the kitchen. What was it? My 60-pound dog, Trucker, leaping and running while trying to catch a fly out of the air.

Since then, I always know that when I hear this compulsive clunking he is in pursuit of a fly.

These episodes made me think of how quickly pet parents recognize particular sounds their pets make and what they indicate. For example, for visitors to the home of a cat parent, a scratching noise in the kitchen could be startling. The homeowner, however, knows it’s just their feline using the litter box.

I thought of the pet-related noises that I am familiar with in my home that others may not understand. I think you’ll appreciate what I mean. You’ll probably think of sounds you also are uniquely accustomed to (share them in the comments!).

Floppy ears flapping when a dog shakes its head.

A cat or dog lapping water out of a bowl.

The thudding sound of a long cat tail beating against the floor when it is watching something intensely or about to attack its playmate.

The thumping sound of a dog’s tail on the floor or doorframe when it is excited.

The “tink-tink” sound of a dog’s toenails walking across a tile floor.

The rapid scratching sounds of a cat or dog itching itself with its back foot. The sound of a dog licking its feet as it pacifies itself to sleep.

The deep sigh of a cat or dog while it is lying down, signaling it is relaxed and about to fall into a deep sleep.

The distinct purr of each cat in a multi-cat household.

Guttural barks and whimpers while a dog dreams.

The thumping noise when a cat tries to open a cabinet door with its front paw.

Scurrying noises in the kitchen when a cat dashes after a toy and slides several feet across tile.

The tearing sound of fabric when a dog is ripping its new furry toy to pieces with its front teeth.

The tiny popping/tearing sounds when a cat kneads its front claws in a blanket before lying down.

Chirping meows as a cat talks to a bird on a window ledge (through a closed window) and wants to pounce.


Tracy Ahrens is a veteran journalist, author, artist, and mom to three rescued cats and one dog. See her web site at www.tracyahrens.weebly.com and add her book, “Raising My Furry Children” to your collection, www.raisingmyfurrychildren.weebly.com


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