I bet you have heard about the majestic lion and the mighty tiger, but you have not heard about cheetahs. That’s probably because cheetahs can’t roar!
Cheetahs originated from Africa and are known for being swift animals. One thing that makes them different from other big cats is that when they get mad or excited, they meow or chirp instead of roaring like other big cats.
Did You Know That All Cheetahs Sound Exactly Like Your Domestic Cat?
Cheetahs are the fastest animal on land, reaching speeds of up to 70mph. They have sharp claws and long tails, which they use to balance their bodies as they run. They can accelerate from zero to 60mph in three seconds! But all of these things are not what make cheetahs beautiful.
Unlike Tigers, leopards, and Lions, a cheetah is unique in their chirp and meow sound — a highly specialized vocalization that helps them communicate with other cheetahs over great distances. But the chirp or meow is only heard when cheetahs get together, so despite their fantastic speed, they rarely communicate with each other.
The most remarkable thing about cheetahs is that they have the same meow as a housecat!
Researchers believe the cheetah’s ability to purr or chirp evolved from an ancient reflex found in other felines. The purr is a growl, and this cat’s growl-like purr gets heard for up to two miles!
You won’t hear cheetahs purring much. It happens only when the animals feel threatened. And it can’t be heard from a distance because it is “inherited” from the mother due to her nervous system adapting to her kittens’ physiology. You may have heard cheetahs purring when a baby is being suckled.
There are two kinds of purrs: vibrations and raspy gurgling. Cheetahs’ raspy growl-purr, which can be heard for two miles, has a frequency of about 2,500 Hz. Vibrations are high-pitched sounds (about 6,000 Hz) with a pitch that rises as the animal moves and drops at rest.
Why Exactly Do Cheetahs Have Meows Instead Of Roars?
One of the reasons cheetahs don’t roar like lions and tigers is that they have a smaller vocal tract. Lions and tigers only have one voice box and speak through it, but cheetahs have two voice boxes.
Cheetahs are more expressive than other big cats by having two voice boxes instead of one because they can change their voice pitch based on their situations. It would be essential for them to protect themselves during hunting or to defend their territory.
The vocal cords produce the cheetah’s purring, vibrating as the animal breathes. The cat’s size affects the pitch, with more prominent individuals having a more profound and lower pitch. The animal’s size affects how rapidly air passes through its lungs and how much its sound produces using air sacs in its throat.
Cheetahs purr when seeking attention when they are nursing their young or even if they’re being restrained by a trainer while receiving medical treatment. The cheetah’s purr isn’t just a sound but also behaviour, which is a feline marking its territory.
The vibrating vocal cords produce the sound you hear in the cat’s throat. These are the same vocal cords that produce a growl. If a cheetah could speak, it would sound like a house cat.
But purring is more than noise; it is also a behaviour, indicating that a cheetah recognizes and accepts whoever is nearby as part of its group and doesn’t feel threatened by them.
The purr is not only a means of communication, though. Cheetahs will use their purring to show their dominance over other cheetahs by making less vocal threats and lowering their posture (head and body), as in relaxed submission.
Cheetahs also purr when they are affectionate towards other group members. This behaviour may indicate that the cheetah’s motherly instincts are expressed through its offspring.
Now you know the answer! If you have ever been outside and heard a noise that sounded like your housecat, you are not hearing things — cheetahs make a purring or chirping sound. The purr and meow is used as a means of communication, to signify aggression or submission, or to call for social contact.