Do Big Cats (Lions, Tigers, Leopards, And Jaguars) Meow?

We often see normal cats use a voice (Meow) to make conversations with each other. They also pour out their meow voice to attract a human to themselves. They look so cute while doing that, but there are also big cats living on earth. Lions, leopards, jaguars and tigers are some of these big cats. As they are also cats, a question arises: “do big cats meow.”

The answer to this question is that big cats cannot meow. The different bone frame in their throats is the primary cause that big cats such as jaguars, lions, tigers and leopards cannot meow; however, they can make voices such as “roar.”  Big cats have hyoid bones in their throat, linked with the flexible ligament. It allows the vocal cord to pass more air. The big cats create a wide range of unique voices in the forest; they cannot make meow or purr voices.

Important Note: Cheetah is also considered a big cat but can meow. It is due to their throat arrangement, which is like small cats. Moreover, it has no ability to “roar.”

Why Can’t Big Cats Meow?

The hyoid is the main element that creates the difference in sound capabilities among the cats. A ligament frame exists in the hyoid bone. This bone has a significant effect on the change in voices. First of all, we start with the clarification from the hyoid bone.

The hyoid bone is a little bone with the shape of the English alphabet “U.” This bone connects with the tongue and larynx and lies in the middle of the neck.

These bones are harder, enlarge more, and permit big cats to roar, but they cannot create meowing and purring voices at the same time.

On the other hand, pets or small cats have ossified hyoids, and they can purr and meow but not “roar.” Moreover, the usual cats have small bones from their birth.

The big cats are enough tattlers’ creatures and can create a broad area of voices whether they cannot meow.

Now, it’s time to go to some other voices which big cats use to communicate with each other.

Also, Check: Do Lions Eat Fish? All You Need To Know!

Other Sounds That Big Cats Make Rather Than Meow

What Sounds Do Lions Make?

The lions use different voices to communicate with each other. Most lions use voices like hums, puffs, grunts, and roars.

lion roar

The lions have various meanings for the pride community and potential intruders when they roar. This roar plays a very significant role in the communication of the lions.

1.    Lion Grunt

Lions use various sounds to chat with other animals, including ” grunt .” It explores that the lion is in friendly mode. Mostly, they use this voice when conversing with their pride members. They also sometimes use this voice to search for pride companions outside their area.

For communication with the lions, a few guides have also learned this voice and used it with them (lions) for the visitors. This voice is not similar to the cat meow, but the tone of this vocal is also polite and full of affection.

2.    Lion Puff And Hum

In times of happiness, the lions use a special language called puff and hum. The pride members can listen to these voices easily. The volume of these voices is low. Most lions use this sound when they welcome one another on arriving in the pride. With this vocalization, they also rub their head with each other and lick each other to show affection.

3.    Lion Moan

This is another voice produced by the lions. The lionesses use moaning voices to make conversations with their children. When she tries to tell her children a new thing, they use this voice, such as when children are getting training.

Moreover, lions also use this voice during mating, making the lionesses feel easy.

What Sounds Do Tigers Make?

Some common vocalizations used by the tigers in their residence: are chuffs, snorts, moans, hisses, and imitating calls. In their habitat, they also use many other voices. Some voices are similar to the lion voices.

1.    Tiger Roar

The roar of the tigers is more interesting than the lion’s roar. Commonly, people think that the roar of lions and the roar of tigers are the same. Tiger’s roar is also a unique one in its way.

tiger roar

Commonly, they use the roar to warn other tigers not to get into their territory. Further, they use this sound in mating season, and their roar is very powerful and can immobilize beings.

According to some recent research, the frequency of the tiger roars is below 20 hertz. This is also the frequency of “infrasounds.” On the opposite, the frequency of the lions is 40 to 400 hertz.

Another problem in this research is that the mix of the frequency and the loudness of the tigers make other animals immobilize. The safari guides are often seen to become immobilized in front of tigers.

2.    Tiger Imitate Calls

Tigers can attract their prey into their trap by using duplicate voices of other animals, such as tigers hunting bears with this technique.

For this, the tiger excretes the voice of the animals that bears hunt. When bears hear the voice of their prey, they chase these sounds and get into the trap of a tiger. There tiger is waiting for the bear and makes a sudden attack to grab him. This makes bears and other animals foolish, and they prove themselves an easy hunt to the tiger.

3.    Tiger Hiss

Like other animals, when the tiger is in depression and fear, they have a voice of his to express its tension as pets, cats and dogs do. In simple words, the cats show their anxiety and stress by hissing.

4.    Tiger Chuff

The tiger’s contact with this voice when they are happy mood. It is a low-pitched sound; therefore, they can hear from near range. The other name of chuff is also prusten. They generate this sound by blowing the air through their nostrils.

The chuff is called a non-threatening voice. The tiger’s mother uses this voice to console her cubs in dangerous situations.

5.    Tiger Moan

The voices of roar and moan are very identical. When the tiger is in depress, then they moan to alert other tigers and give a message to keep a distance from it.

The sound of the roar can travel more than the moan. It is because when roaring, the mouth of the tiger is open, and the moaning time is mostly closed.

There are many differences in the distance between roar and moan sounds. We (humans) can hear the voice of the tiger roar till almost 3 kilometers distance, but on the other hand, the voice of the tiger’s moan can only travel 400 meters or 1300 ft.

What Sounds Do Leopards Make?

Like tigers and lions, leopards have a broad area of different kinds of sounds, such as roar, growl, and hiss. But they have another ability from the tigers and lions to be silent.

1.    Leopard Roar

The roar of the leopard is most famous for tigers and lions. When he roars, that feels such as cut wood. The leopard can continue this for one minute.

Commonly, the leopard roar in the condition of aggression or when he describes their area to other animals.

2.    Leopard Growl

The male and female leopards mostly live alone. Females break their loneliness at the time when she takes care of their offspring.

The male leopard makes a growl when in a very aggressive mood and wants to alert other animals of the dangerous situation. However, it produces a growl when the females call on their cubs and attracts their fellows.

3.    Leopard Hiss

Like some other animals, when a leopard is fearful, they make hissing voices like domestic cats and dogs.

It feels like an aggressive voice, but the tiger produces a hiss from the hunter’s fear.

What Sounds Do Jaguars Make?

The vocalization collection of Jaguars is not broad like tigers and lions to contact with other cats and humans. There are some voices that jaguars can produce roars, chuffs and grunts.

1.    Jaguar Roar And Grunt

Grunting and roaring is not just the voice of a male jaguar. Female jaguars also can sound out these vocalizations. Both use these sounds when they want to get in touch from a far distance. Moreover, seeing them using these voices during their mating season is normal.

Besides that, they produce another common sound called ”saw”. It is said “saw” because this sound feels like the sound of sawing wood. Therefore, this name is ”saw”.

2.    Jaguar Chuff

This is a low-pitched sound. Jaguars produce chuffing voices through their nostrils, blow air, and they close their mouth.

They use this sound when they are in a happy mood. Jaguar uses this voice in mating or when the mother expresses their love for her children.


So, the answer to the question “do big cats meow” are that big cats like tigers,leopards, and jaguars can not meow. This is because big cats have a flexible ligament frame in their next. It helps them to make many necessary vocalizations but doesn’t help to meow.


Is there any big cat that can meow rather than usual cats?

Yes, it is said that the cheetah is the only cat that can meow. Cheetahs cannot roar but make voices like purr and meow. In any dangerous situation, he used to growl.

Can humans roar?

Humans are different and unique creatures. They use different communication ways to express their feelings to others. Roar is a voice many high-frequency animals use, but humans also use high pitch sounds to explore their aggression.

Which animals have a powerful roar?

A lion is an animal that possesses the strongest roar ever recorded. We can easily hear the roar of a lion from a distance of 8km (5 miles).


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