[Video Cat]

Today's weird animal viral video is, like all great examples of the genre, equal parts funny, creepy, cute, and sad. Apparently, the cat in this video is having a fear/anxiety/aggressive reaction to the presence of a young girl (sounds like under 5 years old?), a friend of the daughter of the guy who shot the video. Or I don't know, hairball?

I've never seen this behavior before, and wonder how the owners might best deal with it. But also, I couldn't stop laughing.

And is that a Maine Coon? They're usually so mellow and sociable.

(thanks, Tara McGinley)


  1. I like the part about halfway through where the cat is simultaneously terribly frightened, trying his best to act threatening, and also trying to get his head in the best place for scratches on his neck.

    No situation is so dire that you would neglect optimizing your neck scratches.

  2. As a proud cat lady I find this very entertaining. My older cat makes this crazy noise when you pet her on the back above her tail. So we don’t pet here there. This cat is insanely cute all puffed up at the end.  It may be anxious and making weird noises but kitty looked well loved. I’m sure there was a peaceful resolution. ….but for realz tho- I have a 14 year old cat that makes insane noises too. 

  3. I don’t understand kitties that stay stationary when freaked out. Ours and most that I’ve encountered get the hell out of dodge (assuming they can) if they don’t like a situation. Also wanted to say “in before someone cries animal abuse.”

  4. I know I’m being overly sensitive, but I found this painful. The poor thing is terrified to the point of nausea: note the tongue-flicking, which is a sure sign that a cat is near puking. If this were my cat, I’d get it out of the room before it had a seizure.

  5. It is a base Maine Coon. I’ve got a pair of MaineCoons and while they are highly social lapcats, they have ALWAYS been frightened of small children (normally under the age of 9-10 really but 5 and under are the worst). The MaineCoon my grandmother had when I was a child was afraid of children as well.  Mine will just run and hide however.  This to me appears instinctive behavior as they have had it since they were weened. 

    1. I don’t think so, my mother breeds Main Coons and they’ve had no more problem with any children in the house, no matter what age. Cat’s are normally quite wary of children, regardless of breed and the Main Coon isn’t much different there, but not more so than any other breed of cat. 

  6. At some point it really seems to start being more scared of its own reaction than anything else.  The huge eyes moving around almost look like they’re beseeching others to answer its question: “what am I doing??”

  7. Hahahahaha.  Mellow and sociable?  I’ve got a Maine Coon, and it’s an asshole.  Looovvves showing off its belly, but make the mistake of thinking that means you can pet it, and you gonna get bit.

  8. I’ll share a Maine Coon  / child story that’s stuck with me.

    Many years ago, some friends who owned a Maine Coon hosted a party.  Some of the guests brought their toddler, who had barely started toddling and was still quite wobbly.  The cat initially wasn’t sure what to make of this tiny creature (this was before the friends in question had any kids of their own) but eventually decided that the kid was OK, and the cat expressed this approval by affectionately brushing up against the toddler.  Of course, this was enough to send the poor wobbly tyke down on its diaper, with much crying in the aftermath.  The cat, seemingly shocked by the loud disapproval of the toddler, turned and walked away with a “fine, be that way” attitude.  Enough of us had been watching their meeting for everyone to know that the cat hadn’t actually behaved aggressively, and we were all more amused than anything.

  9. Simultaneously hilarious and disturbing. 

    It makes perfect sense for cats (or any other small animals) to be scared of human children, but I’m surprised that Maine Coons seem to have evolved an instinct for it instead of having to learn it through experience. 

  10. I hear the spirit of Milton Waddams in that cat: 
    “And..Oh no, it’s not ok because if they make me…if they if they put me with that kid then I’ll have to…I’ll, I’ll set the building on

  11. I think this cat is just having a pretty normal stress reaction. Lots of cats are afraid of small children, even well socialized cats often are. Notice the defensive broadside turn, flattened ears, and puffed fur. The basic pitch of the “nonono” sound is the same as a normal growl. I think the jaw movements that make the growl  sound like “NO” are similar to the chatter sound cats make when they see birds on the other side of a window.

    Nothing horrible going on here. Normal defensive reaction that somehow got the chattering mouth movements mixed in. 

    1. I’ve grown up around cats, and that isn’t the “Ooh I wish I could get that damn bird” chatter. That’s the “Oh God I feel like shit and am going to throw up all over everything” sound.

  12. This cat is about to puke-the cat at my house makes that noise every time she pukes, and she had a health issue that made her blart up her food several times a day for weeks. I know that sound better(unfortunately) than almost any sound an animal makes.This  poor kitty is about to yuck up the contents of it’s stomach.

    1. “and she had a health issue that made her blart up her food several times a day for weeks.”

      I thought the technical term for that condition was “being a cat.” Several times a day seems high, but daily or every two to three days seems normal-ish.

  13. My parents have two Maine coon cats, very fun cats. The first time “Big Boi” met my dog it made similar noises, we cut the meeting short for fear of health issues. This video for some reason made me think of this…

  14. We had to force feed one of our cats once upon a time. She got some kind of kitty flu, vet gave us some antibiotics and told us we might have to feed her with a syringe if she doesn’t eat on her own. So of course she didn’t, and we had to squirt food in her mouth.

    Imagine a cat making this noise while simultaneously trying to swallow food she doesn’t want to eat. Just about the funniest noise I’ve ever heard come out of a cat.

  15. My Maine Coon mixed breed also does the “come look at my luxurious belly” trick. I thought it was just his own perversely evil personality. 

  16. I’m pretty sure this is the kind of viral noise that will stick around for a long time. At least it’s easier to learn the lyrics to this than “Friday”

  17. That’s not a Maine Coon.  Just a poofy cat of some kind.  Maine Coons have much longer noses, somewhat of a different body shape.  If someone sold these folks this cat as a Maine Coon, they got robbed.

    Poor kitty.  :(

    1. Yep. Destructo-Zynx was up from his spot, craning his neck towards the screen… it really got his attention.  I think he wanted to soothe that kitty with some nice ear cleaning… :3

  18. I have a pair of Maine Coons as well. The weird thing is my male cat, Cecil, has no problems with my dog (when I first got him) or visitors after an appropriate acclimation period when first introduced.

    The female, Beanie, on the other hand, goes into hyper alert mode with anyone who is not me. Including the dog she has been cohabiting with for the last 9 months. I have been scratching her ears and she is simultaneously purring and hissing at the dog (or other visiter). The fact that Bull (the dog) thinks it’s fun time does not help. The only time I really become concerned is when she gets beyond the deep chest growl and the pupils go full on dilated mode. Then it’s “I’m scared and somethings about to get fucked up and it’s not me” happy fun time.

    She and the dog have since worked out who’s the boss, and it’s not him. If she’s in a room in my house he will sit and wait for her to exit the room before he goes in. I think it may have to do with the little tiny scratches I found on his snout one night when I got home from work…

  19. the first time my 2 Siamese laid eyes on a toddler they froze then bolted – took me hours to find them – they were terrified.  They effect me that way sometimes too – especially in restaurants.

  20. Hilarious. I’ve had Maine Coons and Maine Coon mixes in the past and they are very vocal and usually their noises don’t resemble anything other cats make. This one looks scared by the kid and the attention it’s getting, but it doesn’t look hurt or on the verge of a seizure to me. Especially given that it leaned in to get cuddles when the guy came closer to comfort it.

    It is licking a lot, so it may yak up a hairball, but honestly, Main Coons are long haired cats, and pretty much anything will get them to hairball. 

    1. My mothers oldest, a tom called Fellow, is a 16-20 pound monster who could practically de-bone you without breaking a sweat and he makes the scrawniest, weakest mewling sound I’ve ever heard. Talk about deception..

  21. Cat’s definitely got a major hairball on its way out, and the stressed look on its face is probably due to the length of time it’s taking.  You can tell it’s going to vomit because of its constant mouth movement and the howling noise.  My Birman always did this and I took it as a signal to quickly pick him up and put him outside.  

    He was never as funny as this though – furballs are usually the least adorable part of owning a fluffy cat!

  22. I had a similar reaction from a two year old girl at a dinner party once.

    At the time I had a beard, and the girl had apparently never seen a man with a dark beard (she was Swedish).  She stared at me blank faced in horror.  Eventually something would distract her or someone would pick her up and she would be playing or whatever then would happen to catch sight of my face and instantly freeze into the same blank horrified stare again.  This cycle continued the entire evening.

  23. The youtube video had a useful comment; to open multiple instances of the video so the audio sounds like an army of toddlers resisting being diapered.  The cumulative effect is astounding…. I laughed until I cried.

  24. IME cats do this for two reasons:
    1) Hair ball. I think this is likely, since the cat seems a bit distressed.
    2) You are scratching the cat in a location that seems to short-circuit their brain causing them to make that yodeling sound and that licking movement (my cat likes it at the base of the tail). Cows do this too, according to a vet friend of mine. If this were the case, I think the cat would look more blissed out or more pissed…I’ve seen both. Also, you would see someone scratching the cat. 

  25. Could be a Norwegian Forest Cat, which looks like a Maine Coon but is normal sized.  Ours was an odd clumsy goof who refused to use the litter box.

  26. My cat does this once in a while (but usually not to this extent) and it scares the hell out of me. 

    She does it usually because she ate a piece of delicious, delicious plastic (having mistaken it for grass or something), and is now either in the process of puking it up, or trying to push it out the other end.   For my cat, its usually a scared/pissed-off type of reaction to something that she doesn’t even understand (i.e. why that delicious piece of “grass” isn’t being digested) and not really directed to anyone or anything. 

  27. I’m looking forward to the mashup of this with the little girl reading “That’s Disgusting”. Cat seems to be having a perfectly rational conversation about a certain page in that book…

  28. I used to have a messed-up calico – Cleft palate, one eye bigger than the other one, a few mild motor function issues – I named her “Quasimodette” – And her habit of “talking” and purring at the same time, combined with being funneled through the cleft was some of the strangest noise I’ve ever heard in my life. It was hard to believe that some sort of Lynchian tape manipulation wasn’t going on.

  29. One of my cats, Vincent, just turned 20.  He was born in a small apartment and he (and his littermates) were never allowed outside.  For the first year or so of his life, he thought the entire world ended 8 feet above his head.

    I moved to a house.  My other cats did fine but the first time Vincent looked up in the living room and saw the vaulted ceiling was 2.5 stories high above him, his eyes grew incredibly wide and his entire countenance betrayed a debilitating level of fear.  He was scared out of his mind and dove under a couch.  He did not come out, literally, for 3 days.  It was only severe hunger and/or thirst that brought him out.  Two weeks passed before he would do anything other than dash out to eat a few bites and drink some water, then dash back under the couch.  (Yes, there were serious messes involved.  After a couple of days, we raised the couch on blocks and put a litter pan under there.)

    Sometimes it’s hard to anticipate what will traumatize a cat.

  30. I don’t think it is saying Oh no no no… as much as Om nom nom nom… meaning that child is in danger of becoming dinner if the cat is left alone with it.

  31. I was playing this when my cat walked in the room. He freaked the hell out and puffed up enormously, then kept trying to get behind the monitor so he could find the cat

  32. Cats are delightfully weird. Mine always made this noise before puking or coughing up a hairball.

  33. This is old, but gold.

    I am in tears because of the nononono cat, though. The internet doesn’t often make me literally LOL, but from 30 seconds in I was gone.

  34. I’m watching this for the second time now. Poor Nono kitty!  It has me in tears though from laughing!

  35. I think if my cat started making that noise, I’d call an exorcist.  And I’m an atheist!

  36. My cats make a similar noise when they have a hairball/vomit (which happens if someone gives them dairy products). I’ve seen the base-of-the-tail behavior, too.

    My siamese (affectionately named Simese [sic]) used to ‘catch’ bread and my stuffed animals and drag them through the house looking for me and yowling quite loudly all the time. He also used to eat my sheet music. Miss that cat, but he was twenty-two when he died, so he had a good life.

  37. I had a Maine Coon that did the exact same thing when distressed- but no way in hell would I put my hand near him when he was in that condition!  I can’t believe the guy petting it didn’t pull back a stump! That breed can seriously thrash you if they feel the need….

  38. Interesting, it looks just like a reaction my cat had a few years ago to ingesting some mushrooms (which are quite toxic for cats, bad drug type of thing). No we didn’t feed them to him, he stole some food of an unguarded plate. He was ok after it wore off.

  39. Funnier was the reaction of my cat who was drawn to come sniff the laptop to check the cat was okay. The look on her face was startled mania. I thought she was going join in for a minute.

  40. My Maine Coon (as far as we can tell, anyway; he’s from a shelter so probably not a purebred one) is quite sociable and loves people, including small ones. He’s an ungodly asshole to other cats, though. And no, he never makes noises like that, though he makes some odd noises.

  41. Every cat in the house is staring, staring, at my laptop. Except for our eldest; she is actively hunting the source. Oh, and our foster cat, who has been around children, has just disappeared…

  42. PS: My cats go crazy when this is on. They sniff frantically with confusion at the computer speakers.

  43. My cat, Ludlow, does this when he is about to hork up a hairball. He is a Maine Coon/Bengal mix.

  44. “In Russia, cat talks to _you_.” This is an unhappy cat, but not desperately so — it’s basically an articulated version of the feline growl. We don’t hear the growl as often as the more precise hiss, but it seems to translate as “I’m not used to it, I don’t like it,  I’d really like it to go away.”

    One of my cats growled more or less continuously for a good hour when I had visitors who had brought their dog with them. She wasn’t particularly _afraid_ of the pooch (she stood her ground and swatted it when it tried to make friends), but she didn’t want the creature in her house and made sure we all knew it.

    By the way, since some folks seem confused by this:  Displaying the belly does not actually mean “rub the belly”. It means “I acknowledge you as dominant.” Whether a bellyrub is accepted is a separate matter — as with humans, it makes some cats twitchy unless they really trust the other party, and sometimes even one who likes being tickled can get overexcited or simply have had enough. (Dogs are more likely to accept tummy tickles from strangers, but dogs are generally more inclined to go along with whatever the dominant wants in hopes of improving their own status in the pack.)

    Similarly, purr does not seem to actually translate as happy. Some cats purr when they’re hurting and want the human to do something about it. I’ve taken to translating it as “sociable/approachable”… but that may be overoptimistic; some behaviorists insist that cats purr in so many different situations that it’s hard to argue that there’s any consistent meaning. That doesn’t keep me from being pleased when my cats purr, of course.  (“A most curious creature, Captain. Its trilling seems to have a tranquilizing effect on the human nervous system.”)

    Speaking of which, one of mine just showed up to remind me that it’s past my bedtime.

  45. I played it for my cat, and her ears twirled, but didn’t go into full battle-ears. Then again, this is the cat who doesn’t mind her tail pulled or ears tugged, either.

  46. As a cat behaviorist, I can tell you: look at the body language.  The ears–flattened, to side of head. Tail: tucked under. Posture: arched back. Fur: ruffled.
    Cat is not happy! Frightened. 
    Respect that response and back off.
    Jane Ehrlich 
    Feline Behavior Counseling (facebook)

  47. Forgot to add: the noise is funny, but he’s also salivating a great deal, which means fear, as well.

Comments are closed.