Cats - both housecats and outdoor cats, and feral cats to boot - will sometimes make an eerie sound that sounds very much like a human baby crying. It can be quite disconcerting, hearing what sounds like a baby crying outside my window (following by scrabbling and squawking, often).

Why do cats make this sound?

  • Foxes, whilst outside the scope of this site, also make a very similar sound. – Henders Dec 22 '17 at 11:36
  • @Henders the foxes who live by us sound like screaming women or barking. I've never heard a baby sound. – Zaralynda Dec 22 '17 at 14:05
  • @Zaralynda It's bone chilling! It took me a good 20 minutes once to work out whether there was actually a child screaming outside or not... – Henders Dec 22 '17 at 14:11
  • terrible sound here we have both cats and foxes,it is a good thing the foxes are a litlle further away or one might go crazy. – trond hansen Dec 22 '17 at 15:02

The cats you're hearing are most likely females in heat. The sounds afterwards may be male cats fighting over the female, or possibly the female scrabbling with the male, possibly rejecting him, or after mating.

Sometimes a cat's normal meow by random genetic variation, will sound more like a baby than is typical for a cat, also.

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