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What does your cat have to say to you?

 

What does your cat have to say to you?

 

Cats, like all the other creatures, have developed their own communication system. They use it to communicate among themselves and with their owners. With a broad range of signs, they will easily communicate their needs, intentions or emotions.

A cat’s need to communicate

Cats communicate in dozens different ways every day. What may seem to be some meaningless gestures and purrs are in fact very specific messages about how your cat feels, or about the dinner they are still waiting for. The ability to interpret the signs your cat gives to you, verbal or not, is the recipe for a healthy, warm relationship.

Body language

Every cat is different. Some of them vocalize willingly, others prefer to use body language. How to accurately read your cat’s bodily posture and effectively respond to their needs? Fortunately, cats’ gestures are easy to decipher. The tail itself is a perfect communication tool:

  • Raised, with a curved tip – full relaxation, feeling safe,
  • Raised, straight – happiness and excitement when meeting the human,
  • Raised, straight, shivering – this tail position is typical of marking territory. For neutered cats, it can indicate anxiety,
  • Raised and bristled up – fear,
  • Bristled up, arched – anger, readiness to attack,
  • Rapid waving – irritation and anxiety. Sometimes also a sign of readiness to take up a fight.

Although the tail is the most accurate communication tool, the overall bodily posture of your feline is equally important. A cat that moves around the apartment freely, relaxing with half-closed eyes, or sleeping in strange positions tells you it feels good in your company and trusts you completely. Conversely, uncertain gait and stressed-out posture indicate nervousness, fear, or even aggression.

Verbal communication

Our feline friends usually vocalize on two levels, miaowing and purring, none of which has only one meaning. The miaow can mean that the cat begs you for a piece of this delicious patty, or complains about the state of the litter box, or welcomes you arriving at home. Interestingly, wild cats communicate practically without sounds, and miaowing is a communication method dedicated to humans.

Cat purring means that your friend feels warm, comfortable and generally happy. Although this is not always the case. Cats also purr when they hurt, trying to calm down in this way, or at their young to calm them down.

The opposite of purring is hissing and growling, which indicates trouble. A cat that emits characteristic hisses communicates its enormous dissatisfaction, anger, or even readiness to attack. These messages are most commonly addressed at dogs or other felines, yet sometimes people are the targets as well. In such case, you should leave the cat alone to calm down.

Do cats understand people?

Although cats do not speak the human language, they are able to recognize single words which are repeated multiple times, and to interpret your intonation, facial expressions and bodily posture correctly. Non-verbal messages are most transparent for them, as an acknowledgment of our mutual bond. Stay quiet, avoid raising your voice and communicate through commands familiar to your cat, and you will be able to understand each other in any circumstances.

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