Cat Speak—Understanding the Language of Cats
How to Communicate Better With Your Cat
Throughout the history of mankind, cats were used mainly on the farm to catch vermin. Little thought was given to the cat's reserve. Cats owned by the relatively fewer wealthy households were mostly revered as symbols of status, ornamentation—and in Egyptian times—wonder.
Since cats were long seen only as creatures meant to enhance human life, they are sometimes seen as a species lacking their own emotional life. This is a mistake. Cats are very intelligent animals that have evolved a variety of body communications that they use to communicate their needs. As any cat lover might agree, close observation of the cat will reveal rich levels of cat speak.
The following list is intended to help those who wish to have a closer and happier relationship with their pet cat by understanding their body language.
Changes in Temperament
If you wake up to find your cat staring at your face every morning when this was not the case for perhaps a decade, this could indicate emotional distress or physical illness. Take stock of your cat and bring it to the vet if necessary. Generally speaking, healthy cats are a bit stand-offish, some more so than others.
Though you might enjoy the sudden attention, if your cat is suddenly very affectionate, this could indicate a problem. Remember that even if your cat is stand offish and rejects you, they still love you. Distress can often make them realize that you are the one who loves them the most and can help them. So take heart, take stock, and have the vet check them out.
If your cat blinks both eyes at once, you should consider yourself lucky as you have just been kitty kissed! You can also "kiss" your kitty too by catching your cat's eyes and blinking slowly and deliberately at it. Remember that one blink is quite sufficient, although you may try two.
If your kitty returns the blink, then you have just been kissed back in the world of cats! Don't get upset if your kitty doesn't kiss you right away, because you might have suddenly surprised them with so much affection. But don't worry, your kitty will be kissing you once it adjusts to your loving blinks!
More Kitty Kisses
Another version of the kitty kiss is when your cat gently puts its nose against your nose. Your cat may also choose to put its nose on your forehead once or several times. A kitty kiss on the forehead is also a kitty blessing! If your kitty puts its nose to your forehead several times, your cat either misses you greatly or is feeling some anxiety about your love. Either way, know that your kitty loves you a lot!
You might wonder sometimes why your cat stalks you, demands a proper petting, and then plops its tail on your leg or your arm. In the cat world, this can sometimes indicate a form of dominance and some cats get a bit miffed when a cat puts its tail on them. Perhaps this is because they can't stand the cat-to-cat affection at times.
But when a cat puts a tail on a human being, it takes on a whole new meaning. It can mean that they want to feel connected to you. In larger feline species, such as the tiger and lion, cats tend to put their tail on their families. It is really a sign of affection. They think you are family!
The Cat Crazies
If your cat is running all over the place like a maniac for an hour every day, your cat has the cat crazies! This often happens at night, since cats tend to be nocturnal. The cat crazies are a surge of energy which enters the cat's body once a day for a short period.
Do not be distressed when your cat starts knocking over your CD collection or brushing things off of counters. These things are to be expected. Your cat might even decide to trip you as you're going to the fridge for a little midnight snack. Always expect the worst! It's the cat crazies! If the crazies bother you because you've fallen flat on your face, don't worry, in a very short while your cat will be sleeping for the next 22 hours.
Pawing at you is your cat reverting back to the time when it was a kitten. You are its mum or dad! It is expressing love when it paws at you.
Q-tip communication can be a little gross, since you end up finding Q-tips, store receipts, and little pieces of plastic your cat fished out of the garbage in the water bowl or other locations. These are actually signs that your cat communicating with you at a very high level. If you find a Q-tip in the water bowl, this means the water is not fresh or that it needs to be refilled.
If you start finding Q-tips at a closed door, this is because the kitty wants you to open it! There are many other examples of Q-tip communication. But in general, if your cat starts using Q-tips for communication, you should thoughtfully examine where the Q-tip has been placed and what importance the area holds for your cat.
Soft meows indicate a hello. Medium meows indicate a hello and some level of demand. Big meows mean business, buster.
Licking of Lips or Pretend Chewing
Your cat is hungry or thirsty! Offer it some fresh water or a snack. If these do not work, try some catnip. Maybe your cat is just bored. Try playing with your cat. A long stick with a feather attached is a lovely way to bond with your cat. If this doesn't work, put the Animal Planet on. Some cats love to watch Animal Planet.
Even if they don't watch the TV, many like to hear the sounds of other wild animals! And if this fails, make a mental note to buy your cat a new stuffed mouse! If your cat continues to lick its lips and pretend to chew at you, try petting it. One of these should work, because your cat clearly just wants your attention!
Purring means contentment. But beware, sometimes it also means distress! If your cat is hurt and purring, do not dismiss the hurt. Some cats purr on both happy and sad occasions.
Turning Its Back to You
Your cat is mad at you. Cats tend to do this also especially if you have gone away on vacation. They feel they missed you too much and you have put them through an emotional roller coaster. Don't worry. This should end in a day or two. Your cat soon won't be able to resist your lovin'!
Jutting a Paw or Leg Out
This is an indication your cat desires some sort of attention or affection. Even if your cat does not show any other signs of need, this is often the biggest way for some cats to show they need some serious love.
Dead Birds and Mice
Your cat has brought a dead bird or mouse to the door or possibly inside! Bad kitty, you say. Well to a human, seeing a beautiful bird or sweet innocent mouse laying limp in the hallway floor may offend our sensibilities. Our cute cat has suddenly turned into a monster! Not so fast.
Your cat was trying to give you a present. By bringing in its catch, it is giving you a gift and doing its fair share to support the household. Keep in mind that when some cats are young, their moms teach them to hunt. Your kitty will be surprised when instead of praise, you chastise them for their prize. All your cat wanted to do was impress you. Bear in mind that your cat might have spent the last few hours or days thinking of a strategy to wow you with their special gift. This is possibly the biggest area of miscommunication between human and cat.
Video: Body Language in Cats
Thus concludes my article about cat communication. I hope this is helpful to other cat lovers out there. Remember that even though cats are stand-offish by nature, they have a great need for love, just like people. If your cat is not very affectionate, just try to let it know that you are there for it. If you let your cat be natural, it will feel safe and eventually it may open up to you. I hope the preceding article will help foster more understanding between humans and their cats.
Many blessings to all cat lovers out there and their furry friends.