If you are the proud owner of a cat, chances are good that you consider your feline companion to be part of your family. But even the dearest of family members can be difficult to communicate with if you do not speak the same language. Trying to communicate with a cat can be very difficult due to their unique ways of expressing themselves, but you can have a much more successful interaction with your pet if you understand the methods behind a cat’s way of communicating.
Cats Expect You to Do The Work
Much of the miscommunication that occurs with cats comes from the fact that we often expect them to communicate with us in the same way that dogs do. Dogs want to be part of the pack so badly that they tend to adapt their own communication to meet the standards that humans set. This is why it is so easy to teach dogs tricks such as “sit,” “stay,” or “rollover.” In contrast, cats expect you to adapt to their language at least half-way. Instead of making cats do the work that dogs are expected to, your feline companion will expect you to meet them half-way.
Cats Vocalize Well
One of the benefits of trying to communicate with a cat is the fact that they are such a vocal species. Whereas other animals may only have one or two vocalizations, cats are known for having multiple ways of verbally expressing themselves. Cats are known for meows, purrs, growls and hisses.
A meow is vocalization that is unique to human and cat interactions. Adult cats do not meow at each other. Fittingly, a meow is a demand from a cat telling you exactly what it wants. Sometimes, it might mean that it wants food, while other times, it might mean your cat wants attention.
Other common cat vocalizations and what they might mean include:
- Purrs: These sounds are your cat’s way of letting you know they are contented and happy.
- Chirps: Softer than meows, these tiny instructions are the cat’s way of letting you know that they need your attention right now. They can also be used as ways to let you know that your kitty is excited.
- Hiss: Cats that hiss are sending out a warning sign. This is a cat’s way to let you know that they are feeling threatened. If you continue, you may experience a real fight from your cat.
- Growls: Sometimes used to express fear, a growl can be used by cat’s who are put into situations that make them feel uncomfortable.
Eye Language Matters
Once a cat comes to truly trust you, one of the key ways to realize this will be the way that the cat chooses to look at you. When cats allow themselves to have lazy, droopy eyes, with eye-lids that are barely open, they are expressing a severe degree of trust in you. You can return that trust by giving them an equally lazy blink.
In contrast, when cats are suddenly interested or afraid, their pupils dilate. Narrowing their eyes can indicate that the cat is either afraid or demonstrating aggression.
Ears Demonstrate More Than Cuteness
Your kitty’s ears demonstrate a significant amount about their personality. Cats who are very angry may flatten and pin their ears back. This same look may indicate that the cat is frightened.
For cats that are determined to figure out a mystery, the ears may be slightly forward. This indicates that the cat is feeling ready to play, too.
If your cat suddenly has his attention diverted, their ears may suddenly stand up straight.
Tummy Displays Mean Different Things
When a dog exposes her tummy, this is typically an indication that the dog wants to be massaged on the tummy. But for cats, the exposing of a tummy may mean entirely different things. It is an expression of trust, certainly. But cats trust you to rub their head instead of their tummy. This is why a cat may scratch you if you reach down and rub her tummy the way you would do to a dog.
Cats can make wonderful pets. They are attentive and loving companions, but often our inability to understand their language makes our relationships difficult. With a little effort, you can meet your cat half-way so that the two of you are able to communicate more freely. This will no doubt enhance the relationship you have with your feline companion.