How to understand your cat

Posted by Bonnie Senior on 07 August, 2015

When they can be bothered, our cats speak to us. 

What we don't often understand is that our cats are telling us many things through their body language, meows and expressions! 


Meows aren't their primary way of communication

While cats actually communicate with one another by scent, hissing, caterwauls and chattering, it has been found that meows are all about communicating with us.

 In fact, John Bradshaw, a University of Bristol anthrozoologist and author of Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, says people think of meowing as essential cat behavior, “But it’s something they’ve learned to do to get our attention. It’s really something they’ve adopted as a way of communicating with humans.”

The reason cats meow is because it gets you to do what it wants :) It's not as sinister as it sounds though. Your cat depends on you, so they quickly learn what type of meow and body language can grab your attention best. The meow can mean many things then, like asking for food, a pet, or be let outside for example. 


Purring doesn't mean they're feeling Purrfect

Sharon Cromwell-Davis — a professor of veterinary behavior at the University of Georgia said that purring doesn't always mean that your cat is content. It can also mean that they are sick, injured or scared. 

But there's no need to be worried all the time, they purr when they're happy too :) 


Rubbing up against you isn't always a request

Rubbing up against you may also be a way to express that you're very welcome to stick around and they're happy to see you. 

If you were away all day at work or school, take it as a sign that they've really missed you. 


Giving you eye Signals 

The slow blink by your cat may not mean that they're sleepy, but that they're comfortable with you and trust you. So next time you're on the couch with your cat and they slow blink, don't take them to their bed, but keep enjoying the time you spend together. 


Tails up! 

We can learn a lot from the tail of our cats. They're not just for balance, but for telling us their mood. 

When their tail is vertical and straight, they're very likely to be in a good mood. And if the tip of their tail is slightly bent, it can mean they're in a very good mood. 

But watch out if the straight up tail is bristled! It means your cat feels threatened and their back will most likely be arched too. 


And that's it for today! Hope this list of ways that your cat speaks to you helps the relationship between you and your cat. If your cat has any behaviours that you are just in love with, feel free to share them on our Facebook page. We'd love to hear about them! 

Information Source: Science of us

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