Understanding What Your Cat is Telling You

 “A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”

Cats can sometimes be difficult to understand. They do what they like to do and do it when they want to. It’s best to always remember that you don’t own them because they own you. Unlike dogs that come when they’re being called, show tricks, and obey commands, cats would look at you as if asking “what are you talking about?” or just ignore you and walk away. 

Cats are really not that hard to comprehend. You just need to observe their body language and the different sounds they make and you’ll be able to decipher what they are trying to tell you and what they want you to do. Here are actions and vocalizations you should look out for:

Sounds

Purring

Cats usually purr when they are pleased with something or someone. They can purr even as they eat or when they want something. However, there are times when they purr because they are distressed or not feeling well. They do this to put themselves at ease. 

Meowing 

Your cat’s meowing can mean “hi”, “feed me now!”, “I’m not gonna do what you want”, and many other things. You just need to observe the accompanying body language or action and you’ll be able to understand what they mean. 

Chirping

A sound between purring and meowing, chirping is usually used by the mommy cat to call her kittens and get them to follow her. If your cat chirps at you, it probably wants you to follow her, most often to her food bowl. 

Yowling

A drawn-out meow that’s loud and long, yowling usually means trouble. It could be because your cat is sick, feeling pain, trapped somewhere, or looking for you. If your cat is intact then she might be in heat and is yowling to look for a mate. 

Chittering 

Cats make chittering sounds as they sit by the window and look at squirrels and birds outside. It shows their excitement as they watch their prey and anticipate catching it. 

Hissing

A hissing sound is like a warning not to mess with her right now. Leave your cat alone when she is hissing or growling. It’s a sign that your cat is enraged, irritated, hostile, or afraid. 

Body Language

Eyes

Dilated pupils in cats mean that they are excited. Depending on the situation, it could also be a sign of anxiety, surprise, or playfulness. 

Constricted pupils can signify that your cat is upset or enraged. If you see that your cat’s eyes are large and rounded with pupils looking like specks then this is a sign that she sensed some danger and is getting ready to attack.

Half-closed eyes indicate trust, love, pleasure, contentment, and relaxation. It could also mean that they are about to fall asleep. With you there, your cat feels safe and secured. 

Staring could possibly mean your cat is trying to challenge you and assert her dominance. 

Blinking slowly means she trusts you, feels safe with you and loves you. 

Ears

Having ears straight up signifies that your cat is being alert, attentive, or wary of something. 

Slightly forward ears could mean she is contented or playful. 

Turned-back ears could mean she is annoyed. So it’s best to back off and give her some space.  

When the ears are turned sideways, it could mean that your kitty is being skittish or agitated over something. Please proceed with caution. 

When your cat’s ears are positioned towards the back and flat upon the head, it means she is afraid and is in a defensive mode. It could also signify that she is enraged and hostile. Keep away!

Swinging ears means she is listening attentively to the sounds around her. 

Body

With an arched back and fur standing on ends, it could mean that your cat is scared or infuriated. 

With an arched back but with fur lying flat, is a sign that she is waiting for your touch. 

When cats lie on their back, it means that they are happy, relaxed, and contented. However, if your cat is growling while lying on her back then that means she is ready to attack and use all her claws and sharp teeth.  

Tail

An upright tail indicates that your cat is happy or curious.

An upright tail accompanied by standing out fur means she is enraged or afraid. 

A tail lashing to and fro means she is anxious. The more upset she gets the faster the tail moves. 

A tail turned down low or hidden in between the legs means she is feeling vulnerable or distressed. 

Cats usually use different kinds of sounds, body language, and actions to let their humans know what they want. Be observant and take note of how your cat communicates with you. It may take some time but knowing what she is trying to tell you would lead to a better and harmonious relationship with your favorite feline friend. 


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