Unless you speak cat, it’s quite impossible to know what your feline friend is saying. However, you can decode the communication by taking a cue from your cat’s tail, eyes, ears, and general posture.
Just like humans, cats may be sad, happy, scared, or simply chilling on the porch on a Sunday morning.
In this guide, we’ll explore the different ways in which cats express themselves and how you can interpret the feline tongue by taking notes.
The easiest way to translate your cat’s communication is through vocalization. Cats make different noises, depending on their mood.
Meowing is a multi-purpose sound that your cat could make to greet you or even object to something. Some cat parents might have also seen their kitties meowing around the house for no reason – possibly talking to themselves.
Meow could also be a command or an announcement.
Cats purr when they’re content. Sometimes, they may purr while eating too. However, purring could also be a coping mechanism using which cats comfort themselves when they’re anxious.
If your cat is trilling or chirping at you, they want you to follow them. Since it’s the vocal signal mommy cats use to tell their kitties to come to the bowl, that’s probably where you’ll end up if you follow your feline friend.
Cats also make trilling sounds when they’re talking to each other. So, if you have multiple cats at home, you’ll often find them gossiping about you in trills and chirps.
To no one’s surprise, a howling cat is in distress.
They might be locked outside or be in some kind of pain. Yowling or howling is also a mating call in unaltered cats, while in older cats, the howl may be a result of their disorientation due to a cognitive disorder.
Growling or Hissing
Cats tend to hiss or spit when they’re annoyed or angry. It’s best to leave such kitties to their own devices.
While growling, cats may also stare continually at the thing they’re angry at. Plus, they thrash their tails or hold them up. Sometimes, they show their teeth while hissing and lay their ears backward and flat. In such situations, you should leave your cat alone, giving it the time to relax.
Do not go close to such a feline as they may harm you. However, if you’re in the vicinity and get bitten by your cat, get medical attention right away as bacteria in a cat bite can be a serious health threat.
A chittering cat is excited – sort of how little kids get when they spot a snack tray coming their way. Your cat might make such noises when looking out of the window at birds.
How to Read Your Cat’s Body Language?
Cats are interesting creatures who give away a lot about their mood from their body language. You should take note of your cat’s tail or ears to determine what mood they might be in right now.
If a cat’s ears are swiveling, the feline is attentive to the sounds around them. It’s likely that they’re looking for prey, and that’s why they have to pay attention to each sound around them.
On the other hand, if the ears are sideways or backward, your kitty may be angry or irritable. Also known as airplane ears, they are sometimes a sign of a frightened cat.
When your cat is watching you fill their bowl with food, you’ll notice their ears to be forward. It’s a sign of happiness, interest, and alertness.
If a cat’s back is arched and the fur is standing up, it’s likely that they’re angry or scared. However, if the fur is flat but the back is arched, they’re waiting for you to touch them.
When cats are lying on their backs, they’re either growling or purring. If it’s the former, you should keep your distance as they’re ready to attack and are upset about something.
However, when a feline is purring, lying on its back, it’s a sign of relaxation.
The tail gives away the most about your feline friend’s behavior. If it’s erect, the kitty is happy and alert. However, if the fur is erect, that’s a sign of anger or fear.
If the tail is straight up and quivering, the cat is extremely happy about something. But then again, if it’s thrashing, that’s a sign of agitation. An angry cat will whip its tail very fastly.
Your cat’s tail wedged between the legs or held low indicates anxiousness or insecurity.
When trying to communicate with their cats, many parents ignore the eyes, but they can tell you quite a lot about your cat’s feelings.
If the pupils are constricted, your cat might be aggressive. However, if they’re dilated, the feline is possibly submissive, nervous, or playful.
Among all other signs, eyes are the hardest to read, especially if you don’t notice your cat’s eyes much.
How to Know If Your Cat Is Sick or Injured?
Cats are both prey and predators. That’s why they’re good at hiding their injuries and weaknesses. You might not even know your cat is injured in many situations unless the signs get very severe.
That’s why you should look out for the following signs to determine if your cat is ill or hurt:
- Hides away from you for long periods
- Does not show interest in eating or drinking
- Does its business outside the litter box
- Yowls or howls
- Pants or breathes with an open mouth
If you notice one or more of these signs, talk to a vet immediately to get your cat medical help.
While most parents are well-read on healthy tips for cats and have stocked their kitchen with healthy cat food, they often have communication troubles. However, cats are great at giving signals to help you understand their current mood.
Use the signs in this article as a feline language guide to interpret how your cat is feeling at the moment.