Tag Archives: Cat Communication

Cat Communication – What is Your Cat Trying to Tell You?

We tend to think of cats as being very proud animals. Unlike dogs, they do not show their affection all that obviously; and there is a good chance you may have from time to time believed your cat is thinking something along the lines of “I am tired of you human slave, I am going to eat you while you sleep”, as that can sometimes be how they appear.

Actually cats are quite more complicated than some people give them credit for, and they do love their owners unconditionally, but they are just not so expressive about it. Knowing what’s on your cat’s mind at any given time, though, is very important if you want to enjoy a long, happy and loving relationship with your furry friend.


Let’s discuss the “talking” part first. Did you know that cats produce almost 100 different vocalization types whereas a dog’s vocabulary is limited to about 20? Here are the most common things you will hear:

Meowing is defined by Oxford’s dictionary as “the characteristic crying sound of a cat”. Cats only meow to people and it can mean plenty of things depending on the intensity and volume. For example, a “hello” meow will be much quieter than a “feed me” or “let me outside” meow.

Mew’s Oxford definition is “(of a cat or gull) make a characteristic high-pitched crying noise”. Cats use that to identify themselves to another cat or locate that cat.

Growling is defined as “make a low guttural sound of hostility in the throat”. Cats produce that noise when they are warning you to stay away.

Hissing’s definition is “make a sharp sibilant sound as of the letter s”. Cats use that when they are feeling defensive and want to drive an enemy away.

Spitting is defined as “(of a cat) make a hissing noise as a sign of anger or hostility”. It resembles popping as a sound and it happens when the cat is surprised or if she feels threatened.

Screeching (“give a loud, harsh, piercing cry”) or shrieking (“make a high-pitched screeching sound”) may appear in a number of situations – if a cat is in a defensive mode, if it is being aggressive, if it is angry, or if it feels pain.


Chirping (“make a short, sharp, high-pitched sound”) is how cats greet you in a friendly manner.

Trilling is defined as “produce a quavering or warbling sound”. It is a sure sign of happiness.

Chattering means “make a series of short, quick high-pitched sounds”. Cats do that when they see pray but they can’t reach it. It expresses their excitement.

Yowling (“make a loud wailing cry”) is a sound that may express an array of different feelings like disorientation, fright, anxiousness, or confusion.

Moaning means “make a long, low sound”. It sounds rather sad and cats usually produce it just before they vomit.

Purring is “make a low continuous vibratory sound”. When a cat produces that noise it may signify either illness or contentment. Did you know that when cats purr they speed up their healing process?


You can also read your cat’s mood in her eyes.

When a cat is not blinking it is either being defensive or it is challenging you or another cat.

When the cat’s pupils are round it means that she is interested in something, excited about something, or that she is afraid of something.

If the cat’s pupils suddenly dilate she may be on the verge of launching an attack.

If the cat’s eyes are slowly closing or if her eyelids are drooping, that means that she is relaxed and she trusts you.

Another very important body part in reading your cat’s mood is the tail.

A puffy tail is a sign of defensive mode.

If the cat holds its tail straight up it means that it is in a friendly mood.

If the cat’s tail is tucked around the body, it may show either contentment or it may be designed to tell you to leave the cat alone.

If the tail is slightly flicking it means that the cat is thinking about something and has not yet decided what to do.

If the flicking is sudden and rapid it shows agitation or anxiety.

If the tail is constantly flicking it means that the cat does not like something in its surroundings.

If the tail is thumping back off. The cat is frustrated and may attack.


Cats have a very interesting way of shaping their tail like a question mark. It has the exact same meaning it does for humans – interest and curiosity.

If the cat is holding its tail between its legs it shows a submissive position.

And here are some overall states which your cat’s body language may be portraying:

If your cat is feeling relaxed and it is in a friendly mood, its ears will be pointed forward, the tail will be in an upright position, or relaxed, the fur will be flat and the whiskers straight.

If your cat is annoyed by something, the tip of its tail will be twitching; the whiskers will be positioned close to the face and the ears close to the head.

If your cat is aggressive it will be staring directly at the object of the aggression with narrow pupils and the tail and back hair will be puffy.

If your cat is scared of something it will have the tail and back hair raised, it will hold its tail close to its body and the whiskers and ears will be held close to the head. You may observe sideways crouching.

If your cat is sick its eyes will be semi-closed, the tail will be positioned between the legs and the ears and whiskers will be in strange positions.

In order to understand what your cat is trying to tell you, you have to be able to recognize all those signs and read them in combination as a lot of them are ambiguous in significance. Once you’ve figured them out though, you will be able to ensure your cats and your own happiness with ease.

Rita Rova is a cat lover and writes about her passion on behalf of – the Australian coupon code website that lists all the latest discounts on pet supplies from top Australian Pet Stores.

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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Animals & Birds


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