The secret language of cats
Did you know your cat is talking to you?
Understanding cats can be tough. One moment they love you. The next, they’re in a world of their own. It’s like they have a secret language!
The truth is, they do.
You can learn to speak the secret language of cats – and enjoy a richer, more rewarding relationship with your feline friend. All you have to do is give them the right amount of love and attention, and follow these simple tips…
Listen to your cat
Cats make lots of different sounds as they go about their day – in fact, researchers have counted 16 different vocalisations that cats make. When you factor in all the distinctive noises that individual cats make (just like we humans have accents), there are even more.
Everyone knows what a purr sounds like – the soft, content sound a cat often uses to tell us they are happy. If your cat will let you place your finger under their chin, you can feel the comforting vibrations of their purr, even if it’s very quiet.
When it comes to the classic ‘miaow’ sound, it’s likely your cat is being assertive and seeking your attention. In fact, you might not know that adult cats only make this sound when communicating with humans – they make different sounds when interacting with fellow felines. They will probably continue until they get what they want!
Cats may make other sounds when they greet people and other cats, or when they are alarmed (for example, meeting a neighbour’s cat they see as a rival). Try recording a few of these different sounds on your phone and playing them back to understand the sounds that reveal your cat’s behaviour.
Look at your cat
They can’t read and write, but cats can both read our emotions and body language. For example, they are more likely to purr when they see us smiling and communicate with us using body language of their own.
While their faces aren’t as expressive as ours, cats have a very important way to communicate that we don’t – their tail! Unless you have a breed without a tail, like a Manx, it’s one of the best ways to learn what they are thinking.
If your cat runs towards you with their tail sticking straight up and wobbling slightly, then they are very pleased to see you. If the end of the tail is slightly crooked, it means they are happy but not sure how you feel about them – so give them some reassurance!
Noticed their tail twitching or thrashing? You might be annoying your cat – for example, by not feeding them quickly enough (there’s only so much head nuzzling to get your attention that one cat can do).
Lastly, if their tail is quickly moving from side to side, then be careful. Your cat may be telling you they are not sure how to act. If you’re in the middle of stroking them, they may want some space. Show them you understand by backing off a little to see how they react.
Speak to your cat
Of course, all this cat speak isn’t much use if you’re not talking back. Why not make a start by teaching your cat to come when you call its name?
All it takes is consistency – so call their name and offer a treat when they come near. If they won’t come all the way to you at first, simply call their name and offer the treat if they take a step towards you. Then, gradually increase the distance until they’ll come all the way each time you call.
There’s so much to learn about how our cats communicate with us. We hope these tips helped you learn a little more about the fascinating world of cat psychology.
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