Your cat talks to you all the time. Learning to interpret your cat’s meows and postures is an amazing trip into a different world that will greatly improve your relationship with your cat.
Were Meows Developed for Humans?
There’s some evidence that cat meows are not natural cat language and that they’ve been developed by cats to communicate with humans. What is natural, however, are the wails cats make for mating or the low rattle you hear when they’ve located their prey. When they shriek, they are either hurt or terrified.
Most cats have a stockpile of sounds that you can learn to recognize if you just observe your cat’s actions and match it with his sounds. You will more than likely recognize meowing and the beautiful purr of a contented cat. They can also growl, hiss and chirp or cluck.
When you come home from work at night and your cat greets you with a high-pitched meow, it is a “Welcome Home” greeting. Unhappy cats will use a low-pitched, deep meow to tell you they are upset or not feeling well.
No one knows for sure how a cat purrs. Regardless of how they do it, a purring cat is a happy, content cat. You can’t mistake that soothing sound of pure contentment when your cat is purring on your lap. Small kittens will often purr when they curl up on your shoulder and fall asleep.
What you need to notice is if your cat suddenly becomes less verbal and not so friendly. It might be time for a trip to the vet. Cats can suffer from an inflamed larynx, like the human laryngitis, and their silence is something to check with your vet.
Cats Have Body Language
Cats don’t always use verbal messages to communicate with you. Their body language is just as important to your cat’s communication as it is to human interaction.
- When cats are happy, their ears point forward. The pupils of their eyes are normal size. They will silently show contentment by looking at you with slow blinks. The tail will be curved and pointing up.
- Cats are very curious. When they are attracted or fascinated by something, their ears will be straight up and pointing forward at the object of their fascination. Their eyes will be wide open with a sparkle and their tail will likely be standing straight up.
Agitated or uneasy cats will twitch their ears. Their eyes will be wide open. Tails could be low or curled between their hind legs and the tip could be quivering.
- Angry cats, or one considering jumping on you like prey and biting, will lay its ears flat back on his head. His eyes will be black with no visible pupils. The arching back, bristling fur and swishing tail are all signs to be aware of.
- Kneading you and greeting you with his tail straight up means your cat loves you.
It’s nice to be loved by a cat and even better to understand their language.