Understanding Kitty Language: Check Meow-t!
Your cat is purring, meowing, hissing, and calling for your attention but you still don’t know what she wants. Or she has her tail up and high, glaring at you with her glowing eyes. Then she takes off! Cats make a great addition to your family, but they are mysterious creatures; you never know what lies behind the cute face of theirs. Understanding feline language may take a while to learn but here are a couple behaviors that will help you read their body language them better.
- Vocalizations - Whether they are purring, or hissing, each sound they make has a different meaning. If you listen carefully, you might understand what they are trying to tell you!
· Meow - The classic “meow” has multiple meanings. She might just be trying to casually greet you, telling you to stay away, or just being curious.
· Purr - Purring is the sound of contentment. It means they are welcoming your company and is happy to be around you. Cats also purr when they are being fed because they are hungry.
· Hiss - If a cat is hissing, she is indicating aggression. She is unhappy and may attack. Your best bet is to stay away from this cat until they cool down.
· Yowl - The cat needs help! Either they are being attacked or hurt, they will yowl. If you hear a really loud “meow”, attend to them immediately.
- The Tail - You can most likely determine a cat’s mood just by observing their tail. The movement or stature of their tail can have various meanings. Unlike dogs, a wagging tail does not mean they are happy or excited, in fact, it just might mean the opposite!
· Up high - She is happy and excited. She is interested in you.
· Upright & tip curved - She’s feeling friendly. She wants to get to know you!
· Up with fur standing straight - Frightened, anxious. She could run away any second now.
· Curled and by its side - Calm, content. She’s relaxed.
· Curved down - She’s worried.
· Shifting from left to right - She is irritated or angry. (You don’t want to mess with this cat.)
Check out this image made by Lili Chin for a visual image of kitty body language.
When cats rub their body against you or use their head to butt you, they are marking you as a person they want to affiliate themselves with. It signals affection and is a positive sign that indicates trust. They also do this to household items such as tables, chairs, couches to mark their territory. So if they’re rubbing their body against you, they’re marking you as a friend.
When your cat pushes her paws in and out on a surface alternatively, that means they are really happy. At times, they will push their claws out too, so it might be painful if they are doing it against you, but at least it means they love you right?
Now you’re a cat professional who understands the feline language fluently!
· If you want to learn more about the feline language, here is a related article that you might find helpful: