How to speak to your Cat…
A Simple Guide to decode the Cat language.
How many times have you gotten up early in the morning because your cat just woke you up with her soft paw and her loud meow… You get up eventually and start talking to your cat, and of course, she will talk back to you.
Do you realise that you speak to your cat and your cat is talking to you? The Question is ” Do you speak Cat language.”
Believe me, communicating with your cat is an essential part of training your cat ( instead of your cat training you) and reinforcing a bond with your cat. It is possible to teach your cat, simple commands like ” No” or “Down”.
I know what you are thinking now, but training your cat with simple commands makes her a better pet. Use the words like treats, dinner or any other word you use as communication for treats will help your cat associate it with something pleasurable. Remember not to change the words each time if you decide on specific word commands stick with it.
Cats with other cats do not communicate through verbal interaction. Besides the hiss and growling at trespassers.
The common sound MEOW
Meowing is a language especially developed for humans. What cats are only meowing between each other is usually done between the kittens and the mother. Kittens with their little meows use it to get the attention of the mother. Soon as they grow up, the meows stop automatically.
Cats reserve their verbal interaction for us humans. As you accurately have figured out by now the cat language is a complex mixture of facial expression, ear position, tail positioning and other forms of body language. Cats also love to mark their territory with scents and sounds to leave a distinct message for a like intruder.
Cats are fast learners
Cats are fast learners and understand quickly by observing us on which of their sound cause the human responds to their demands. ( Cats learn quickly which button to push on their human to get the attention)
Do you speak Cat? Here it is how …
The Oriental Breeds are very vocal and have an extensive vocabulary.
Our Cat her name is Minka she is an oriental Cat, she was a stray… boy when she wants something she is vocal, loud and persistent.
If Minka is outside and she comes in through the patio into the house, and she is not able to see one of us either in the kitchen or living room she walks through our home and calls out “HELLO SOMEONE HOME…” First few times we thought we had visitors when we realised it is our cat.
On the other side, and they have one yowl – tone for all. Another Stray Cat of ours or we look after is Schmuser, and when he talks to me, his voice is high pitched and so soft like a squeaky voice.
It does not matter if your cat is vocal or not, your cat will be fluent in body language and this is a critical component of her interactions with you and other animals.
Do you speak cat? Make an effort …
Try and make an effort to tune into the body language and the vocal communication from your cat. It makes the interactions with your cat easier. Learn to understand your cat’s voice … if it is hungry and wants to be fed, or your has hurt herself and told you your cat has pain, tune into your cat’s language.
What is my Cat saying, learn some vocalisations that are common when someone asks you Do you speak cat?
The do you speak cat interpretation
“Meow” is a word for everything. It depends on the tone high or low, face and body signs on what your cat is saying.
- Meow: Hey, how are you (a simple greeting) it can be a command ( I want up, I want down, or more food now)
- A short fast meow: here is your mouse, Our cat, often walks through the house meowing to herself.
- Multiple meows: happy to see you! Where have you been? Missed you!
- Medium pitched meows: It is a plea for something, a treat, dinner or just want to be let outside.
- A long drawn out meooooowwwwwwwww: Normally means she is not happy, you forgot her dinner, or you are late giving her meal, or you forget to greet her, pat her … it is a complaint and a reminder
- Low pitch lite growl: Hey watch it, you stepped on my tail, or you fall over me did you not see I am right behind you. Are you blind?
Purr: Cats Purring is usually a sign of contentment. When a Cat is happy, they sometimes purr even while they eat. Sometimes it is also a protection against predators. When a cat is sick or anxious, this is to comfort themselves .. you can say it is like a child sucking his thumb.
Growling, hissing or spitting: Is an indication that the cat is annoyed, angry, aggressive or frightened. In short, the cat is saying leave me alone, or I will bite you.
A yowl or howl : (it sounds like a loud drawn out meows) it usually means your cat is somehow in a kind of distress … you might have locked her in the closet, or she is looking for you and another option your cat is in pain. Go and find your cat if they’re making this noise.
If your cat is unneutered and unspayed, these sounds are part of the mating behaviour. ( yes and for some very annoying ). In case your cat is an elderly cat, consider that they might be suffering from a cognitive disorder ( dementia) they might howl because they are disorientated.
Chattering, chittering or twittering: those are the noises your cat is making when she sits in the window or is outside and is watching birds, squirrels and lizards. There are different opinions around, and some experts think this Chattering, chittering or twittering is an exaggeration of the “killing bite,” when your cat grabs their prey by the neck and works her teeth through the bones to snap the neck.
Chirps and trills: That is how a mother cat talks to her kittens when she wants them to follow her. If she does this with you, it probably means your cat wants you to follow her. When our cat is doing this means she wants to show us her bowl either she doesn’t like the food or she want to have more.
On the other hand, if you have more than one cat, you can hear them converse this way quite often.
One important thing to understand when you want to speak the cat language is reading into their body language.
How your cat speaks with you through the EYES…
- Full dilated Pupils: Your cat is in a mood to play, and your cat might be excited. When cats play, they are sometimes a bit overexcited and tend to be more aggressive.
- Pupils constricted: Your cat is offensively aggressive, but possibly content.
- Pupils dilated largely: nervous or submissive ( not fully dilated)
- Slowly blinking eyes: Your cat is telling you she loves you, think about like someone is blowing you a kiss.
Through the EARS…
- If the ears of your cat look forward: your cat is alert, interested or happy.
- If the ears are put backward, flat, sideways ( the ears look like an aeroplane): your cat is not in the best mood irritable, angry or frightened
- If your Cat is swivelling: your cat is attentive and listening to every little sound
Through the Tail …
( Many Cats in South East Asia have no tail or a stumped tail, our cat Minka her tail is half stumped, and I always wondered what happen that a lot of cats in South East Asia are without tails.)
When the tail of your cat is straight up or with a curl: that shows your cat is happy
You see your cat twitching or trashing back and forth the tail: that means either your cat is excited or agitated. The faster the tail, the angrier the cat.
When the tail of your cat vibrates: means your cat is excited to see you.
If the Tail fur sticks straight up and the tail curls in an N- shape: Be aware that means extreme aggression
When the Tail fur sticks straight up but the tail is held low: means your cat is aggressive or frightened both ways be cautious.
When the tail is tucked under the rear and held low: means your cat is afraid, insecure or anxious.
If the tail is straight up, quivering: your cat is really happy. In case that your cat has not been spayed or neutered, your cat could be getting ready to spray something.
This is a book about how to speak Cat… both books are interesting to read.
Do you speak Cat? The Body language of a cat …
- When the back is arched, and the fur is standing on the end: your cat is frightened or angry.
- If the back is arched, but the fur is flat: your cat welcomes your touch
- When your cat is lying on the back and is purring: your cat is very relaxed and happy.
- If your cat is lying again on the back but is growling: you can guess that your cat is upset and ready to strike.
Cat language Rubbing…
You have undoubtedly seen and experienced that your cat rubs its chin and body against you, and many people say this is to say that your cat loves you. Well, this is some thought of right, but the reason why your cat is rubbing against you is they marking you as their territory.
Means they say this is mine. If you look and watch your cat, you can see that it rubs the chair, the door, the toys everything in sight. This is a message to everyone that is your cat’s territory and their stuff including you. But they do love you dearly.
This is when your cat comes to you and massages you or the blanket this is sometimes called making biscuits. The cat works with the paws on a soft surface as if it kneading the cookie dough. That is a holdover from when they were kittens. When the nursing kitten massaged the mother’s teats to make the milk flow. Your cat will do that when it is pleased.
The Flehmen response
Do you think sometimes your cat sniffs like a dog? Especially when your cat is sniffing your shoes than lifts the head, opens the mouth slightly, curls back the lips and squints the eyes?
Your cat is not making a statement how your shoe smells don’t misunderstand this, your cat is gathering more information.
The sense of smell to cats is so essential that they actually have an extra olfactory organ that only a few animals have. It is called the Jacobs organ. Located on the roof of their mouth behind their front teeth and it is connected to the nasal cavity.
If your cat is fascinated about a certain unknown smell, your cat will open the mouth and inhale the scent molecules that they flow over the Jacobson organ.
That intensifies the odour and gives your cat more information about the object they are sniffing. Up to now, no one could figure out what the cats do with that information. Cats are mysterious, and that is one of the reasons we love them.
So do you speak cat now… take the advice
Speaking to your cat shows that the words you say are less important as the way how you tell them together with your body language.
When you talk to your cat in the same tone as the commands “down and no” when you use ” good kitty’ or ” well done here is a treat” than you will confuse your cat as she does not know what you want, the worst thing she misinterprets what you are saying.
A fundamental lesson in communication is consistency in the tone and interaction with your cat.
When you correct the behaviour of your cat use a firm, authoritative voice and use it in conjunction with your body language. Use that tone consistently for correction your cat’s behaviour.
For example, you want your cat down from the table, computer or bench then make a serious face and use your finger or hand to point down, say ” down.”
When you call her for dinner or offering some treats use a happy voice smile and beckon with your hand.
My cats have the habit of begging for attention in a rotation when I am on the computer or trying to work and accomplish different tasks.
You will need to say in a firm tone “No” and gently push your cat away without showing the affection to your cat. I know it is hard, with the sweat looks on their face …but if you want to get things done, there is no way around it.
Cats and personal space
As you are a Cat owner, you know that Cat’s do not have much respect for your personal space. Cats are invading the human’s own space repeatedly. Don’t wonder if you have to repeat the NO-push combination several times before your cat will give up and leave you alone.
Don’t make this mistake and say “no” to your cat and instead of pushing her away you pet your cat, she will sure interpret this as an act of the welcome sign.
Cats will also respond to a sharp spitting or hissing sound as “no” only use it when they do something seriously wrong and need to be stopped.
Below is a great book to read more in detail about How to speak Cat…
The bottom line on DO YOU SPEAK CAT is
Be consistent and make it a habit use the same voice, facial expressions and hand gestures for essential commands, then your cat will not have problems to understand you what you mean.
The better the communication between you and your cat, the better you and your cat will understand each other.
Let us know: Do you speak cat? How difficult was it to train your cat or is your cat training you? Do you have tips and tricks how to speak cat? How do you speak cat?
Feel free to comment below
So long Melanie
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