How Your Cat Communicates with You!
9 June, 2017
Most of us cat lovers can pretty much get a sense of how our cats try to communicate with us. Feline language is a mix of facial expression, tail position, ear position and other forms of body language as well as scent and sound. Cats learn to make demands of us by observing which of their sounds cause which human responses.
What is Your Cat Saying?
Whether your cat is vocal or not, she will be fluent in body language, a key component of her interactions with you and other animals. Your kitty will paw you with a loving meow when he or she wants her food.
The following meows are fairly common to most cats:
Short meow: “hello” how’s it going?
Mid-pitch meow: A plea for something, usually dinner, treats, or to be let outside.
The long meow: “Where’s my food already! Did you forget to clean the litter box?”
High-pitch Meow: “Don’t even try to five me medication!”
The long meow to nobody in particular – “I’m older and a bit confused”
And the more obvious signs of communication:
Purring: Most often a sign happiness but can also be response to hide weakness from predators.
Hiss: Stay away from me.
How you can communicate with your cat
As you “talk” with your cat, the words you use are not as important as the tone of voice that you use and the body language that accompanies them. If you say ‘no’ in the same voice as you use for ‘good boy’ you’ll confuse your cat and he’ll misinterpret what you’re saying. Consistency is the key to successful communication with your kitty.
If you are trying to correct a negative behavior, use a loud, firm voice, and use this same tone consistently in tune with body language. For example, when ordering your cat ‘down’, use a stern voice and use one of your hands to point down.
To reward good behavior or when calling your cat to dinner or offering treats, use a higher-pitched ‘happy’ and motion with your hand.
If your cat is begging for attention when you are trying to work or is eating your food and shouldn’t, say ‘no’ firmly. Cats don’t understand the concept of personal space and will try to invade it, so you may need to repeat the “no” several times before your kitty gives up and leaves you alone. If you say “no” and pet your cat because you feel badly, she will interpret your actions as a welcome signal. (I have a really hard time with this one and usually give in!)
If you consistently use the same voice, facial expressions and hand gestures, most cats will have no trouble understanding what you say. The more you communicate with your cat, the better the two of you will become at understanding each other. Each cat has their own way of communicating and you will learn from trial and error what works.
If you like this article, you just might want to read how your cat communicates with his tail and what the positions mean.