Learn The Cat Language: So You Understand Your Darling

Purring, meowing, hissing: Cats may not be able to speak, but they can tell you something. We help you to understand your darling correctly. Cats are very sensitive and react to the smallest changes in their environment. Their fine power of observation can be traced back to their descent from the cats of prey. Predators hunt their prey themselves and for this, they need to keep a close eye on the situation. Only the sharp observation of every small change enables the hunters to find the right moment to strike with lightning speed. As a cat owner, you must therefore acquire a pair of predator’s eyes, because, conversely, even kittens communicate through minimal changes in their facial expressions and gestures.

The Cat’s Channels: How Does Your Pet Communicate?

To understand what your cat is trying to tell you, you first need to understand how it communicates with you. Cats express their feelings in two ways: through their body language (tail, eyes, ears, and head) and through sounds (kitty, hissing, purring, yowling). Above all, facial expressions and gestures provide information about how your pet is feeling. Cats have very conscious and intense body language. This varies somewhat depending on breed, upbringing, and gender. However, since all cats, as different as they are, are connected by their ancestry from the predator, commonalities and generalizations can certainly be identified.

As a loving and responsible pet owner, you should keep a close eye on your cat. This is the best way to decipher how she personally reacts to certain situations and how she expresses feelings such as affection, aggression, fear, or loneliness. Since cats need a lot of affection and attention from their owners, they also want to be understood by you. They want you to notice and respond to their feelings. We’ll show you here what common gestures and facial expressions mean in cats.

The Emotional Barometer Of Cat Language: The Position Of The Tail

Central importance in the body language of the cat has the tail. With this, your darling conveys its basic voice position to you and helps you to understand also possible other physical expressions.

Die Katze kommuniziert mit ihrem Schwanz.
The cat communicates with its tail.

Tail Is Clamped Between The Legs

If the tail is clamped between the legs or wrapped tightly around the body is a clear sign of fear and discontent. Here you should definitely consider what your cat is missing and what worries her and counteract it. She needs your help now!

Tail Is Bent Forward Vertically

Your cat is not only happy but also wants to play and move. This can be either for you or a conspecific the invitation to play together with her.

Tail Is Up

You come home and your cat is already standing expectantly at the front door. Probably she straightens her tail and bends the tip slightly. This is a good sign! Your pet is happy through and through and is just happy to see you in this situation. It feels completely safe and most likely would like to cuddle with you. You can usually recognize the latter additionally by the fact that the cat lies down on its back. A raised tail can therefore also be called a declaration of love or proof of friendship.

If the cat does not bend the tip, it wants to show other cats who is the boss. The bushy and imposing tail should scare and impress the other cats. Better stay out of such power games and let the cats sort it out among themselves.

Tail Wags Back And Forth

Unlike a dog, a wagging tail does not convey joy and excitement, but annoyance. Your cat is unhappy with the situation and expresses that. In addition, a wagging tail can stand for restlessness, insecurity, fear, or nervousness. In any case, the wagging tail of your cat does not tell you anything positive. Depending on the situation, you can tell what’s worrying your pet.

“Meow. Meow.” What Do Cat Sounds Mean?

If you ask young children what sound the cat makes, you will get the answer “meow.” However, cat sounds are more diverse. So your pet also communicates with you by hissing, purring or yowling. How intense the cat’s feeling depends on the volume at which it makes the sounds.

The Meow For Attention

The first time cats meow is already in the womb of their mother. The meow is a call for attention. That’s why the four-legged friends use this sound, except to their mother, mostly only in front of people. The cat wants to attract the attention of its owner by the sound. The reason for it can be hunger, joy, the request to play, or the desire for affection. If you observe your cat closely, you will quickly learn to distinguish between the different variations of meowing and you will quickly know how to separate the hunger sound from the cuddly meow.

Pleasurable Purring

Purring means only one thing to most cats: “I feel like a million bucks and I like you.” In contrast to meowing, the four-legged friends often use this sound towards their fellow cats to signal that they see a friend in the other. In the case of minor injuries, purring can also promote the self-healing process.

“You’re Hissing Like My Cat”

We often use the term “hiss” in our vernacular to refer to people who snarl at us or react in a very unfriendly manner. This can be traced back to cats, namely, they hiss when they feel threatened. Usually, this is accompanied by a cat hump, bared teeth, and erect hair. This is how cats try to scare off the threat and signal to it “Just stay away!”.

Crying And Yowling In Unfamiliar Situations

Cats acknowledge uncomfortable unfamiliar situations by yowling or crying. For example, being transported to the vet in a box or being examined for the first time can cause nervousness.

Katzen beobachten ihre Umgebung sehr genau.
Cats observe their surroundings very closely.

Look Me In The Eyes Little One: Here’s How To Read Your Cat’s Gaze

Your cat’s eyes follow you intently around the room. From the observing cat look, every four-legged owner can sing a song. Here again, indicates the vigilant and accurate observation skills of the cat. Mostly, however, your pet simply wants to draw attention to itself by its looks. Here you can find out what she wants to tell you…

Eyes Open

Wide-open eyes are a sign of contentment and well-being. Your cat is relaxed and has confidence in her surroundings. This is usually supported by the fact that she behaves also otherwise her calm. Nevertheless, it does not stop to examine everything attentively.

Your Cat Can Smile 😉

Blinking or winking is equivalent to a smile in cat language. You are welcome to blink back in response. However, just as slowly and emphatically as your cat did before. In no case should you just stare at her for a long time. This scares the cat and puts it under pressure since it knows staring only from power games with conspecifics. A wink, on the other hand, conveys security and affection to your darling. You can also win over strange cats by winking. It shows them that they don’t need to be afraid of you and that they can trust you.

Diese Katze lächelt: Sie kann die Augen schließen, weil sie ihrem Besitzer vertraut.
This cat is smiling: she can close her eyes because she trusts her owner.

Closed Eyes Do Not Only Stand For Tiredness

When your cat closes her eyes, she puts her keen observation on hold for a short time. Thus, it signals that it can trust you completely and does not need to permanently monitor the environment. Even when blinking, the cat closes its eyes for a short time. So the slower she winks at you, the more trust she has in you.

Slightly Closed Eyes

If your cat’s eyes are only half open, it can mean one of two things. It depends on the situation. If it is lying on the sofa or on the floor and is falling asleep or waking up, then the slightly closed eyes are a sign of tiredness. Like humans, cats sometimes like to doze off.

However, if there is no sign of tiredness, you should pay attention. Your cat is in an aggressive mood because it no longer feels safe in its environment. If you are right, your assumption is confirmed by the fact that the cat sits or stands.

Penetrating Stare

There are different types of staring. They depend on the size of the pupil. If the pupil is very narrow, then the cat is threatening its counterpart and feels superior to it. In contrast, a stare with a wide pupil means curiosity and interest in what is happening. Also, it can stand for fear. A time for fear can be New Year’s Eve, for example: Learn how to properly handle your cat on New Year’s Eve here!

Feelings Are Conveyed Through The Ears

In addition to the tail, the mood of your cat can be best recognized by the ears. Especially here you have to be a good observer because even small differences in the posture of the ears can express a completely different mood.

If your cat’s ears are relaxed and pointing forward, he is happy with the situation and friendly towards you. If it turns the ears just forward, it has become attentive to something. However, if the cat’s ears do not remain still, but move back and forth, then she is insecure. She is now no longer concentrating on you but is checking out the surroundings with her eavesdroppers.

Be careful, if you can see the back of the cat’s ears, in cat language, it means fear and preparation for an attack. This gesture comes from the wild cats. These have a bright spot behind both ears. If they feel threatened, they turn their ears and the two spots act as a second pair of eyes. So they want to scare and intimidate their counterpart. That the fear has finally turned into aggression, you can recognize by the fact that the cat lays its ears flat against its head. Now it can only be a matter of seconds until it starts the attack.

Head Movements As An Approach

Surely you know it, that your cat rubs its head against you. The rubbing with the head is a clear proof of love to the master and is often accompanied by an invitation to cuddle. If the cat opens its mouth slightly while doing this, it can pick up your scent. At the same time, she wants to give her scent to you by rubbing it to signal that you belong together. You can best respond to this rush of affection by petting and scratching.

Um dir zu zeigen, wie lieb sie dich hat, reibt deine Katze ihren Kopf an dich.
To show you how much she loves you, your cat will rub her head against you.

However, should your cat rub her head against your head, sometimes she is also using it to show you that she would like to be cleaned. While your kitty often cleans herself all by herself, some places are difficult for her to reach. If she doesn’t have any other cats around her who can do this, she will need your help.

If your pet just nudges you lightly with her head, it’s a loving greeting in cat language. As with head rubbing, the harder the better. The cat does not want to annoy you or disturb you, but to express its affection to you by the strong head movements.

Bristled Fur As A Danger Signal

“My fur bristled.” Again, we’ve already turned cat language into a figure of speech. A ruffled fur, we know, clearly represents danger. The cat now feels fear above all else. But why does it then ruffle its fur? Through this gesture, it wants to scare off the attacker and appear larger. Kittens very often have ruffled fur, because they often can not yet estimate their strength in the playful fight against the siblings. If your pets are out of the age of the kitten, then a ruffled fur during the play actually no longer occurs. Exceptions are the territorial fights, which serve to determine the head in the apartment.

Das Fell von Babykatzen sträubt sich häufiger.
The fur of baby cats ruffles more often.

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