Speaking Cat 101
By DIANA WALDHUBER
New to the world of cats? Whether you decided to get one of your own or your new love is a cat owner, cats can seem like another universe. It may seem daunting, trying to understand what it is a cat is saying to you, or feeling. But don't worry, a little help from PetMD and you'll be well on your way to understanding several cat idiosyncrasies!
Behind Blue Eyes
If a cat gives you nothing more than a disinterested stare, consider yourself lucky for even being noticed. However, if the cat blinks at you once or twice, she’s saying hi. Try doing it back and see how your friendship takes off. If the cat blinks slowly, congratulate yourself: kitty just showed deep affection for you.
Flick of the Tail
If you’re a dog-person, don’t make the mistake of thinking the swishing tail means “I’m happy to see you!” It doesn’t. A flicking, swishing tail means “I’m annoyed.” A gently moving tail can mean interest. If the tail is up when the cat walks then all is fine in her world. She’s happy and confident. A tail that’s down means kitty is unhappy. And we all know what the puffed out tail means: angry, defensive, attack kitty.
If kitty rolls over and exposes her soft, fluffy belly, she probably isn’t asking for a belly rub, but it is just as good. Exposing the belly means the cat trusts you completely. Cats know their belly is vulnerable, so they don’t go exposing it to just anyone. It must be someone they trust. Somewhere they feel safe.
Cats talk. They make little chirping noises, they yowl, they meow. If you listen you’ll begin to understand them, especially when you take in the the circumstances. A plaintive meow at the food bowl, or when you’re preparing meat is obviously, “I’m hungry! Give me some!” (or where my cat is concerned, it’s a demanding meow saying “That’s mine!”). Chirps are usually just chit chat; the kitty is sharing her day with you. Some cats talk back when you speak. Each cat is different, so just simply listen and learn.
Gentle bites are playful; it's the cat’s way of showing you she likes you. So are licks and kneading. However, cats won’t usually bite you out of anger (unless you’re doing something to really annoy them). A gentle, deliberate bite on the arm is often an indication of something, usually, “hey, wake up. It’s past breakfast time.” They never hurt and certainly don’t break skin.
Ever wondered why a cat will butt her head against you, or rub her face on you. Certainly, it’s a sign of affection. But more than that, a cat is a territorial creature, and she has scent glands in her face. She’s actually marking you as her territory to other cats! This is why cats are very interested in sniffing you when you come home (especially when you’ve been around other cats).
Now you have the basic building blocks in not only understanding but speaking cat. They are wonderfully expressive, affectionate creatures. And it takes the slightest effort to understand them.
Meow! It’s Monday.
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