I have heard countless pet owners say how they wish they knew the animal language. They love their pets but they do not know how to communicate with them effectively. I had this problem when I got my first cat. Knowing what the cat wanted was very challenging and this would make me very frustrated. After owning several cats, I can now easily understand what my cat wants through her body language.
Learning your cat’s body language creates a stronger bond between you and the cat. You will have created a flawless communication channel where you can ‘talk without actually talking’. You will also be able to avoid potential aggression and misunderstandings. Being close to each other is all that will be required for you to know what the cat wants.
The National Cat Center explains that cats mostly communicate through body postures, on the journal about common cat body language. Meowing and producing other sounds only compliment body language communication. The body language can involve the entire body or just a few parts. Observing your cat keenly will let you notice that the cat reacts differently to different situations. Some of the main parts that cats use to communicate include:
- The tail
- The back
Effectively learning how to read the body language of your cat is simple if you are observant. This knowledge shall give you the power to decipher the different feline postures. In this summary, I will effectively tutor you on how to interpret different body postures of your cat. Are you ready to learn some amazing things? Okay, let’s go!
Cats and how they pose while faced with different situations
Does your cat react differently when different people approach it? The way your cat reacts shows whether it likes the person approaching or not. A cat that likes you will most likely come towards you and rub its body against you with its tail raised. It might produce a gentle purring sound to get your attention.
This is also a way of greeting you in case you have just gotten home or you have woken up. The cat might also be in need of something and wants to get your attention. Next time your cat rubs its body against you, just know that it likes you.
The cat will stare at you with half-closed eyes as a way of showing affection. You should reciprocate this by looking at it with half-closed eyes or winking. The reason for winking or having half-closed eyes is that it shows affection in the feline world. A direct stare to the eyes indicates a threat. This is why cats look away whenever your lock eyes. Looking directly at the eyes might make the cat think that you are threatening it.
Wanting to eat or making another request
A hungry cat will be meowing repeatedly to get your attention. It will also be restless where it shall be moving back and forth near where you are. The cat shall even try to rub itself against you so that you can notice it. This especially happens when you have forgotten to put food on the cat’s bowl. All the movements and noises are a wordless way of telling you, ‘feed me’.
The cat can drop something intentionally to get your attention. Imagine a situation where you have dozed off on your couch and it is time to feed the cat, or the cat wants you to open the door so that it can go out. It might even try to scratch you gently so that you can wake up.
Happy and contented
Have you seen your cat being extra playful? During such situations, the cat is usually happy and contented. It might encourage you to play by biting your leg or scratching you politely. This mainly happens among kittens, because most adult cats are not very playful.
A playful and happy cat should tell you that the cat is healthy and well-fed. Your cat being happy makes you happy as you both create long-lasting memories. Feeding the cat properly and ensuring it is healthy will ensure you get regular bonding happy moments.
In pain or stressed
A cat that is in pain is easily noticeable. One of the things it shall do is failing to eat the way it usually does. It shall not matter whether you are feeding it with its favorite food or not. The cat may also walk with a lowered tail or with the tail between the hide legs as a way of showing it is uncomfortable.
Intense pain will make the cat meow a lot and become restless. It might get away from you if you try to touch or pat it. External pain such as a burn or an injury from an accident will make the cat very restless. It may even roll on the ground because of the pain or just lie motionlessly.
The love we have for our cats makes us sad when our cats are in pain. Internal pain is especially bad because at the time we fail to notice or we notice when it is too late. The best thing to do is to keep on taking your cat to the vet every now and then. Vets have the skills and equipment to detect internal pain in animals.
Facing a threat
Cats become very aggressive and defensive when threatened. They show signs that they are ready to defend themselves from any provocative character. It does not matter the size of the threat since even relatively small cats can easily defend themselves with their claws. Some of the things that can threaten a cat include;
- Another strange cat
- A dog (most cats do not like dogs)
- An approaching stranger
- Irregular sounds
- Any other animal which is strange
A threat that is in the vicinity such as an approaching dog, makes the cat expand its body to full size so that it can seem bigger. The fur on the back rises and the eyeballs become bigger. These eyeballs are special since they are smaller when the cat is around a lot of light. They expand when the cat is in a place with dim light or when the cat wants to see clearly. At times, it retracts the claws ready to face the threat.
A threatened cat can be dangerous and as a result, if you are the threat you should take precautions. Statistics published on the New York Times on the people attacked by cats show that about a hundred people are attacked by domestic cats every year in the US alone.
The body posture of a threatened cat is not always clear in interpretation. They can simply sit up to be attentive to a strange noise so as to know the exact position of the threat. The ears are up for it to hear the exact location of the threat. All cats have flexible ears which can turn up to 180 degrees to expand sensitivity to the slightest sounds from different directions. Whiskers of the cat spread out sharply, and show that the cat is totally alert. Seeing this particular posture should make you listen keenly especially since a cat can hear better compared to humans.
Fatigued or sleepy
Sitting in an upright position with eyes almost closed and the tail positioned beside the body should tell you that the cat is fatigued or is sleepy. This is a common position among cats and this is why cats are regarded as lazy pets. The cat can sit in this position for a prolonged period especially when they having nothing else to do.
A fatigued or sleepy cat shall not show interest in anything. In such times, you should not bother the cat because it will not be interested even in play. Do not mistake this posture with sleeping because if anything strange happens, the cat shall be totally alert.
Understanding cat body language faster
Feline postures are universal because all cats act the same when faced by different situations. Travelers roaming the streets of Thai or Jerusalem will report that cats differ in behavior but maintain their aggressive defensives. This shows that learning to read the body language of one cat is like learning how to understand all cats.
The only thing that changes is the age of the cat where younger cats can exaggerate some of their behaviors. Learning how a cat behaves can take time especially if you are a busy person. You can simplify the learning process in different ways.
Spending more time with the cat
Making sure you spend as much time as possible with the cat will let you understand the cat easily and faster. You will always notice when the cat is happy or when there is smoothing wrong. An article from Daily Mail on how to read cat body language shows that people who spend more time with their cats eventually treat the cats as family members. These people are more likely to understand the different reactions of cats when in different situations.
Training the cat
Training your cat different things can further let you understand how she behaves faster. Some of the helpful things you can teach your cat include:
- The designated place where it should relieve itself
- Places it should avoid in the house
- The time it is supposed to be indoors especially in the evening
- Foods it should avoid
- The time it should expect to be fed
The training will let you understand better when your cat has a need. It might take time to train the cat, but once it is properly trained, there will be a better understanding between you and the cat.
Letting the cat relax
Giving your cat ample time to relax will further ensure you understand the cat better and faster. Cats love sleeping for long hours. Do not be surprised or get worried when your cat sleeps for more than eighteen hours a day. A well-relaxed cat is more likely to react naturally when faced by different situations. Make a comfortable place for the cat so that it can relax optimally whenever it feels like relaxing.
What is making my cat body language change?
Change in environment
A cat can develop changed body language because of different reasons including a change in the environment. Most people have heard people ask questions such as, ‘why doesn’t my cat meet me at the door anymore after we moved to a new house?’ A change in environment can make the cat stressed or instill fear on the cat. You should try to make the cat as comfortable as possible when you move to a new place. The cat will take time before being used to the new environment, but eventually, it will get used and start acting normal.
The body language of a cat can also change because of age. Relatively younger cats are usually very active and this allows them to display certain energetic traits. Humans react in the same way since younger people are more energetic. Older cats do not have the energy to keep on playing and doing other energetic activities. They actually prefer being left alone to rest. You should be more attentive if you have an older cat since such a cat can get sick and still continue acting the way it usually does.
How to learn accurate communication with your cat
Cats are a graceful bunch of pets. They will not growl at you or throw a fit when they do not get their way. They may purr excessively and eventually leave you alone to go sit in a corner. These creatures communicate with each other using these subtle body movements.
Your cat will lift a toe, well something close to that, when they want to send a quick message. Us humans lack the fine-tuned instincts and sharp eye of the cat. We will miss these gestures a thousand times and imagine that the cat’s blank stare is just a stare.
That is a surprising bit of information. Jonas Jurgella has not made that up. He is one of a multitude of people who have tried understanding cats and translating these body communications to humans. National Geographic has a show of a similar study – My Cat From Hell. Cat professionals take years to perfect the art of animal language before relaying the information.
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You can now easily understand your cat in different situations. Understanding body language can help you provide your cat with everything it needs. This includes knowing on time in case the cat is sick or hurt. You will never have to guess what your cat wants as long as you know the various behavior and postures. It took me a while, but I was able to eventually master the art of reading the body language of a cat.
I rest my case by advising you to always be observant of your cat. You will see some interesting things which will enhance the communication between you and the cat.