How well do you know what your cat is saying?
Those of us that own cats can pretty much tell what they want when they start telling us, in no uncertain terms, that they want something! Cats always seem to want something unless they are asleep...and even then, judging from all the twitching and moaning they do, they still are wanting something in the dream world!
I found this list on the North Forty News that could be of some help in reading just what your cat is saying. This could be very helpful for most cat owners, even though most have learned over time how to keep the kitty happy, and thus avoid the acts of vandalism that seem to occur if demands are not met in a timely fashion!
Cats communicate their moods with body languageBy Marty Metzger
North Forty News
What a dubious state of literary affairs: daily newspapers folding and Internet information often suspect. But take heart, America! Regardless the shaky state of media sources, people can still accurately read cats by merely observing.
Cats speak with every fiber of their beings. This body language can be emotion-specific or overlap. The tail, for example, is a feline's emotional barometer. Its slow, even wave expresses contentment. Pick up the pace and kitty shows displeasure ("Put me down!"), excitement ("Birdie! Birdie!") or desire to play ("Ka-womp!").
A cat's front end hunkers down, butt and tail point skyward and tick back and forth like a hyperactive metronome – someone or something is about to be playfully pounced upon. If the entire cat, including tail, is crouched with ears back, a true attack is imminent.
A cat's tail held high, perhaps quivering, is a friendly greeting to other felines or humans. If Fluffy throws in a rub, leg wrap-around and purr, she's shouting, "You're home! I love you!"
Rubbing expresses more than "hi." It can also mean "I own you." Scent glands on the forehead, lips and chin are used to mark territory and possessions. Cats head butt, entwine around legs, lick or rub their mouths on their humans. In multi-cat households, marking can become a very competitive activity. Since some felines add drool to the mix, it can also be sloppy.
"Ears to you," toasts kitty. Set high on their heads, cat ears are uppermost in feline communication equipment. Cat Ballew, CMT, is also certified for cat and dog massage therapy. At her business, A Cat's Scratchin' Post in Fort Collins, she sees lots of little ears.
Ballew said that when they're straight up, the animal is alert, curious and well-oriented to its surroundings. If ears flatten, the cat is usually displaying aggression. When fearful, a feline cocks ears slightly back and dips the head down. When a cat's afraid, its eyes become enormous, said Ballew. She added that extreme fear could quickly turn to aggression, so approach with caution.
A sick cat's whole demeanor may change. Although felines are notoriously stoic, extreme discomfort can be noticeable. If it has an ear infection or other ailment, the cat might shake its head and dig at or flatten the offending ear. Ballew said that sick cats sometimes crouch with ears back but not flattened, or they act dull.
"They sort of close down," she noted. "There's no pizzazz about them, or they might curl up in an abnormal way, not like they're just sleeping."
Cats are very kneady. You've seen it. Front paws alternately pump away on some soft object (like you) until the kneader dozes off or gets distracted. This activity begins in kittenhood when baby's paws busily stimulate mom's milk flow. Be honored if your thigh reminds kitty of mother's love.
Cats are chatterboxes. Anyone who's fed a feline knows the sounds: "Chirp, birrr, jibber-jabber, meow, brrow." Whether it's a command to speed up the can opener or an expression of delight and gratitude, it's definitely meaningful discourse. Watch the tail – it's probably straight up.
More talk – "Squirrel, squirrel!" The tail is probably switching and teeth chattering. This oral excitement mimics chewing on prey. It's sort of a dress rehearsal for the act of hunting and catching. Perhaps fluids in the mouth are thus stimulated for the kill.
Cats say volumes by staring. A lengthy, annoyed gaze at you mesmerized by television or the Internet works well enough to use the tactic often. "Hey you, pet me! Uh, I'm hungry! Hola, I'm numero uno!"
Staring at the door says kitty wants out. Or Mr. Watchcat might be indicating an immediate need for firearms: "Alert! Intruder, front door!" Now, the trespasser might just be an errant moth hugging the porch light, but it could be a real cat burglar. Watch and learn (and maybe dial 911).
Purring indicates happiness and satisfaction, or stress. If a purr can be compared to our laughter, a stress purr is a nervous laugh. Even sick cats purr, perhaps to self-soothe.
An upside-down cat trusts the person it plops over for. It sometimes offers an invitation to play. Rolling around, grinding its seemingly disconnected spine into the carpet says it all: "Oh bliss, joy. Wuv-ooo!"
So, where can you read a cat? No, not in a catalog – in your own home where your own cat has lots to tell you.
Well, my friends, now that we all know how to read the kitty...let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside on the patio for a bit. It's nice and cool this morning for a change!