Monday, October 4, 2010

How To Read Your Cat...!

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 language

By 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!


Anonymous said...

I've had girlfriends that were like that.
Thanks, HJ.

Ben in Texas said...

Wish I could get one of those animal talk translators for my two!! I'm tired of guessing and getting it wrong!!

Momlady said...

And then there are those who like to confuse you.

HermitJim said...

Hey YOF...
Come to think of it, so have I ! Of course, that was a long time ago...but I still remember!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Ben...
If you find one, let me know! I could use it myself!

I think they like to keep us guessing, that's for sure!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Momlady...
I think they all enjoy keeping us guessing! That must be part of what they do!

One thing about it, they seem to know just how far they can push the envelope!

You just gotta love 'em! Thanks, my friend, for coming by today!

JoJo said...

Good Morning My Special One
That sure is a lot of information. Anyone who has a cat now knows everything unless their cat already taught them all of it. :)
Nice and cool there nice and chilly here, Sitting on the patio sounds nice then to work started to pack up.

Mechanic in Illinois said...

I still say the cats and their housekeeping staff live here. Cats and women, they both keep you in your place. Thanks for another great lesson.

HermitJim said...

Hey JoJo...
Every cat is different, I'm sure! Guess it's all just a matter of how long it takes them to train their humans to do the right things!

Time to pack up and head back home, huh?

Gotta get back before the snow starts in the mountains! Hey, thanks for coming by today, sweetie!

Hey Mechanic...
Guess we all have to have some one or something to kinda show us the way to go about things!

Like you say, women and cats seem to fit the bill!

Thanks, my friend, for dropping in today!

Marjie said...

I have not had a cat since Thor was a puppy. We had one who was semi-tame hanging around, but when the puppy bounced into the yard, and at 7 weeks was bigger than Kitty, she beat feet. I do like cats, so maybe some day I'll have another.

Anonymous said...

I would like to exchange links with your site
Is this possible?

Gary Near Death Valley said...

When I had my open heart surgery a over a year ago, coming home and convalescing at home, when I lay down on the bed, at night to sleep, I had an issue with getting enough O2. I just could not get enough air and my cat noticed and jumped on the bed next to me. However it worked, when the cat was near me, I could breathe alright, and she did that for several nights, until I could basically lay down without her and breathe naturally. Have no clue how or why that happened but she helped me big time. I cannot explain it.

Anonymous said...

So, it's not a myth... there are people who don't understand Felis domesticus. What absolutely miserable lives they must have to not have a cat to understand them. Many say that cats are self-centred beats, but then they simply do not understand them.