Some cats are more talkative than others, but it is certain that all cats express themselves through purring, vocalization, or attitude. Even if cats seem difficult to understand, there are many signs that can give you clues about what pets are thinking and what their mood is!
You will be able to guess your cat’s emotions through its body language, facial expressions, meow sounds and tail movements. In this article, we will try to help you decode cat language.
What does cat purring mean?
Purring, often interpreted by masters as a sign of pleasure and well-being. However, they are an ambiguous language, as they can mean both pleasure and suffering. We know that a cat may purr in pain to calm itself down. Cats purring can be a sign of happiness or illness or pain. Purring appears in a kitten from the second day of life during feeding.
Once adult, the cat will make a purr sound under the hug. Some also produce these vibrations when they like the food provided. The paradox of the purring of suffering can only be resolved by treating this vibratory mechanism as a reflex that allows the cat to go back to the point of complete well-being: suckling and absolute closeness to the mother.
In addition to their anti-stress properties which also benefit the owner who spends relaxing time with his cat, according to certain assumptions, purring accelerate healing.
What about the cat’s meows?
Meowing is one of the main ways of communication for cats. High, low, long, low… it sends many encoded messages that you must know how to interpret. It’s not great when the scream is harsh: this is especially what happens when an intruder enters a cat’s territory.
Meowing is a form of language that cats only use for humans. Therefore, it is observed that wild cats do not meow or meow very little. Other vocalizations are sometimes mistaken for meowing, such as chirps, a modulated sequence of little cheers pushed by a cat watching a bird it knows is unavailable. But the traditional “meow”, with all its variations in tone and intensity, is addressed to the owner.
Understanding the vocalizations of the cat
Over time, you can learn to decode a cat’s vocalization. Affective closeness with a cat makes communication much easier. A cat is able to learn human language terms that relate to him and are repeated. Similarly, the owner ends up associating meanings, intentions, and feeling states with his cat’s vocalizations. Here are some general vocalization tips:
short meow (two tones): greeting;
meowing in a semitone or deeper: request, complaint;
high meowing: pain, complaint; growling: dissatisfaction.
The tones obviously change with gender, and they also change with the cat’s breed. This is what makes each animal’s verbal communication unique and allows the owner to recognize its call by distinguishing it from the sounds of other cats. .
The cat’s non-verbal communication
Most cats communicate non-verbally. These are attitudes or postures, whether they involve the entire body, such as when the cat is lying on its back, or they concern a specific organ, such as the tail. A cat’s communication repertoire also uses a combination of signifiers, such as spitting, hissing or grunting, combined with a threatening, defensive or attacking posture with spiky hair.
Quite naturally, the cat believes that the owner, like him, practices communication with the help of positions and gestures. Therefore, he is very sensitive to people’s attitudes. So you need to be careful in his presence so as not to worry him.
How does the cat express discomfort?
Cats are extremely pain-tolerant and usually show little pain. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to tell if they are in pain and if an urgent consultation is needed. A cat that hisses, growls moderately and tries to bite when you touch him, may be seriously injured (for example, in a paw or an abscess); cat that curls up in a ball to not move or walks like eggs should be taken to the doctor.