Do you know how to speak cat? Don’t worry if you don’t, because we are going to teach you how! It doesn’t matter if you have just brought home your first-ever kitten or if you have lived with a senior moggy for years, there’s plenty that you can learn.
The good news is that learning how to communicate with your cat is not difficult. Read on to find out all about cat communication.
Do I Need to Talk to My Cat?
Cat communication is a vital skill for cat owners and will enhance your life together. Cats are often viewed as aloof and highly independent, they do not wear their hearts on their sleeves as dogs do. However, that does not mean that they do not feel emotions. In the same way as dogs and humans, cats can feel sad, happy, angry, and anxious. They just have different ways of showing it and do not use words.
By learning how to understand and speak to your cat, you will be able to control some of the unwanted cat behavior that you may have noticed. You will learn to interpret things like tail twitching and facial expression and will be able to tell the difference between a feline greeting and a warning. This will make your cat happier and more content as you will be able to respond to their needs accurately. And a happy cat leads to a happy cat owner!
How to Communicate with Cats – Understand them
The first stage in being able to speak to cats is to understand them. Some cats do ‘speak’ and use vocalization to let you know what they are feeling. This varies by breed. The Oriental breeds, such as the Siamese, are very vocal whereas others hardly ever make a noise.
For those that do vocalize, here’s a quick guide to interpreting your cat’s meowing.
- Single short meow: This is a greeting and means that your kitty is pleased to see you.
- Mid-pitch longer meow: This is a feline call for attention. Your cat wants something so try to work out what it is. Do they want a meal or to be let outside?
- Long drawn-out meow: This is a stronger demand for attention. There is an issue here that your cat expects you to resolve!
- Low-pitched meow: This is a complaint! If your cat was in a hotel, they would be asking to see the manager by now!
- High-pitched meow: This usually means your cat is in sudden pain. Have you trodden on their paw or did you trap their tail in the door?
- Multiple meows: This is a greeting and it means that they are very pleased to see you.
- Purring: This is the classic sign of a contented cat. But beware because this can sometimes also mean that they are afraid or in pain and are trying to hide it.
- Hiss: Every cat owner knows that this is a clear warning. Do not approach a hissing cat.
- Clicking or chirping: Many cats make this sound when they are tracking their prey and may be about to pounce. You may hear this when you are playing with your cat.
How to Speak Cat – Body Language
Learning how to talk to your cat is not just about what you can hear. It is also about what you can see so you need to start using your eyes as well as your ears. Body language is even more important in cat communication than it is in human communication. Here are some typical poses and what they mean.
- Tail position held low and tucked under: This is a sign that your cat is frightened.
- Tail curls at the end but most of tail held straight up: This means that your cat is happy.
- Tail is twitching: This is a sign that your cat is anxious.
- Tail fur sticking out and tail in an ‘N’ shape: This is a very aggressive stance and you should beware!
- Dilated pupils: Usually displayed by an excited cat but can also be a sign of aggression.
- Face sniffing: This is how a cat tells who they are talking to! They are checking out the identity of another cat.
- Licking: This is the ultimate sign of affection that cats show and means that they either love you very much or want something!
Talking to Your Cat
Communication is a two-way thing so you should be able to talk back to your cat. There are obvious things that you can do to show them that you love them such as feeding them their favorite snack and giving them a belly rub. Before taking on a cat, do your research and perhaps check in with a cat humane society to get some tips on how to look after a kitty correctly.
When you are replying to cats, it is more about how you talk and your body language than the actual words that you use.
Cats also need consistency. Always use the same tone of voice when you are praising them or greeting them and another tone of voice when you are telling them to do something such as ‘Get down’ or ‘No’.
A loud, firm voice should be used for correcting behavior. Use this if they are being demanding when you are trying to work – you could gently push them away as you speak. Use a higher-pitched happy voice to praise them.
You could always try a bit of cat speak yourself! Have a go at making a sharp hissing sound when they are doing something very naughty!
The Final Word on How to Speak Cat Language
By learning to interpret what your cat is trying to say to you, you can increase your bond and control unwanted behavior. There have been plenty of studies of cat behavior to determine what they are trying to say to us. Cat language will vary by the environment that your cat is in and there is no single answer to what they are saying. It is a combination of sounds, facial expressions and body language. The key is to be consistent and very observant. You will soon get the hang of it.