A Study Of How Cats Communicate With Their Owners

A study of how cats communicate with their owners

Animals have many ways of expressing themselves. They can use sounds, movements of the tail or their positioning of the ears. This can help us to understand how they are feeling or what they are thinking about. In this article, we will tell you about a study of how cats communicate with their owners.

It’s very interesting!

Depending on how your cat moves its tail, you can tell if it is scared, angry, alert or happy.

An angry cat

Pay attention to the following tail movements and what they mean:

  • Lift vertically without side movements:  this means that the cat is not interested in what you are doing and will continue where it is supposed to.
  • Vibrating:  when the cat wants to call your attention, show affection or demonstrate joy, usually at mealtime. This movement often comes along with spinning.
  • Slow movements from one side to the other:  this movement means that the cat is very happy, comfortable and safe in its surroundings. Congratulations! Your cat enjoys your company.
  • Horizontal (parallel to the ground): the  cat feels both confident and distrustful of what is happening in the environment. This is the position the tail is placed in when the cat is on the alert.
  • Low to the ground:  when it keeps its tail low to the ground, the cat will probably walk very slowly, crouch and have wide eyes. This is the typical position when cats chase or play a game.

Other tail movements and their meanings

  • Quick movements from side to side:  if the cat’s tail moves from side to side, it means that it is interested in something or someone. If the ears are raised at the same time, the cat demonstrates even more interest.
  • Diagonal and rigid: the  cat’s back is slightly curved and the tail is fully extended. This means that someone is disturbing or scaring it.
  • Raised with the tip of the tail curved:  this is the cat’s way of saying that even if it is friendly, it is a little careful. The cat does not feel insecure, but takes preventative measures just in case.
  • Drumming to the floor: the  movement with the tail is fast, short and restless. This happens when the cat is nervous, alert or scared (eg when it is raining, at loud noises or when strangers come to visit).
  • Down (with raised hind legs): the  cat is in a stressful situation where it has to defend itself.
  • Between the hind legs:  this is the position of a scared and submissive cat. Usually the tail is placed like this when it gets barked or near other animals with higher status.
  • Hair on end:  this means that the cat is very angry, uncomfortable or irritated. When the cat is in this position, it is best not to get close, as it can hurt you.

Another great way to understand your cat is to pay attention to its facial expressions (especially eye and ear movements):

  • Ears still and turning to the sides: the  cat “wrinkles its forehead”, which means that it is upset, irritated or angry. It is important to avoid the cat until this expression disappears.
  • Ears facing forward: the  eyes do not show any dilation of the pupils. This is a sign of calm and sleepiness, and means that the cat feels safe and comfortable.
  • Ears forward, squinting eyes:  if the cat squints with its eyes and turns its ears forward, it is a good sign. This expression communicates comfort, relaxation and accessibility for play and cuddling.
  • Low ears and dilated eyes:  this expression means that the cat is excited or that something has caught its attention. If you insist on approaching the cat during this condition, the risk is high that it will run away.
Happy pussy

A third method cats use to communicate is of course with sound. Depending on the tone and volume the cat uses, it may try to communicate different things.

A yawn has many different meanings. If the cat moans gently, it may mean that it is happy or greets you (usually accompanied by spinning, slow movements with the tail and strokes towards you.

If the cat moans strongly and continuously and has a very large tail, it is best to leave it alone. If the cat moans repeatedly and the volume increases progressively, it is likely that it wants something, usually food.

Finally, spinning is also a way for cats to express themselves. In this case, spinning was the original way for the cat mother to form bonds with the kittens. The cat continues to use this technique throughout life to show affection.

Spinning is the cat’s most tender and affectionate trait. It is a sign of trust that cat owners should never underestimate.

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