Cat Communication – Verbal & Non-Verbal

Although we might think we understand what our cats are trying to communicate to us, a cat’s behavior and body language may hold more meaning than you think. While we can’t read our furry friend’s mind, through both verbal and non-verbal communication, cats find a way to tell us what they are thinking.

Non-Verbal Cat Communication

  • Tummy display – Although cats can roll over to stretch in a friendly fashion, watch out for extended claws and sharp teeth as these are signs that your cat is distressed and may be in defense mode.
  • Blinking – In the cat world, closing their eyes or “blinking” is a sign of respect. So, if you see your kitty is blinking at you, know it’s coming from a place of trust and affection.
  • Cat Tail Language – The tail can communicate many different things to owners. When a cat holds their tail high they are projecting confidence; when it’s curled around your legs, they are expressing friendliness. When their tail is between their legs they are showing us they feel scared or anxious. If your cat ever takes the “classic Halloween pose” and arches their back with an upright tail, you should immediately back off, as this is a sign that they feel threatened.
  • Eye contact – Although, direct eye contact is universal among humans, cats find it threatening.
  • Tactile communication – Cats tend to rub their bodies against each other, snuggling, or even intertwining their tails. These behaviors act as a kind of “social bonding” between feline furrends. However, cats will also rub themselves against people too, often to mark their territory.

Verbal Cat Communication

  • Murmuring sounds – Murmuring sounds include purring and are used to show contentment, approval, or even to greet others.
  • Meowing – Kittens meow to tell their mother they need attention, but adult cats meow at us for the same reasons.
  • Cat Purring– Cats purr when they are content or happy, which explains why cats often purr while being pet by their owners. Cats might even purr while they are eating and when they’re sick or anxious (the sound of purring works to calm them down).
  • Growl – Cats use growls as a warning. If a cat ever growls at you, you should back away immediately and give them some space.
  • Hiss – Cats generally follow a growl with a hiss to communicate they are angry or afraid.

As no two cats are exactly alike, it is hard to say what cats are trying to communicate 100% of the time. Nonetheless, this information can give you more insight into your pets needs and thoughts, allowing you to understand better what they may be communicating! Our 4Paws family wants to help educate you so that you can best take care of your pet. Sign up for a 4Paws insurance plan today, so you give your feline the absolute best care, no matter what!