Cats make great friends and companions. They greet us at the door when we come home plus they like to play games with their friends. Since they can’t talk like human friends, it’s sometimes hard to understand what they are trying to say or their mood. Like humans however, cats give great clues with their actions, body language and different types of meows. Every cat has a different personality so they’ll each communicate in their own style too.
There are typical behaviors cats use to communicate their needs and feelings. If you want to understand cats, here’s what they are trying to say:
Meows are really hard to interpret if they occur by themselves. Those that accompany an action are not hard to understand. Feeding time causes loud meowing especially if you are near the food bowl. If they meow loudly and they are all alone – it means they want attention. If someone is playing with a cat and it meows sharply while swatting at the person – that means the game is too rough for it. Some cat breeds like the Siamese don’t need a reason to meow, they really like to talk all the time.
Cats purr for a variety of reasons. If they enjoy something like being petted, dinner, or curling up in a favorite spot, they’ll purr really loud. If they are sick or hurt, they may purr too. Most times though cats purr because they enjoy what’s happening and want it to continue.
Hissing and Growling
Cats don’t really like to fight or argue. If they don’t like another cat, what another cat is doing, or what a human is doing to them, they’ll hiss as a warning. If a cat hisses and swats at the same time, they are very upset and want what is happening to them to stop immediately. If a cat starts growling, that means they are extremely upset and may attack.
Cats like to be clean and socialize with their friends. Licking their fur helps cats to stay clean and remove loose hair. If they are around other cats and humans they like, they’ll lick them to help groom them and be friendly at the same time. Cats may initially lick people a few times as a greeting and then proceed to groom themselves.
Cats like to pick their favorite people friends and hang out with them. They’ll follow their friends around the house or around outside. Cats often sleep next to their favorite people and may sleep on their backs in a show of extreme trust of their human friends.
Instead of smiling or laughing to show they are happy, cats exhibit other behaviors. Happy cats carry their tails straight up in the air often rubbing it and their body against human legs. They’ll also carry their heads up in the air and might purr loudly or lick people.
Kitties that want to play may bring their favorite toy to you, stick their face in yours, or start swatting at some imaginary object near you. They may also give a distinctive playful meow. Listen closely to the noises the cat makes when it plays.
Sad or Depressed
Cats can be sad and depressed like humans. Often they’ll go and hide someplace where they feel safe. This can be under a bed, in a closet, or someplace up high. Cats may also have litter box problems or just lay in the same place all day if they are sad. Playing more with the kitty will help alleviate some sadness. A depressed kitty may gain weight if left alone.
Angry or Scared
Growling and hissing are usually the first signs of an angry or scared cat. A really scared and upset cat will have a puffed out tail and may yowl hysterically. Like humans it’s best to leave them alone for a bit to settle down and then go spend some playtime with them.
Cats are territorial creatures. They can pick people, places, or things as theirs and they don’t like to share. Cats will attack another cat they think is playing with their toy or their favorite human. Families with several cats often have to get separate food bowls, litter pans, and scratching posts for each cat to prevent fighting and bullying.
If cats are used to being feed at a particular time, they’ll magically appear and remind humans by meowing. Trying to ignore them won’t work. They’ll just meow louder and run between their food bowl and the person who normally feeds them.
It’s hard to tell when a cat is sick and they can’t tell anyone what is wrong. Oftentimes a sick cat will stay in the same place for a long time. They may not want to eat or may throw up any food they do eat. A sick cat may lose weight and develop bad breath. If a kitty doesn’t maintain its normal routine, it may be sick.
Cats display many different behaviors depending upon their mood. The tips above will help in figuring out what a cat’s behavior means. To learn more about cat behaviors, a great resource is cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy’s website. The website also gives great tips on how to change unpleasant cat behaviors.