Cat’s language

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Cats communicate with each other using voice, smell, movements and pose. Their language is universal. A cat from Greece can easily understand a cat from Canada. Obviously, there is no cat which “speaks” with an accent.

Body language

Active, quick, muscular, graceful, with athletic body - all these words can be said about healthy cats. They use their bodies extremely expressive. Cats might be the experts at reticence. If your pet sits with its back to you, that means “not now, not here and not with you”. If a cat sprawls before you, that means she feels comfortable and confidently. If she turns over to the back. that, probably, means she is in good spirits and feels slack and playful. But don’t trust it. Such pose can indicate that your cat is going to defend. Even a kind and calm cat may start biting and scratching when you stroke its belly. It is an instinctive reaction many cats have.

In general, if your pet tries to be bigger, arching its back and bristling up, that means defense. Cats are usually turn their sides to the “enemies” to look bigger. The cat is afraid, she tries to look more threatening and will fight if one forces to.

If your pet tries to look smaller, lies on the floor, hangs its head, lays back its ears and whiskers, do not bristle up and press it tail to the body and sometimes wags it, that means she is frightened and hopes that nobody will notice her. If necessary she will fight but that pose means “Leave me alone”.

A cat, pressing itself to the floor, halfspawled, usually uttering a long low roar, with the tail close to the body or with wagging tail, is very aggressive. Its ears usually directed up or forward and its whiskers bristle. Such cat is ready to stand up for itself, so don’t cause she to do it.


Eyes are the mirror of the soul and it is quite true for cats. Cats will never delude you. Each time you pet is looking at you understand what does you want.

If your pet has been looking at you for some seconds, then blinks and turns away, that means it recognizes you but doesn’t invite to communicate with it. People usually nod to greet somebody in the street in this case. It hardly means a long talk but it’s not rude.

If your pet is staring at you it probably means threat. It has the universal meaning whether a stranger or a cat does it. it’s a warning.

If the cat likes you it may establish long visual contact in a soft manner and such look won’t mean anything bad. To understand the behavior of your pet you'd better “read” the language of its body.

The pupils of the eye will say you more. If they are dilated they seem to cry with fear. If you are not sure whether your pet frightened or not, look at its pupils. Wide open eyes and dilated pupils mean that something awful is coming. If you pet acts aggressively, its pupil may turn to narrow slits.


Cats' ears are very mobile, more active than human beings'. They formed so to locate the smallest sound. Cats have keen ear.

Cats use their ears to communicate with each other because the ears are mobile and can be easily seen. Some cats have bunches of fur at the top of their ears, they act as special marks making cats' language easier.

If the ears are pricked that may mean curiosity, joy, playfulness, relaxation and it is a good sign. Some aggressive cats may be an exception, of course, their pricked ears mean self-confidence not friendliness.

If ears stick out to the side this is the sign of fear, distrust or self-defense - everything depends on the peculiar features of the cat, as on situation. If a cat is depressed take into consideration these signs and avoid it.

If the cat folds its ears back it shows the state of panic, aggression or attack. This is a red flag for you. Stay away if this is possible at all of get ready to pay for the consequences.


If you can read what cat’s tail tells, you will know well what is on cat’s mind. The tail could stick straight up. In this case it is used to demonstrate self-confidence and proud. Cats that carry their tails this way walk very pompously.

When cat is frightened, its tail looks like a bottle brush. If the tail is fluffy and looks bigger that it is, it signifies the mixture of false courage and fear. Don’t ever try to take a scared cat on your hands, it won’t be appreciative as you won’t be too.

Slow flaps of cat’s tail are the sign of slight irritation. Such irritation might be the result of interrupted sleep or undesirable patting. Many cats are willing to be besides you that doesn’t necessarily mean they want you to pat them. Watch out and don’t ignore those slow swings of the tail. They tell you “Enough!”

Quick swings of the tail is a joyous greeting, the cat rubs against your legs, purrs showing its joy about your coming home.

Sometimes the cat’s tail twitched abruptly. It makes these movements when it looks at the bird through the window or is going to spring at a toy. More it looks, faster its tail twitches until the full length of its tail starts swaying intensively.

Strong-smelling glands

Your cat uses the smell to mark its territory. Fortunately for you, if you don’t pay much attention to the smell of urine, all the other smells with the help of which it marks the things, are indistinguishable with regard to primitive sense of smell of man.

Probably everyday your cat marks you by the smell though you can’t know about it. There are strong-smelling glands on their lips, chin, forehead. That’s why cats mark this or that thing by their smell, when they rub themselves against it by their lips or muzzles. Glad greeting by which the cat meets you when you pass the door, when it minds round your feet, rubs itself against them or purrs pressing itself to you, in reality smell in order that all at once can understand “it’s mine. This man is mine, mine, mine!” Therefore they do when they see us after our absence during a long day or when we pass through our room or when we come home from the street. Our cats mark us when they rub against us by the head every morning and it is an integral part of their greeting ceremonial. We like them doing it. Perhaps, cats think that we also remark them by the smell when we pat them.

Scratching is one more widely distributed method among cats to mark thing by the smell. On their paws there are strong-smelling glands and they effectively mark things by the smell to pass a paw over them. That’s why even cats with cut toenails keep scratch things.

There is one more method with which cats mark things by the smell, it is with the help of their urine. It is the most unpleasant method for people. It seems the urine of grow-up cat has the most disgusting smell on the world. You can carefully clean this place but nevertheless in warm and damp day this smell would be after you.


Purring is the most mysterious process than you may imagine. They think cats are purring when they're satisfied. it’s true but not the only condition under which cats purr. It happens that cats are purring when they feel an awful pain.

Purring is like running nose. Almost all of us during our life once had it but all in all we don’t have a clear picture of this process. But may be it has no sense at all and both cats and their owners know what does the purring mean. That means minutes when they spend together in harmony. That means to stretch your hand to your best friend at night. These are moments when your pet push its head and your chin when you are sad. Whatever it means, in such a way cats express bliss as well. There is no doubt that this is the most beautiful sound among those cats utter.

Trample by Paws and Salivation

The habit to trample different subjects by paws goes back to the time when kitten sucked mother’s milk and trampled by paws its nipples in order to press out milk from there. Such a behavior expresses the extreme degree of pleasure and is often accompanied with purr and salivation. Salivation is a survival of Pavlos’s conditional reflex, connected with suck mother’s milk.


Cats uses their voice master lily. The usual vocal diapason is 750-1520 Hz. Cats pronounce about 15 simple sounds - 7 of them are consonants: M, N, G, H, F, V, R. Changing duration, pitch, timbre, cats can say very much to that one, who understand them.

Cats utter sounds by the most different reasons, some of them - more often, others - more seldom. The typical sound cats often utter is short quiet meow, reminding of a joyful chirp, that cats often utter when see you enter. Shvaika does it, when goes trolling along the whole room to greet me. These are joyful sounds.

There is another type of meow, which can be expressed by words: “I want something”. These are more exacting, loud and long sounds than chirp. most of the masters of cats hear these sounds, when the time to eat comes, when cat sits by the door or when it’s locked in the premises, where it doesn’t want to be.

The longest of the sounds cat utters means: “I hate you!” This is something average between growl and scream, cats utter when they are scared or get angry. Usually this sound is addressed to another cat - an unbidden guest or to a dog, inspiring with fright. This is a tense high guttural sound, reminding the sound of siren. As soon as you hear it, you’ll recognize it at once.

The most wonderful sound, one can hear from cats represents snort and purr. These joyful high sounds mean: “Ah, it’s you? Glad to see you!” Cats save up these sounds only for the most close friends of theirs.

When cats look at the prey, they can’t grip, they utter quick sounds reminding of “kekh-kekh-kekh”. Usually people can’t hear them. But if you have a window with a trough for birds and your cat is sitting by this window and watching birds, but can’t get to them, you've got the chance to hear this sound. In such cases cat’s look is riveted to birds, the end of its tail twitches and the jaw moves quickly. My Shvaika adores to sit by the balcony window for hours and, watching the birds, say “kekh”.

 Attention! Danger of overheating! If there are straight sun rays into your window and your cat is subjected to overheating (such are all black cats and Persian cats), then your pet may overheat very quickly that means serious problem for its health. Mind the speed with which cats are overheated, is striking.

Besides, infuriated cats can spit very well aimed.

Table Gestures



Rubbing its whiskers against an object


Rubbing its whiskers and nuzzle against you

Liking, showing the rights to property

Trampling by paws

Affection and love

Dilated pupils of eyes


Half-closed eyes


Narrow pupils


Widely open eyes

Get back!

Arched back

Intimidation, attacking pose

Ears folded forward


Ears raised and folded forward

She is on her guard

Ears folded back


Ears laid back

Ready to fight

Ears laid back and folded

Declaration of war

Tail stock straight up

Carelessness, greetings

Fluffy toil


Slow calm flaps of tail


Quick swings of tail


Tail is firm and folded straight back


Shows its belly

Satisfaction and relaxation


Sniff something interesting and templating

Quick click of the tongue against lips


Heavy breathing with half-open mouth

Pain, fear or state of overheating

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