Cat Language and Behaviour

cat rolling on the grass
cat rolling on the grass

Language

In communicating among themselves, cats are very adept. They recognize each other by odors and if they’re already become friends, they greet each other by rubbing each other’s noses, or they smell each other’s head and anal area. If they get along well, they rub against each other, marking the coats with their odors. That is also why cats rub on their owners.
Cats don’t posses vast vocabulary, yet their vocabulary is greater than that of dogs. They  produce sounds. Theodore Hoffmann once mentioned in his work “The Cat Murr” that “cat has the incredible gift of expressing the one word ‘meow’ in many ways—joy, pain, delight, abduction, fear, depression, in sum, all sensations and passions.” Cats born and raised in a home progress on individual character that they put into action. Therefore, it shows that cats can modify their behavior according to their present environment. When it enjoys its owner’s companionship, it shows its sincere affection.
A cat expresses itself with a meow, but within this sound shows many feelings like love, joy, anger, fear, pain, affection, depression, and many to mention, depending on the cat’s present situation or condition. Cats make over 100 different vocal sounds while dogs can only make 10. Since cats have greater vocabulary than dogs…they emit more than fifty different sounds during meeting. This sounds would vary in tone from harsh to acute. Cats posses a sweet sound, the purr, which is used to express joy, and affection. Some cats also purr when ill. The cat’s body language is expressed with more than sixty movement, such as tilting the head, the position of the tails and ears, and facial expression.
Tails are probably one of the best communication indicators that cats have. When the tail is arched and puffed out or bristled, the cat is  scared or  fearful and is ready  to attack or defends itself. When the tail is straight up in the air and fully puffed out or bristled, your cat is angry and is ready to attack. When the tail is straight up in the air and quivering a bit, the cat is ready to urinate in order to mark a territory. However, if the cat is neutered, without spraying urine, it is the cat’s way of saying hi. When the tail is straight up and unmoving, it’s a mother’s way of telling her kittens that she will inspect her hind. When the tail is straight up but the tip is tilted to one side, the cat is very interested to something and is happy and friendly. When the cat’s tail is straight up or just slightly raised and curved like a question mark, the cat is very excited and interested in something. When the tail is curved down and then back up again near the tip, the cat is relaxed and content. When the tail is still yet quivering or twitching, the cat is slightly irritated. When the tail is swishing from one side to side rapidly or violently, the cat is about to attack something, this, however can be seen during fights. When the tail is held to one side, the cat is giving a sexual invitation. When the tail is held low and puffed out or bristled, your cat is intensely afraid. Lastly, when the tail is held low and tucked between the hind legs, your cat is showing his submission or defeat.

Ears can also be used as communication indicators. When the ears are pointing forward and slightly outward, the cat is relaxed. When the ears are very straight and forward, your cat is listening to something that is exciting. When the ears are twitching nervously, the cat is nervous. When the ears are flat against the head, the cat is afraid and may attack. When ear are at the back or in between alert and defensive position, the cat is aggressive and may attack.

Cat’s eyes could be another communication indicator, particularly the pupils. Cat’s pupil change. This is because of the amount of light  in a certain room. However, if your cat becomes provoking, and enthusiastic and annoyed or irritated, his pupils will enlarge regardless of the amount of light in the room. When the eyes are wide open, the cat is awake and is ready to go. When the eyes are wide open with a little sparkle, the cat is feeling a little ill-behaved. When the eyes are half closed, the cat is relaxed and ready for the nap. However, this can also mean that the cat is ill. When the eyes are closed, the cat is obviously napping! When the eyes are blinking, especially in a slow matter, it means that the feline is satisfied.

Other behaviors like rolling its back and exposing the belly means that the cat trusts you that it is exposing the most vulnerable part of the body. When a cat kneads at his mommy, it is showing affection, thus when a cat kneads at it owner, it can   only mean one thing. It is showing affection. A cat snores when it is asleep. One-way of saying hello is through sniffing the owner’s faces.

Play Behaviors
Cats are freedom-loving creatures. They love playing, thus, toys should be provided. Among the prescribed toys are as follows: lightweight balls, wadded paper tied to the end of a string and some other stuff that make some noise. Boxes, paper bags, and dollhouses to crawl into are good examples. Other toys are also approved like ping-pong balls, golf balls, and tennis balls, left over wrapping papers. But if you want safe toys, chose one well-made toys that wont break during cat attacks. Remove tied-on bells, plastic eyes, button noses, and dangling strings that the cat could tear. Small items are definitely not allowed to avoid it from being swallowed. Strings, yarns, feathers, and the like are definitely a no-no!

A catnip is a cat stimulant, thus not to be used more often. However, a catnip is used to scent cat toys. When a cat smells the catnip, it acts like a drunk creature, rub its face to the toy, roll, and kick the object, and etc. the substance in it is the nepetalactone. The herb is not  addictive or harmful, thus, it is safe. Yet some cats do not care when exposed to the scent because some cats lack genes.

Growling and hissing means one thing—the cat means business and wants his privacy or else some cats will not hesitate to attack.

Territorial Marking Behaviors

Cats display such aggressive behaviors such as scratching and biting, spraying and rubbing. These are, however, some reasons why cat owners complain. Rubbing is one way of marking objects in their environment because cats are territorial animals. Cats defend its territory against foreign animals, even other cats. When rubbing, they leave odors that proved that he was the  first  one to  reside   in the  area.  Rubbing  against the  owners  legs is  more   than  showing affection, it rubs scent on the legs to show and mark that he is the owner of the cat. Or a cat may say “You are a part of my territory now. I own You!”

For the same reason, a cat sprays urine, territorialism. There are two kinds of getting urine out of the body. One of which, the cat squats that would show the elimination of urine. But when a cat sprays, it stands. The tail quivers as it sprays urine to mark walls. However, when a cat is spayed or neutered, the characteristics of the urine vanish. Clawing or Scratching doesn’t mean that the cat is misbehaving. It is still a territorial marking behavior. It also secrets scent from its paws and at the same time making the claws sharp. Since the claws are used for defense against enemies, it should be trimmed and sharpened. Other cats, however, do the behavior  in trees. That is why scratching posts are necessary for indoor cats. You an also have an alternative climbing scratching post.

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  1. Very interesting site. At least now I can understand some of the things my cats do and why they are doing them.




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