The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Cats Body Language and Vocalizations - Do You Know What They Mean?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cats Body Language and Vocalizations - Do You Know What They Mean?


As a pet parent you may wish that your feline friends were able to speak in clear English. However, it may be easier for cat parents to try and decipher the various noises their pets make.

Cats communicate a variety of messages using body language. Examples include arching their backs as a signal of fear or aggression, and slowly blinking to signal relaxation. A cat that chooses to lie with its stomach and chest exposed conveys trust, and comfort (this is also typical of overweight cats, as it is more comfortable for them); however, a cat may also roll on its side or back to be able to defend itself with all four sets of claws. Usually other signs (like ears and whiskers folded backwards) give an indication of the cat's overall mood. Flattened ears mean that the cat feels threatened, and may attack. A cat with its ears forward and keeping still while focusing on another cat (or other attacker) is being defensive and in a very alert state. Mouth open and no teeth exposed suggests a feeling of playfulness.

Meows are typically requests for human attention, as cats rarely meow at one another. According to the pet expert, lower tones of meows mean the cat is requesting something with more fervor.

Most people know that a purr means a cat is happy, but this sound should not be confused with a growl, which may indicate that a cat is preparing to attack. Growls are usually followed by hisses, which are also known to be aggressive feline noises.

Although, their body language reveals a lot about what they're thinking.  They also vocalize with many different sounds. Cats that are confident face forward when looking at other cats or humans, while more timid cats will stand sideways and turn their heads to observe, according to the news source.

Did you know that?
  • Cats vocalize with chirrups, purrs, growls, hisses, and meows
  • A purr is a sound made by most species of felines. A tonal buzzing can characterize differently between cats. Purring is often understood as signifying happiness; however, cats sometimes purr when they are ill, or during tense, traumatic, or painful moments.
  • Domestic cats purr at a frequency of 25 to 150 vibrations per second.
  • A cat with its tail pointing up but puffed out means it wants your attention.

Cat Moods:

The Happy Cat
You can tell from a cat's tail how happy it is because you've already seen this a million times. A cat will follow you into the kitchen with it's tail pointing straight in the air when it thinks it's getting a treat.

The happy cat tail is pointed up like the angry cat tail, except the tail is deliberately dainty. A cat with a big fluffy tail can be misunderstood by other cats that aren't used to  it. It may look like it is ready to fight all of the time!

The Ambivalent Cat
A cat trying to decide if it likes you might keep its tail slightly lower, or curved. The cat is trying to decide if it likes you enough to put its tail straight in the air, or if it should tuck it down as a non-aggressive act of submission.

The Angry Cat
A cat flicking its tail usually means that the cat is slightly annoyed. It can indicate interest, but you'll be able to tell by its ears. If the cat is actually happy, its ears will be up and alert. Otherwise, big flicking motions show that the cat is annoyed.



Cat facial expressions:


Cat ears:
Cat tail:


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