Learn cat language: this is how you understand your darling


Purring, meowing , hissing: cats cannot speak, but they can tell you something. We will help you to understand your darling properly. Cats are very sensitive and react to the smallest changes in their environment. Their fine powers of observation can be traced back to their descent from the big cats. Predators hunt their prey themselves and have to keep a close eye on the situation. Only by closely observing every small change can the hunter find the right moment to strike at lightning speed. As a cat owner, you have to get yourself a pair of predator eyes, because conversely, kittens also communicate through minimal changes in their facial expressions and gestures.

The Cat’s Channels: How Does Your Pet Communicate?

To understand what your cat is trying to tell you, you first need to understand how she’s communicating with you. Cats express their well-being in two ways: through their body language (tail, eyes, ears and head) and through sounds (pussies, hissing, purring, yowling). The facial expressions and gestures in particular provide information about how your pet is feeling. Cats have a very conscious and intense body language. This varies somewhat depending on race, upbringing and gender. However, since all cats, no matter how different they are, are connected by their predatory descent, commonalities and generalizations can be established.

As a loving and responsible pet owner, you should watch your cat closely. This is the best way to decipher how she personally reacts to certain situations and how she expresses feelings such as affection, aggression, fear or loneliness. Because cats require a lot of affection and attention from their owner, they want you to understand them too. They want you to sense their feelings and react to them. We’ll show you what common gestures and facial features mean in cats.

The feeling barometer of the cat language: The position of the tail
The tail is of central importance in the cat’s body language. With this, your darling gives you their basic pitch and thus helps you to understand other possible physical expressions.

The cat communicates with its tail.
The cat communicates with its tail.
Tail is wedged between the legs
If the tail is clamped between the legs or wrapped tightly around the body, this is a clear sign of fear and dissatisfaction. Here you should definitely consider what your cat is missing and what it cares for and counteracts it. She needs your help now!

Tail is bent forward vertically
Your cat is not only happy, but also wants to play and move around. This can be an invitation for you or a fellow member to play with her.

Tail stands up
You come home and your cat is already waiting at the front door. She probably straightens her tail and kinks the tip slightly. That’s a good sign! Your pet is happy through and through and is just happy to see you in the described situation. They feel completely safe and most likely want to cuddle with you. You can usually recognize the latter by the fact that the cat is lying on its back. A tail raised high can also be called a declaration of love or a proof of friendship.

If the cat doesn’t bend the tip, it wants to show fellow cats who is the boss here. The bushy and imposing tail is supposed to deter and impress the other cats. Better stay out of such power games and let the cats sort it out for themselves.

Tail wags back and forth
In contrast to a dog, a wagging tail does not convey joy and excitement, but annoyance. Your cat is unhappy with the situation and is expressing it. In addition, a wagging tail can represent restlessness, insecurity, fear or nervousness. One thing is certain: your cat’s wagging tail does not mean anything positive to you. Depending on the situation, you can tell what is worrying your pet.

“Meow. Miau “: What do the cat sounds mean?
If you ask young children what noise the cat is making, the answer will be “meow”. The cat noises are more diverse. This is how your pet communicates with you by hissing, purring or yowling. How intense the cat’s feeling depends on the volume at which the cat makes the sounds.

The meow for attention
The cats meow for the first time in their mother’s lap. The meow is a call for attention. That is why the four-legged friends usually only use this tone in front of people, except for their mother. The cat wants to attract the attention of its owner through the sound. The reason for this can be hunger, joy, the invitation to play or the desire for affection. If you watch your cat closely, you will quickly learn to differentiate between the different variations of meowing and will quickly know how to separate the hunger sound from the cuddly meow.

Enjoyable purring
For most cats, purring means only one thing: “I feel very good and like you.” In contrast to meowing, four-legged friends often use this sound to their fellow cats to signal that they see the other as a friend. In the case of minor injuries, purring can also promote the self-healing process.

“You hiss like my cat”
We often use the term “hiss” in our language for people who attack us or who react very unfriendly. This can be traced back to the cats, which hiss when they feel threatened. Usually the whole thing is accompanied by a cat’s hump, bared teeth and raised hair. So the cats try to scare off the threat and signal to it “Just stay away!”

Crying and yelping in unfamiliar situations
Cats respond to uncomfortable strange situations with yowling or crying. For example, being transported to the vet in a box or the first examination can lead to nervousness.

Cats watch their surroundings very closely.
Cats watch their surroundings very closely.
Look me in the eye, little one: this is how you read your cat’s eyes
Your cat’s eyes closely follow you around the room. Every four-legged owner can sing a song about the observation of the cat’s eye. Here again the vigilant and precise powers of observation of the cat are indicated. Most of the time, however, your pet simply wants to draw attention to itself through its looks. Here you can find out what she wants to tell you …

open eyes
Wide open eyes are a sign of satisfaction and well-being. Your cat is relaxed and confident in their surroundings. This is usually supported by the fact that she also otherwise behaves rather calmly. Nevertheless, she does not stop to carefully examine everything.

Your cat can smile 😉
Blinking or winking is equivalent to a smile in cat language. Feel free to blink back in response. However, just as slowly and emphatically as your cat did before. In no case should you just stare at them for long periods of time. This scares the cat and puts it under pressure, because it only knows staring from power games with fellow cats. A wink, on the other hand, gives your darling security and affection. You can also win over strange cats by winking. It tells them that they don’t need to be afraid of you and that they can trust you.

This cat is smiling: it can close its eyes because it trusts its owner.
This cat is smiling: it can close its eyes because it trusts its owner.
Closed eyes are not just about tiredness

If your cats close their eyes, they will put their keen observation on hold for a short time. Thus, it signals that it can trust you completely and does not have to constantly monitor the environment. The cat also closes its eyes for a short time when winking. So the slower she winks at you, the more trust she has in you.

Eyes slightly closed
If your cat’s eyes are only half open it can mean two things. It all depends on the situation. If she is lying on the sofa or floor and is falling asleep or waking up, then the slightly closed eyes are a sign of tiredness. Like humans, cats sometimes like to doze off.

However, if there is no trace of tiredness you should pay attention. Your cat is in an aggressive mood because he no longer feels safe around him. If you are correct, your guess will be confirmed by the cat sitting or standing.

Intentional stare
There are different ways of staring. They depend on the size of the pupil. If the pupil is very narrow, then the cat threatens its counterpart and feels superior to him. In contrast, staring with a wide pupil means curiosity and interest in what is happening. It can also represent fear. A time for fear can be, for example, on New Year’s Eve: Here you can find out how to deal with your cat properly on New Year’s Eve!

Feelings are conveyed through the ears
In addition to the tail, the best way to tell your cat’s mood is by its ears. Here in particular you have to be a good observer, because even small differences in the position of the ears can express a completely different mood.

If your cat’s ears are relaxed and pointed forward, it is satisfied with the situation and in a friendly mood towards you. If she is just turning her ears forward, she has noticed something. But if the cat’s ears don’t stay calm, but move back and forth, then she is unsafe. She no longer concentrates on you, but checks the area with her listeners.

Caution is advised, if you can see the back of a cat’s ears, it means fear and preparation for an attack in feline language. This gesture comes from the wildcats. These have a light spot behind both ears. If you feel threatened, turn your ears and the two spots look like a second pair of eyes. So they want to scare off and intimidate their counterparts. You can tell that the fear has finally turned into aggression when the cat puts its ears flat on its head. Now it can only be a matter of seconds until she starts the attack.

Head movements as an approach
You probably know that your cat rubs its head against you. Rubbing the head is a clear proof of love for the master and is often accompanied by an invitation to cuddle. If the cat opens its mouth slightly, it can absorb your scent. At the same time, she wants to give her smell to you by rubbing it to show that you belong together. The best way to respond to this rush of affection is by stroking and petting.

To show you how much she loves you, your cat will rub her head against you.
To show you how much she loves you, your cat will rub her head against you.
However, if your cat rubs its head against your head, it will sometimes also show you that it would like to be cleaned. While your kitten will often clean herself on her own, there are places that are difficult for her to reach. If she has no conspecifics around her who can do that, she needs your help.

If your pet nudges you lightly with the head, it means a loving greeting in cat language. As with rubbing your head, the bigger the better. The cat does not want to annoy you or disturb you, but rather express its affection for you by moving its head strongly.

Raised fur as a sign of danger
“My fur stood on end.” Here, too, we have already made the cat language into an expression. A ruffled fur, we know, clearly represents danger. The cat is now afraid of everything. But then why is it bristling? With this gesture, she wants to deter the attacker and appear taller. Kittens often have bristling fur, as they are often unable to assess their strength in a playful fight against their siblings. If your pets are out of the age of the kitten, then a ruffled fur doesn’t even appear while playing. An exception are the territorial fights, which serve to determine the head of the apartment.


Mehul D

I love pets especially dogs and cats. I have created this website to spread useful information about pets and to help people to take care of their pets in a better way.