Have you ever wondered what your cat is thinking or what certain things they do really mean? When I got my first cat almost 20 years ago I used to wonder that all the time. Then over time I learned that cats are very expressive and do communicate a lot with their human friends and each other. The more time spent together bonding contributes to being able to read their body language and thus communicate.
The bonding experience with humans is very special. It takes time to build a loving and trusting friendship with a cat. When you first great a cat it’s important to let them know they can trust you so extend out your hand palm side down and let the cat sniff you. This shows they can trust you and establish the beginnings of a bond. Once the bond has been established then communication can begin.
My first cat Buffy was very aloof in general but would show love quite a bit. She used to rub her head against my leg with her tail straight up, which meant she was happy. She used to also rub the corner of her mouth on objects which I learned is how they mark their scent. Meowing is essential to communication and there are different types of meows. My cat Axl’s hungry meow is very distinctive and I can tell it apart from his other meows. It’s more high pitch with a longer drawn out meow. His morning meow is more sweet and higher pitched as if to say “good morning I’d like some food and a nice scratch”. My other cat Slash has a much deeper meow and the depth varies based on his mood. If he’s happy it’s shorter meows and when he’s upset it’s much louder and almost like a howl.
One of my favorite ways that Slash communicates with me is rubbing his face against mine. That tells me he loves me and I reciprocate and rub my face against his to say I love you too. Another way to express love is the slow eye blink. You make eye contact with your cat then very slowly blink your eyes at him. It may take a few minutes or a few tries so be patient. If or when your cat returns the blink is a sign that he understands and loves you too. The eye blink warms my heart as it’s such a sweet gesture from an animal known to be aloof at times.
Axl tends to be more expressive than Slash and I can always tell when a thunderstorm is coming. He starts to run around a lot and meowing very loudly. The fur on his tail will puff out and his ears with widen out and his back arches up which means he is anxious or scared. I always try to help calm him by petting his fur softly and telling him he will be ok. Treats always seem to help in situations like this as Axl is very much driven by food. We always ride out the storms together. Slash on the other hand isn’t phased by storms.
Purring is another way to show love or content with their surroundings. It also shows they are calm and or feeling social. When my cats purr that’s a good sign they want to play as well. Both of them are very social and love to be part of the family. They love to watch me cook dinner and I call them my little chefs. Axl loves to drink water from the kitchen sink and meows when he wants the faucet turned on.
I treat them like family and show them love and that is the most effective way to communicate with your cat.
Laura Harrington is a married stay at home mom to a 2 year old toddler and 2 cats. She has an associates in Fashion Merchandising from FIT in NYC and resides in Connecticut.