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How Cats communicate using sound, smell and body language.


Jade likes to communicate regularly with us
Jade communicates regularly with us

To help you understanding your cat and develop a closer bond with them we found three articles about Cat Communication, Cat Talk and Cat Emotions that we think are worth reading. Cat Communication covers a number of ways of how your cat communicates using sound, smell and body language. It has some good diagrams to help explain things visually.

There are links from Cat Communication to Cat Chat and Cat Emotions. We found all these articles very interesting and ideal for the cat lover who would like to know more about the inner working of cats.

Here is a snippet from each article. Links to the complete articles are at the end of the post.

Cat Communication

Cats which communicate mostly with other cats use mainly on body language and scent – this is their “native language”. Their body language is subtle, but many owners and cat workers learn to read the more obvious cues.

There are at least nineteen different types of “miaow” which differ in pitch, rhythm, volume, tone, pronunciation and the situations in which they are used. The familiar purr may be used for contentment, self-reassurance or an invitation for close contact.

Housecats develop a wide variety of sounds to alert humans to their needs and intentions. Many are variations on mother/kitten meow or chirp sounds which the cat has adapted in order to “speak” to non-cats. This is quite logical since the cosseted housecat remains dependent on humans i.e. a permanent kitten. Others are adult sounds such as the caterwaul (used in a sexual or territorial context) or the cough-bark (a fear/anger sound usually accompanied by a front paw stamp).

Cat chat! Can cats talk?

Can cats talk? Many cat owners would like to think so and some even claim that their cats speak a number of recognisable words. A Brazilian cat takes claims one step further by apparently being able to sing a number of well known songs while the Fortean Times carried a report of a cat which speaks several words in Turkish and suggested, with tongue firmly in cheek, that the reason many owners cannot understand their cats is because the cats are speaking Turkish. But before cat-owners rush out for phrase books, are these cats really speaking or are their owners just talking turkey?

In “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, Lewis Carroll wrote “It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens that whatever you say to them, they always purr. If they would only purr for ‘yes’ and mew for ‘no’, or any rule of that sort, so that one could keep up a conversation! But how can one deal with a person if they always say the same thing?”

Do Cats Have Emotions?

Do cats (and other higher animals) have feelings? Can they respond emotionally?

According to many pet owners, the answer is “yes”. Cats display a range of feelings including pleasure, frustration and affection. Other feline behaviour is attributed to jealousy, frustration and even vengefulness. Owners base their answer on observation of feline behaviour, but without an understanding of what makes a cat tick, they risk crediting a cat with emotions it does not feel as well as recognising genuine feline emotions. Owners who veer too far into the “Did my ickle-wickle fluffy-wuffikins miss his mummy then?” approach may not understand (or not want to accept) that a cat’s emotions evolved to suit very different situations to our own.

When you have some time to spare read through the full articles for more information. We found them very informative.
Cat Communication
Cat chat! Can cats talk?
Do Cats Have Emotions?

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