A mini-course in cat language

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How cats communicate

Read here everything about the body language of cats

Some cats are silent, while others just “chatter” the ears off your head. And of course we chatter back, because that is great fun. But cats really communicate with their bodies. Because with their tail, ears and eyes they show exactly how they feel. And once you understand how that is, you always know what your cat wants to tell you.

How cats communicate

Does your cat run to you very enthusiastically when you get home and give you lots of cups? Then he is happy to see you. Or does your cat first stretch out quietly and then casually walk up to you for a pat? That’s another way to show that he likes you there.

So every cat is different, but they have one thing in common: they communicate through body language. And because we think it’s important that you and your cat become the very best of friends, here we tell you about the 10 most common forms of communication from cats.

1. I like you and I am friendly

Cats love their owners and they love to show it. Does your cat greet you with its ears up, its eyes half open and its tail in the air with a slight bow at the end? Then he tells you he likes you.

2. I trust you

If your cat lies on its back and shows its stomach, it says that it is comfortable with you – its stomach is the most vulnerable part of its body. By the way, it is not an invitation to pet his stomach, because not every cat likes that.

3. I am friendly and relaxed

Have you ever seen your cat “wink”? In cat language that means “everything is okay and I mean no harm.” Nice to know: if your cat is afraid of something, you can do the same to him. Look at him from a distance and close your eyes every now and then. This lets you know that it is safe.

4. I am enthusiastic

Scratching things is in cats’ nature – it relaxes them. Always have a scratching post at home, because then you can be sure that your furniture will be spared. But cats can also scratch enthusiastically when they are excited and happy. Therefore, never punish them if they do, but rather give them a nice pat.

5. This is mine!

You’ve probably seen your cat rubbing its head against a door, bush or cat toy. Your cat then leaves its own scent with a gland located near their mouth. He lets other cats know: go away, this is mine!

6. I’m tense

Cats are sensitive critters – if something changes in the house or they don’t trust someone or something, they can become tense. And you can clearly see that in their posture: their ears move to the side, their hind legs sink a bit and their tail hangs low to the ground.

7. I am anxious

Anyone who has taken their cat to the vet knows this position – your cat sits hunched over, ears to the side and tail curled tightly around him on the treatment table. Your cat shows that it is anxious and prefers to hide.

8. I feel threatened

A cat that feels threatened can look terrifying: its eyes are large, its ears completely flat, and it blows at you. If your cat behaves like this, he is especially afraid and indicates that he wants to be left alone. It is therefore best to do that.

9. I am irritated

Who does not know him – the swishing cat’s tail. When two cats have a conflict, it means the start of an attack. But if your cat is lying or sitting quietly and starts to whip its tail, it shows that it is irritated. Does he do that when you are petting him? Then you better stop for a while.

10. I think this is very dirty

Many cats are picky eaters. If something changes in their daily meal, they may very well turn their noses about it. And they like to show that too: they look at the bowl with food and withdraw their heads. And if they think it’s really dirty, they just walk away

Illustrator Lili Chin [1] shows with these super cute illustrations how a cat communicates. And as you can see: your cat has a lot more to say!

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