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Norwich Bulletin - 9/30/2007

The Many Ways of Cats

There are so many ways our feline friends communicate with us. Knowing why they do what they do and what it means is an important step in creating harmony between the cat and the human.

The obvious form of communication is the meow. There are different types of meows and you need to learn your cats tone of voice! The meow may say they want to eat, or play, or be petted, or for you to open the closed bedroom door for them. If you listen closely, you will be able to understand exactly what your cat is asking for. Once your pet gets your attention and you figure out what to give them, they will know how to ask for it again, and again and, yet, again.

Then there is the hiss. If your cat feels scared, they will let out a big hiss to make themselves seem as if they are big and bad. Or, it could mean they are really mad. Either way, a hiss is not a good thing. Sometimes your cat will puff out all of its fur like a Halloween cat and that means they are really agitated and will need some calming down. Don’t grab at them though because even if they are not mad at you, they may lash out because of their fear.

What about when your cat pushes at you with his paws? He is trying to tell you that he loves you and that he considers you like his mom. As newborn kittens, felines will knead on their mother while they drink their milk. So when your cat does this to you, it means he feels safe and calm and very relaxed.

What about the cat that wags his tale? Well, it could mean that something is bothering him and you are expected to figure out what it is and fix it. If the tail wagging is fast and fierce, it can also be a sign that he is mad, but if the tail quivers, it means he is excited. You can see the excitement when your kitten sees a bug and he hunches down on the floor and his tail twitches. Of course, if you have a Manx, this won’t happen (but his little butt will wiggle back and forth).

Why does your cat rub up against your legs, or your couch, or your pillow? Again, it is because he loves you! Cats like their people better when you smell like them so they want to leave their scent on you and when they leave their scent on your personal items, they are telling you that everything belongs to them!

Have you ever seen two of your cats rub noses together – they are telling each other that they are friends! And when they bring you dead mice or other small animals, they are bringing you presents to show that they like you and also because they know you are not smart enough to catch your own prey. After all, why would you eat a TV dinner when you could have fresh mouse or mole?

Cats seem to always land on their feet because when they fall from up high, their body rotates in the air before they touch the ground. This is why they almost all of the time land on their feet. This is also how the myth of a cat’s nine lives came to be. Since cats are known to survive pretty tricky situations that other animals might not get out of, they have become “supercats” to us mere mortals.

And last, but certainly not least, here is the all mysterious purr. A rumbling sound that cats make deep down in their throats that no other cat can imitate. Usually its to tell their owners how very happy and content they are. Petting your cat is a great way to get him to purr.

And if they roll on their backs while you are petting them, that means they trust you totally. Only small cats purr though. Lions and Tigers do not have the ability. I think a purr is the most relaxing sound to me and I love it when one of my cats curls up next to my head and night and sings me to sleep with his soft, sweet purr.

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