Cat Communication: How do Cats communicate?

Have you ever wondered what your cat is saying? Cats do not meow randomly, nor do they growl or hiss because they have nothing better to do. Cat sounds have a purpose, and they can carry important messages, whether for us or other cats.

Cats Language

Cats and humans have lived together for more than ten thousand years. We domesticated them. But they probably domesticated us too. They taught us how we should behave around them (do not approach too quickly, do not speak too loudly). We made it clear to them that we were happy to have them around, that we like to feed them, that they can expect warmth and protection from us, as long as they are just a little friendly to us and occasionally catch a mouse, so that our gain stores are not emptied by rodents.


Although many cats are solitary animals who rarely seek the company of other cats, cats can live together in friendly groups. Additionally, most domesticated cats seem to like living with humans. In this sense, they are social creatures who communicate in a variety of different ways with each other as well as with us humans: through scent (olfactory), through touching (tactile), with sounds (acoustic) and with body postures and movements (visual).

Cat Communication: Sounds (Acoustic)

cat communication

Humans unfortunately are not sensitive to scent or the pheromones that cats can detect so easily. Moreover, our eyes are often occupied by watching our smartphones, computers and televisions, so we might not notice that kitty has been sitting next to her empty food bowl waiting for breakfast for more than half an hour.

Perhaps that is why cats and humans have developed a kind of acoustic language that both species are able to understand. Cats have understood that sometimes, the best and quickest way to get what they want from us is to communicate with sounds, a meow, for example. They know that we will react immediately and we mostly know what our cats want from us: give them food, cuddling or playing with them, or open a door to them.

Cat Communication: Touch (Tactile Communication)

Cat Communication:

Our cats know very well that the best way to communicate with their humans is with sound. Even so, they have maintained other forms of communication. Nose-touching, head-pumping, … Sometimes they will also show us they have had enough with either their claws or a bite. All of these are examples of cat communication, particulary tactile communication.

Touch is very important, not only between mother cats and their kittens, but also between cats belonging to the same social group. It is possible that cats want to use touch to show us that they accept us humans as their friends as well.

Cat Communication: Visual Communication

Cat Communication:

We should pay far more attention to the visual signals of our cats. Postures and movements, either of the entire body or of individual body parts, such as the tail, head, face and above all, ears, ayes, and whiskers, provide clear indications as to the momentary mood or needs of the cat. In aggressive or defensive situations, the increase in the volume of the body by arching the back and raising the hair mostly means that the cat feels threatened.

Cats also frequently communicate with subtle visual signs, for example, through their head, ear and eye postures and movements. Slow movements like the closing of eyes, yawning, cleaning or even creeping away in slow motion demonstrate peacefulness and harmlessness. Rapid movements, in contrast, (tail wagging, foot stamping and running toward or away from an enemy) are mostly signs of excitement. They indicate that it can get serious at any moment and that a fight might be in the making.

Cat Communication: Scent Signals

Unfortunately, we humans cannot perceive all of the scents that our cats leave behind. The scents called pheromones, which are essential in communication between cats, persist longer than sounds and even continue to communicate something long after the cat that left this scent message behind has gone elsewhere. Scent signals are almost like writing for cats.

These signals can describe the cat’s gender, age, health and readiness to mate, as well as reveal how old the scent mark itself is. Scent marks wear off with time and need to be continually renewed. Urine, stool and scratch marks are all among the scent signals. Scratching or rubbing with the head or the body also leaves decisive scent marks behind, as cats have scent glands on their paw pads (between the toes), as well as on their head and cheeks.

Find More : How To Understand Your Own Cat?

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