The feline species is nothing if not…enigmatic. One second you’re playing with a cat who’s attentive, affectionate, and sweet – only to be casually ignored the very next minute. Fickle, mysterious, or downright rude, your cat’s personality doesn’t always give much away. It’s clear (or painfully obvious) that your feline is trying to tell you something… But what?

Understanding the many ways your cat communicates with you not only provides deeper insight, it can even help you meet the needs of your sometimes fierce, sometimes friendly feline.

Breaking it Down, Kitty-Style

Maybe it’s due to their innately mysterious nature, but it seems we’re always looking for ways to understand cats. After all, their unique characteristics are what make them so beloved by people worldwide.

The many ways your cat communicates with you can be highly distinctive. In the absence of an enthusiastically wagging tail or a cool, wet snout in your face, he or she expresses emotion through subtle body language.

The Tail Knows

Perhaps the most obvious indicator is your cat’s tail. A vertical tail shows how friendly and happy your cat feels, while a low-lying tail or one that whips from side to side is a warning of fear or aggression.

Have you ever noticed a twitchy tail? Lucky you! An upright, slightly curved tail that quivers in your general direction is a sign of unabashed affection.

Don’t forget that your cat uses his or her tail like a hand or arm on occasion. Watch how he or she drapes it over you the next time you sit near each other. So sweet!

Oh, the Meow!

Did you know that feral cats stop meowing after kittenhood as a means of communication between other cats? It’s true! If your cat is “chatty” with you, consider yourself very fortunate.

Felines also express themselves with chirps, little meows, purrs, or chortles to say, “I love you.”

Your Cat Communicates With the Blink

Fluffy’s eyes are wonderful assets in the expression department. Truly, there’s nothing more heartwarming than to be the recipient of a long, slow blink. Considered an “eye kiss,” your cat communicates adoration and friendship by closing those blinkers for a long moment or two.

That’s a trusting cat!

It’s worth mentioning, however, that sustained, wide-eyed contact with partially or fully dilated pupils is a defensive signal. Please watch carefully for any other body language that indicates feline aggression.

Don’t Forget the Bop and Bump

The head bump is also a strong signal of kitty affection. You may notice it when your cat approaches your legs. He or she may run into you then slowly coast off to the side. See that twitchy tail?

Using that beautiful feline face, your cat rubs the corners of his or her mouth on their personal property (also known as you). It’s a quiet way to communicate, but the powerful pheromones in the cheek glands convey a strong feline statement.

Making Biscuits

Kneading might not be a direct mode of communication, but if you see Fluffy “making biscuits” near (or on) you, he or she is saying this is the most comfortable, blissful place on earth.

You Love Your Cat

While confusing at times, understanding feline expressions is key. Cats who do not engage with other pets or people in the household may benefit from compassionate, experienced veterinary help.

Please let us know if you have any questions about other ways in which your cat communicates with you. In the meantime, give your kitty a snuggle or scratch to communicate your own affection.