What Is My Cat Saying?

"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not."
~Ernest Hemingway

Table of Contents

Cat Chat     Why Meow?     Chatty Cats     Scratching issues?     What Is This Cat Thinking?

Cat Chat

What is my cat saying?! Cats have an entire language of their own, and not just with vocal sounds, but with body motions as well. Here are some body motions that you can look at to try and figure out how your cat may be feeling...

When a cat's tail is curled upward,
it means they are very happy.
When a cat's tail is curled upward, it means they are happy, feeling friendly, or greeting someone.

When your cat's tail is swishing rapidly, this means they are angry or irritated. If you are petting your cat and their tail begins to lash, it is probably a good idea to stop.

But if your cat's tail is quivering, then they are showing the greatest expression of love for you that they can. It's a compliment, cat style!

If your cat's ears are flat on his/her head, this means they are either scared or angry. Flat ears are often combined with whiskers curled forward to mean aggression. If the whiskers are curled back with ears to the sides, that's usually fear. So, watching the whiskers comes in handy when deciphering your cat's feelings.

Also, if your cat's ears are flat on her/his head, this could also mean that they are uncomfortable.

Ears that are facing forward characterize an alert cat. Cats are normally very alert, so you will probably see your cat's ears facing forward often.

Cats can rotate their ears about 180 degrees! There are lots of things they can say with their ears. We hope this section helped you to understand their meanings.

It is said that "The eyes are a window to the soul." By watching your cat's eyes, you will be able to tell how they are feeling.

Try this: Stand in a dark room for about 20 seconds, or at least enough time for your eyes to adjust. Then turn the light on and immediately look in a mirror. Do you see your pupils getting smaller?

In the light, cats' pupils have to get smaller.
That's because pupils get larger in the dark to allow more light in, therefore you see better. In the light, however, your pupils need to shrink so that not too much light gets in.
Did you know that cats are most always born with blue eyes?
As a cat grows older, their eyes could change color.
Cats' eyes do the same thing. But with cats, their pupils can dilate to much larger sizes that humans' pupils can, allowing cats to see better in the dark than we can. That is why sometimes people think cats' eyes are scary--because they get so big. But they really aren't.

Eyes can tell us a lot about a cat. Cats' pupils might be large if they're interested in something--perhaps a toy. Large pupils could also mean fear, so you'll have to watch out for other signs as well (such as ears). When cats' eyes are half-closed, it usually means they are happy. There are tons of things you can tell from the eyes of a cat!

But that isn't all. Eye contact, to cats, is a sign of aggression. However, if the cat knows you, she isn't likely to run away if you look at her. If the cat doesn't know you, a way to show that you don't mean any harm is to blink slowly. This, to cats, is comforting.

Vocal Sounds
Cats can make a wide variety of vocal noises--in fact, cats can make over 100 vocal sounds! That sounds amazing, but when it comes to trying to figure out what each one means, it could become really hard. This section can help you with that...

A hiss or a growl can mean that your cat is mad or afraid. If your cat's are fighting, a hiss or a growl could symolize that they are mad at the other cat--or, if they're on the defensive, the hiss or growl could mean that they are afraid. If a dog is outside, for example, then your cat might hiss or growl out of fear of the dog.

Cats meow a lot! Especially Siamese cats, which are likely the most talkative cat breed. How can you discover what each meow means? We're here to help. Meows can mean many things like...
          -I'm hungry
          -I want to go outside (although, we don't recommend letting your cats outside...)
          -I want to go inside
          -I'm bored
          -I want attention
          -I'm upset
Cats mostly meow to talk to their owners--not other cats. To try and decipher what their meows mean, look at their body motions, and pay attention to when your cat meows at you.

Cats also make a sound called a purr. Cats purr to show that they are content and feel safe. A purr sounds sort of like a continuous, friendly growl. Watch this video to hear what a cat's purr sounds like.
The sounds of purrs vary among cats, but they mean the same thing.

When cats rub against you, they are leaving their scent on you, and marking you as their property. This is a sign of friendliness. Cats have scent glands near their cheeks, on their forehead, and on their back. They will also rub against furniture to mark that as their property too.

When cats roll onto their back, they are showing that they trust you. Similarly, when a cat exposes their belly, it means they feel secure. However, cats will use this roll-onto-back as a defensive position in a fight as well.

And here's the easiest one yet--a yawn. Cats will yawn when they're sleepy, just like humans do. After all, cats spend 2/3 of their lives sleeping!

And please note that with different cats, some movements may vary slightly. Understanding what your cat is saying is partly a matter of getting to know him. And remember that cats can quickly change their mind about how they are feeling, so watch for their signs.

Understanding how your cat feels can form a better relationship between you and your cat. =^.^=

Now test yourself! See how many of these terms you know. All you have to do is click here. It will open in a new window/tab.

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There are lots of reasons that cats would meow. Siamese cats meow all the time--they're the most talkative cat breed! Other cats will meow for attention, food, help, wanting to get inside, wanting to get outside (though we don't recommend letting your cats outside), or warnings to go away. There are also many other reasons cats will meow. Meows are usually reserved for a person, not another cat, but cats will still sometimes talk to each other through meows.

According to the Kittens USA 2010 issue, these are the most talkative cat breeds (not placed in order of most talkative to least talkative)...

  1. American Wirehair
  2. Balinese
  3. Burmese
  4. Colorpoint Shorthair
  5. European Burmese
  6. Japanese Bobtail
  7. Javanese
  8. Oriental
  9. Siamese
  10. Snowshoe
  11. Tonkinese
  12. Turkish Van
These breeds are a range from low to high when it comes to how talkative they are...
  1. Abyssinian
  2. Bombay
  3. Chausie
Source: "Your Breed Guide." Kittens USA 2010: 25. Print.

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My cat is scratching on everything! Why!? What can I do to stop them?
First, you should understand some reasons why cats scratch. Cats will scratch for attention, to sharpen their claws, to mark property, and to show anger. You might be able to discourage your cat from scratching if you know why he/she is doing it. For example: if your cat is scratching people, try to make sure your cat is treated better by guests. If your cat is scratching on furniture, try putting a towel over the place that they like to scratch. That could discourage them from scratching there. 
Also, here are some more tips about scratching. Just go to the "Your New Kitten" page and read the mini-article about scratching posts. Click here to see it.

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What Is This Cat Thinking?

Cats do lots of crazy things! Don't you sometimes wish you could just know what they're thinking? We do. Here's your chance to tell us what YOU think they might be thinking. We give you a picture, you tell us which of the choices given to you is the best idea of what the cat could be thinking. All answers are correct--it's all your opinion! So get started! Just click here!

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As well as personal experience


  1. Hi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ~Tongue freckles
    (Don't say anything...)

  2. Very helpful I now think my cat is a fierce kitty kitty. Thanks Robo Cop!