As cat owners, we are very familiar with the “meow” of cats. We know that our feline friends communicate with us by meowing. We also know that a cat’s ears, tail, and pupils tell us what it is thinking and feeling. But how do cats communicate with each other? Cats have several interesting ways. No, they don’t “meow” at each other.
Read to find out how cats communicate with each other. You might learn something!
This cat has a strong smell.
Yoda jokes aside, cats have a very keen sense of smell and rely on smell to navigate the world. You’ve probably seen cats make funny faces with their mouths half open when a flea starts to react. Anthropozoologist John Bradshaw explains that the flea door response falls somewhere between olfaction and taste. It provides cats with far more information than simply sniffing. It is particularly useful for interpreting pheromones. Pheromones are chemical signals that animals (and humans) send to communicate simple biological information.
In terms of our feline friends, some cats are more territorial than others. This is one reason cats fight and squirm. Cats have scent glands in several parts of their bodies. They are found in the mouth, chin, forehead, cheeks, lower back, tail, and even on the paws. If your cat is indoors, I can assure you that he is marked by scent from top to bottom. Cats will even use you as a marker when they rub up against you. So you must be careful when welcoming a new cat into your home. Above all, you don’t even have to tell that new cat that it has taken up residence in your shabby home. Thanks to powerful feline pheromones, they will know as soon as they set foot in your home.
Body Language is a Real Dialogue
We have studied feline behavior for a long time, so watching the movement of a cat’s ears and tail is nothing new to us feline enthusiasts. Until the end of the 19th century, most cats were kept outdoors and used to control rodents. As people began to keep cats as pets, they discovered that they had much to learn. When cats want to get along with other cats, they sometimes show their scent factories (i.e., tails) to each other as a friendly gesture. We don’t point our butts at friendly strangers, but remember, we are not cats. If you’ve ever had your face rubbed against a cat’s butt, you’ll understand why!
Speaking of cat ears and tails, this is another way cats communicate. The tail and ears are a barometer of a cat’s emotions, letting humans and other cats know how the cat is feeling and thinking. A drooping tail and drooping ears can warn anyone. An active tail and pointed ears usually mean that the cat is interested and eager to meet an intrigued cat or person. When greeting, cats usually use their noses to sniff other cats. Be very careful with sudden movements, however, to avoid flying hair.
Growling, snarling, and hissing in the street
After the kitten stage, cats will only meow at humans. Some might argue that they still communicate with other cats by meowing, but that is not entirely correct. Mature cats communicate by growling, snarling, and hissing. The growl is obviously used to indicate that they are upset by the presence of another cat. I call this “cat thunder.” Usually when this sound is heard, it doesn’t take long before the cat attacks.
Speaking of purring, if you have ever heard a female cat in heat, you know what this type of cat communication is like. Stressed cats purr too, and cats purr when they are in pain. Cats hiss at each other when they are fighting over food or territory. Speaking of hissing, young cats usually hiss when they are frightened. Adult cats hiss when they are frightened or threatened. If that something is you, the cat is indicating that it needs space from you, so move away and give it some space. Cats are less responsive when threatened or cornered. They will not be shy about letting you know this. Remember that cats are non-confrontational by nature. The only reason they act aggressively is because something or someone has made them feel threatened.
Have you learned something interesting about how cats communicate that you didn’t know before? Share this article with the cat lovers you know so they can learn something too.