Meaning of Meow and Tail Change

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Learn Cat Language: The Meaning of Meowing, Tail Changes, and How to Answer Back


Understanding cat language is one of the easiest ways to communicate with them. We can understand the state and will of our beloved animal by knowing the body language and meaning of a cat’s meow.

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Tips for Communicating with Your Cat

Dr Anand Deshpande, head of Veterinary Services at a pet grooming brand shares some simple tips for communicating with your cat. Here are some of them:

1. Watch Your Cat’s Tail

If the tail is straight up and slowly curling up, it means that your cat is happy to see you.

However, if the tail feathers are straight up and accompanied by continuous purring, spitting or hissing, then your cat is feeling very angry, aggressive or even frightened.

2. Pay attention to the cat’s eyes

If you find your cat staring back at you with dark, deep, all-knowing eyes, it means she trusts you and is very comfortable around you.

However, if the pupils are dilated, then they may feel happy and a little scared.

3. Headbuting Cat, What Does It Mean?

Learn Cat Language: The Meaning of Meowing, Tail Changes, and How to Answer Back

Headbuting or when cats start rubbing their heads and bodies against your feet, it means that they are marking you as their own and a sign of friendliness. If you get the cat’s wet nose kiss, it means you have earned their affection.

Related article: Cats Can Help You Raise Your Baby

Meanwhile, here is the cat language that we can learn, as quoted from page Whisperer Paint.

4. Meaning of Meow in Cat Language

If you pay attention to what your cat does when she meows, you may be able to tell which meows are requests and which are protesting. Here are some meanings of cat meows:

  • Short meow: Standard greeting
  • Meows several times: Cheerful greetings
  • Meow in a slightly high pitched tone: A request for something like food, or water
  • Mrrrooooow protracted: A request for something
  • Low tone MRRRooooowww: Complaint, or displeasure or quarrel
  • Lower than the middle note MEEOOOOOOwww: Begging, for something like food.
  • High pitch RRROWW!: Anger, pain, or fear
  • Gritting fast teeth: Excitement, frustration
  • Chirrup (sound between meowing and purring in rising pitch): A friendly greeting sound, often used by mother cats to address their kittens.
  • Snoring: Inviting to be in closer contact with you or asking for attention.
  • Hiss: Signs of serious aggression, being displeased, fearful, or inviting a fight.

5. Meaning of Cat Body Language

Learn Cat Language: The Meaning of Meowing, Tail Changes, and How to Answer Back

When learning cat language, it’s important to pay attention to your cat’s movements. Because cats often use body language and certain movements accompanied by meows to convey their message. Here are some of them:

  • Tail straight up with curls at the end: Congratulations
  • Twitching tail: Excited or anxious
  • Feathers on tail sticking out: Very excited
  • Tail shaking: Very excited and happy to see you
  • Tail feathers stick straight up while the tail curls in an N shape: Extreme aggression
  • Tail feathers stick straight up but tail held low: Aggressive or frightened
  • Tail goes low and tucked under the back of its body: Scared
  • Dilated pupils: Very pleasant or excited; it can also mean aggression or fear
  • Eyes blink slowly: showing affection, cats feel comfortable with whoever is around.
  • Lifting his nose and tilting his head back slightly: “I acknowledge you.” The cat sitting at the window may greet you this way as you pass by.
  • Rubbing its body against your feet: This means your cat is marking you as its own
  • Wet nose “kiss”: An affectionate gesture when the cat touches its wet nose towards you
  • Back ear: Fearful, anxious, or in a very pleasant mood; also used when sniffing something they want to know more about
  • Tongue slightly out and licking lower lip: Worry
  • Rubbing the head, waist and tail on a person or animal: Ritual greeting
  • Head-butting: Hospitality, affection
  • Sniffing the face: Confirming identity
  • Kneading: A cat will knead rhythmically with its paws, alternating between the right and left paws, as a sign of happiness, contentment, or pleasure; it means the cat knows and trusts you
  • Licking: The main sign of trust. Your cat may think of you as part of his family, like a mother cleaning her kittens. It is possible that you have something tasty on your hands.
  • Trying to eat your hair: Your cat may be trying to “groom” you. This means your cat really loves you and trusts you.
  • Look into your eyes: Shows that your cat trusts you.

Related article: 23 Baby and Cat Friendship Photos that will make your heart melt

How to Talk Back & Answer Your Cat

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Cats are always learning how to communicate with us. The more you communicate with your cat, the faster it will learn. Here are some ways to respond to cats:

  • Use a slightly raised tone of voice to show friendliness
  • Use a lower tone of voice to show displeasure
  • Repeat the same words, for example: “sleep, sleep, sleep” every time you go to bed or “shower, shower, bathe” every time you go to the bathroom. As a result, your cat will begin to associate the repeated sound of the word with the action you take.
  • If you blink slowly when making eye contact with your cat, it will usually respond by coming closer to be petted. This is seen as an attitude of wanting to be loved.
  • A common mistake that many pet owners make is saying “no” while petting the cat at the same time. This is very confusing for the cat. For example, when you say “no, no, no” when the cat wants to eat meat at the dinner table, don’t do it with a stroke or caress.
  • Make a quick, sharp hiss or spit sound as a “no” command. This is similar to the sound the kind make when they say “no.”
  • Your cat may also make sounds of pain. If you accidentally step on his tail, the best thing to do is apologize, say sorry while petting his head.

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cat language

Hold your cat carefully, not too tightly when you pick him up. Holding on too tightly can be seen as a sign of aggression, and potentially the cat will claw back at you.

Talk back to them in a high-pitched voice and make sure you pay attention to their body language and hear what they make. Dr. Anil Roy suggests keeping a cat does require patience to communicate.

“Cats take longer than usual to trust the humans around them. So, learning to understand (cat language) and relate to them may take some time,” said doctor Anil, quoted times of India.

Cat communication systems are complex and beyond the scope of this article. Some cat breeds also have different languages, such as Siamese and Oriental cats being very vocal and louder in meowing, while some long-haired cat breeds tend to be more reserved.

Treat your cat affectionately so that they will become close friends who also love you. Talk to them often and notice how they listen and respond to you.

Learning the right cat language is to always pay attention to your cat and learn how your pet responds.

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