6 Unique Cat Behaviours And What They Mean
Cats are extremely expressive and communicative animals. From a whole array of different vocalizations to behaviours such as rubbing and kneading, even down to the position of their ears and their slow blinks, cats are able to communicate their needs and feelings to each other and even to humans. Here are 6 unique cat behaviours and what they mean.
When your cat rubs his head on you, it’s his way of letting you know that he likes you and is showing you affection. However, when a cat rubs his head on something, including you, they release pheromones, which help to mark his ownership and his territory. These cat behaviours signify them marking you out as belonging to him.
You may find your cat kneading her paws on you. This behaviour actually began when your cat was a kitten. Kittens knead their mother’s mammary glands to stimulate better milk production. Throughout their lives, cats knead one another as a sign of affection, as well as another form of marking their territory. It’s typical behaviour that demonstrates that your cat is feeling happy and comfortable.
Litter Box Difficulties
If your cat is having difficulties using the litter box and you are finding that she is defecating or urinating in places other than the litter box, there may be either a behavioural or medical reason causing this behaviour.
“For some cats, changes within the household can lead to anxiety or stress which manifest themselves through difficulties using the litter tray effectively. At other times, simple actions such as moving the litter box to a new location can be enough to trigger anxiety in your cat. Alternatively, your cat may be suffering from a range of medical problems, including hyperthyroidism, urinary tract problems or diabetes,” explains Ronald Lopez, an animal writer at Paper Fellows and State of writing.
The most important action to take is to identify the source of your cat’s problem and try to help them to resolve it. If there doesn’t appear to be any obvious cause for your cat’s litter box difficulties, then it’s worth taking a trip to the vet to have your cat assessed and to ensure that there aren’t any underlying medical conditions.
Position Of The Ears
If your cat is feeling happy, calm, and confident then his ears will be pointed forward. If they are high and erect or swiveling, then your cat is most probably on alert, attentively listening to all sounds. However, if your cat’s ears are flattened down, then this is an indication that he is feeling fearful, angry or irritable and it’s best to leave him alone.
Narrow, constricted pupils are usually a sign of aggression, whilst large, dilated pupils are often a sign that your cat is stimulated. This can be an indication of playfulness and excitement or fear and nervousness.
“Cat owners may be very familiar with the classic slow cat blink. If your cat blinks slowly at you, then she is showing you affection. Slow cat blinks indicate that your cat feels relaxed in your company and trusts you. Blinking slowly at them in return is a great way to communicate with your cat and build a stronger bond between the two of you,” explains Elizabeth Scott, a chief editor and cat lover at OX Essays and Lia Help.
Types Of Vocalization
Cats have a range of different vocalizations which are your cat’s way of trying to talk and communicate with you. Different vocalizations signal different moods, emotions and needs and it’s important to learn to distinguish between them to effectively understand the needs of your cat.
- Hissing and growling – your cat will most likely make these sounds when he feels threatened, anxious, or frightened. These vocalizations are indicative of aggression and you should leave your cat alone.
- Meowing – the ‘meow’ is the most common of all cat vocalizations. It can be used as a form of greeting, a way to get your attention, or as a sign of enjoyment and excitement. However, if your cat begins to meow excessively, it can be a sign that they are frustrated or that there is something wrong. If the meowing continues to excessive, then you may want to take your cat to the vet.
- Trilling and chirping – trills sound like soft rolling Rs and are usually a friendly sound, used as a form of greeting. Chirping is also a sign of excitement. Both are used by mothers to get the attention of their kittens so they follow them. When directed at humans, they are often a way of expressing pleasure or asking you to follow them so they can show you something.
- Purring – a purr is usually a sign that your cat is happy and content. However, sometimes cats who are unwell or in pain may also purr as a way to comfort themselves.
Learning how to interpret these unique cat behaviours, especially in different contexts, will help you to communicate more effectively with your cat. It will also enable you to quickly identify if they are experiencing pain or discomfort, whilst helping you to build a greater bond with your cat.
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