How to Speak Cat

How to Speak Cat

How to Speak Cat


Blessed by a what seems to be a more complex and developed brain, us humans often take for granted the ability to speak our minds clearly (or so we try,) through a structured language.

But have you ever wondered how animals, such as cats, communicate?


With less vocabulary than Spanish or English - but not necessarily simpler - “cat language” also has grammatical rules to observe, in its own way.  The position of the tail, for instance, can express completely different feelings, in a straight-forward and meaningful way.

Those who’ve paid attention to cats behaviour (or any other animal for that matter) will soon notice a certain pattern in their attitude, depending on which situation they might find themselves into; a very intuitive gesture.

In any case, cats seem to keep it simple, and only actually bother communicating when necessary. The rest of the time they spend chilling out or having fun - kind of how most of us humans might have liked our lives to be. Maybe that’s what relates so many of us to cats: an unfulfilled wish of one day living life like a cat…worry less.


In order to understand their language a bit better let’s divide it into sections -or grammatical tenses if you wish. As present tense we have “vocalizations”: the sounds cats make.

Meows” are the most popular of cat words. Used in many situations, from a kitten calling for attention, to a bunch of different “states of spirit”, such as being welcoming or sad. Funny enough these vocalizations are uncommonly used amongst themselves, leaving us humans as the main recipient, interpreting them at own risk.

For those who ever petted a cat the “purr” is a familiar cat language word, usually meaning they’re content. Still, in some cases it can mean the opposite, and they might purr from being uncomfortable or ill.

Not so common as “meowing” or “purring”, “chirping” usually happens when spotting a prey or stalking it; a general show of excitement.

The “hiss” is probably the one sound you wouldn’t want to hear coming from a cat. If you do, it’s quite possible that you (or someone else in the room) did something to upset it, and knowing how vicious felines can become you better give it some milk, or throw a ball of thread for it to play with.


Body language” can be considered as “past tense” in this metaphor.

With their bellies up they usually express comfort or trust, which is probably what you should look for when buying a cat. In a very feline-like approach, cats lower to the ground and arch their backs downward when stalking a prey, hoping not to be noticed. Alternatively, when threatened they tend to arch their backs upward, puff up their hair and shuffle sideways, in order to look larger and fearless.

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Tail language” – or future tense- is pretty direct. Straight up or smooth waggle means happy; straight down or stiff waggle means mad.

Things like “pawing” or rubbing their faces on someone express some sort of affection, either a parental or ownership one, respectively. So if your cat is rubbing his face on you he’s kind of marking territory, letting everyone know you’re his owner, no one else’s. Licking is also a show of affection and care, both to owners and other cats.