In the eyes of a cat, their primary caregiver is their mommy, no matter if you are a male or female. As the primary parent in your cat’s life, it is important to understand how to communicate with them.
Not to worry – outside our home, kitty is very street smart and has a wild side, but with you she is merely a baby in need of love. Here are a few tips that could help you better understand your cat.
In watching your cat’s face there are several indicators of how kitty may be feeling. When you first see your cat, their instinct will be to greet you. In cat world, a greeting is exchanged by rubbing noses or grazing cheeks against each other. When your cat tries to greet you, he will most often jump on furniture or a higher point and attempt to rub your face.
Greeting does not only occur when you come home, it could be any time your cat wants your attention. By rubbing against your face, they are exchanging scents in the cat world and have claimed each other as being in the same pride or family.
When you are close to your cat you can notice changes in their eyes. Humans cannot control the dilation of their pupils without the aid of light; however cat’s pupils can dilate and constrict due to mood as well as lighting (the pupil is the black part of the eye, a dilation is when the pupil grows in size, and a constriction is when the pupil is just a vertical line or slit).
When dilated (which naturally happens in the dark) your cat might be feeling playful, aggressive or frisky and will most likely act accordingly. When the pupils are constricted, which naturally happens in bright light, your cat is probably feeling scared, intimidated, or confused.
The eyes are also a great indicator of what your cat may be thinking. If you notice a change in your cat’s behavior or mood, look directly where they are looking and you will find the cause. Cats become focused on what holds their attention and cannot feign interest as we can.
Another good thing to look at is your cat’s ears, which move in response to sound and mood. Of course their ears will be directed to any sound they hear, but their mood often overcomes any sound. When their ears are more pulled back, it means negativity; they are angry, scared, or hurt. When their ears are forward, it’s positive and means interested, happy, and healthy.
As a general rule those hints work, but there are more specific clues as well. For example, flat against the head shows fear and twitching ears show confusion and hyper activity. Also, ears that are not quite flat and also turned out to the side confirm aggressiveness, and a half folded ear usually is from an injury inside the ear.
Another interesting way to read your cats mind is to watch their mouth. Their tongue is a useful tool for them to not only taste but smell too. When intrigued with an object, they may lick it to try and bring the scent in close to their mouth.
In cats, there is a very small hole behind the front teeth that leads into the nose called the vomeronasal region. When your cat is trying to get a really good smell of something they will open their mouth and breathe deeply which ends up looking like a goofy sneer. This actually shows interest despite how it looks.
Another interesting thing that may appear around your cat’s mouth is drooling, especially known to happen during kneading. This comes from their days as a kitten when they would knead their mom to stimulate milk flow for feeding. When the kitten would get a good suction, the milk would be produced. In order to produce a proper suction the kitten would salivate, which would be swallowed with the milk. When they knead at you, sometimes saliva increases out of habit, making them drool.
When trying to communicate with your kitty, think positive loving thoughts and don’t be afraid to rub your nose with theirs or rub cheeks. Always remember that animals are excellent at perceiving emotions and actions around them so they are sure to know how much you love them, with or without nonverbal communication.