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How Cats Communicate With Each Other

By Jane SmithLast update: 2023-11-13

Cats are often perceived as having very cold and distant personalities. Many cat owners have reported that their cats make them feel uncomfortable when they go home. Compared to dogs, this is quite different. But they make an effort to comprehend and listen to their owners at all times. Cats primarily use a silent language to communicate, whereas people typically use words. Your cat is really the voice. But contrary to what you might expect, she doesn't communicate with other cats through meowing. Although some meows and other vocalizations are used in feline communication, much of feline communication includes body language, chemical cues, and scent. Learn more about cat communication and how cats communicate with each other.

Voice samples of cats speaking

You typically anticipate hearing a meow and purr in response when you speak to your cat. Your cat may come up to you and meow in a certain tone when she wants food. Domestic cats have mastered vocalizations that make their human guardians want to give in to their demands. However, communication between cats and humans differs from that between cats. The majority of feral cats are silent, occasionally hissing or possibly purring.

Domestic cats' collective meows can sound like a variety of meows, whispers, growls, and howls, as well as more strident noises. Anxiety or dread is indicated by a hissing or meowing noise. Your cat will meow less loudly when it feels secure and happy. A low growl should be taken seriously as a warning, particularly after hissing.

The tail of your cat can talk quite a bit.

  • When your cat approaches another cat, it shows friendly intentions by holding its tail straight up and vertically in the air.
  • Your cat is displaying aggressiveness if its tail is extended out and slows it down from side to side.
  • Your cat is attempting to seem larger there in face of hostility from another cat or another threat when its tail is raised up and puffed out.
  • Your cat is most likely expressing nervousness or showing obedience when she tucks her head between her back legs.

Ears and Eyes

  • If your creature's eyes are open, dilated, and her ears are flat, a battle is ready to break out.
  • The cats feel comfortable with each other if your cat's heads are upright when her eyes are only slightly open or closed.
  • If your cat shuts her eyes while she's near another cat, it means she likes that cat sufficiently to not be on high alert.

Belly up

Occasionally, during cat fights, a cat will lie on his back. A cat's exposed belly can give you the impression that you should get close. Both cats are willing to take the risk of injury and trust can be demonstrated by this tug, but it can also suggest something else entirely. As a way of self-defense, the wildcat shows its pregnant belly. According to Dr. Trimble, when defending themselves from predators, cats lie on their backs. That cat's weapons are teeth and claws that can be obtained from that pose.

Cat body language

Cats may communicate with one another through body language. Cats can express their love for one another through physical contact. For instance, when they greet one another, they might massage each other's noses. Another option is for one person to lick on top of another cat. This takes them back to when they were kittens and their mothers used to cuddle and groom them. A cat's mental makeup includes memories of the time they were kittens and their moms licked them cleaned as they ate. Cats will mimic this fondness as they become older for other cats they get along with.

What Cats Are Saying and How Cats Smell

Cats' extremely evolved smell senses are heavily used in their social interactions with other cats. In actuality, your cat mostly interacts with people by using chemical cues during conversation.

You will surely strain your nose at the concept of cat urine when you consider a cat's scent. And certainly, one of the most obvious forms of communication is peeing or spraying. It interacts with other cats while spraying to delineate territory and show dominance. Any cat might spray pee, but neutered male cats are more prone to do so. All cats have the ability to spray urine, though intact males are more likely to do so. Uncertainty surrounds the function of excrement in communication, although it has been observed that cats often bury their waste when it crosses territorial lines, leaving it exposed otherwise.

Cat voices are much less overwhelming. Cats communicate primarily through pheromones. Scent glands can be found on a cat's paws, temples, lips, forehead, tail, and sides. Different meanings are sent depending on how and when cats emit pheromones or oils from those scent glands. Cat behavior experts assert that cats use scent to recognize other animals in their colony, mark territory, establish familiarity, declare breeding status, discover more about their surroundings, appease themselves, forge relationships with young children, or engage in secret hostility.

The smell glands in your cat's paws produce residue when they scratch things to designate them as their territory. By rubbing or pressing their heads together, cats express their attachment and affection by using the scent glands on their faces. When cats brush against one another, they trade odors.

Chatting with prey

Although it appears that cats are communicating with their prey in this manner, they are actually confusing their adversaries. Have you ever witnessed cats conversing with their prey, including birds, squirrels, or other animals? But in reality, cats don't talk to people like this. Researchers studying feline behavior have demonstrated that the cat imitates its prey's call in an effort to confuse it as it waits for a chance to strike.

Facial Expressions

Direct eye contact without blinking is undoubtedly difficult, yet comfortable eye contact accompanied by slow blinks conveys happiness and love.

Cats can also communicate by moving their jaws, ears, and eyes in different ways. Aggression is indicated by narrowed pupils, spread-out whiskers, and upright ears turned outward, whereas fear is indicated by dilated pupils, clustered hairs, and earphones flattened against the skull.

Contact with the eyes is also crucial. While relaxed eye contact and gentle blinks suggest happiness and love, a cat sustaining a direct stare without blinking is undoubtedly difficult

Tactile communication

Bonded cats often rub their bodies and faces together to exchange scents. Although cats can be lonely animals, they have a number of ways to make physical contact when in social groups. Tied cats often swaddle together as they sleep, using the other cat as a pillow.

Both grooming, in which two cats groom each other, and cuddling, in which two cats rub their faces and bodies together, are typical feline behaviors. To strengthen social ties, these activities may also involve scent transport and olfactory communication. In addition, it is common to see cats backing away and wagging their tails at each other, which is considered a type of social interaction.


It has always been known to be aggressive, but not everyone knows that a cat learns most of its behaviors from its owner. Most domestic cats copy their owners' personalities and lives. It can be difficult to communicate with cats. Cats have many subtle and overt means of communication beyond their occasional meowing. Cats often prefer other ways of communicating than meowing. Scents, facial expressions, subtle body language, and touch are all part of the complex mother tongue of cats. Cats quickly discover that we're not keeping up with their nonverbal cues, so cats meow to speak our language. Next time your cat interacts with another cat, pay attention and try to find any creative communication techniques to get to know the animal better.

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