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Erwachsener Maine Coon Kater

Cat whisperer

Learn to understand your cat's language

Although cats cannot speak in the human sense, they still communicate with us in a variety of ways. This happens through various forms of body language, from the position of the ears and tail to the eyes. Cats use this intense body language to communicate. For many cat owners, their cats' most noticeable and concise means of communication is meowing and purring.

Every cat owner has probably wondered what their furry friend wants to convey with their body language. After all, cats have extremely complex expressive behavior that does not only consist of individual behavioral elements, but should always be viewed as a whole.

The cat's body language includes, among other things, facial expression movements. This includes the position of the ears, changes in the eyes, forehead, nose and mouth with the whiskers and cheeks.

*Source: Nathalie Aigner, cat psychologist and behavior consultant.

Cat sounds
This is what the different cat noises mean

Meow: Cats meow to get people's attention. It can have different meanings, such as "I'm hungry!", "Play with me!" or “You’re finally back home!” Cats learn to meow as kittens to call for their mother. Different tones and types of meow represent different wishes the cat wants to communicate to you. Whether you're hungry, thirsty or want to go outside - just listen carefully! You will soon understand the different types of meowing and develop a sense for your cat's needs.

Purr: Purring is a unique phenomenon in cats and is still not fully explained scientifically. Some suspect it comes from the larynx, while others blame the hyoid bone or undetected vocal cords. Anyway, cats purr primarily when they feel comfortable. Even kittens purr shortly after birth to show their mother that everything is okay. Purring basically represents the cat's well-being and is also used among each other to signal peacefulness.

Hiss: Cats hiss loudly to show that they feel threatened or afraid. This sound means something like “Don’t come any closer!” and is often accompanied by raised hair, a cat's hump and bared teeth to deter threats.

Crying and whining: Some cats cry or whine when they are in uncomfortable situations, such as being put in a carrier. Your cat wants to use these sounds to tell you that it wants to be freed from this situation. New sights and smells can quickly make cats uncomfortable.

Growling: When cats growl, it indicates increased aggressiveness. This sound is often accompanied by raised hair and a threatening look. Growling cats should be left alone as they could be aggressive.

Chatter: Cats chatter when they see and want to capture prey that is out of their reach. The exact function of this sound has not yet been fully researched. It could be an expression of both threat and frustration.

Booty call: After a successful hunt, the cat often returns with a “prey call” of its own. This call signals to other cats or people that the cat has gotten food. The volume of this call depends on the size and danger of the prey.

Body language of cats


What do the different tail positions mean?

Ears: Cats have 32 muscles that control the position of their ears, making them extremely flexible and mobile. This mobility allows them to hear excellently and accurately estimate the distance of prey or other sounds. A cat's ears can also provide information about its current mood. When the cat is relaxed and friendly, the ears are pointed forward but not completely erect. When the cat is curious or wants to play, the ears are pricked upwards.


Aggression and willingness to fight are shown when the ears are turned to the side and erect. In contrast, ears pointing backwards and downwards indicate fear, while ears close to the head indicate greater fear. Ears pointing sideways indicate defensive readiness. However, if the cat has the opportunity to retreat, it will choose it. Otherwise, she will be ready to defend herself. Flattening one ear and raising the other, as well as ear twitching, are signs of insecurity and ambivalent behavior.

Cat hump: When a cat bristles its fur, arches its back, and holds its tail hooked downwards, it is either trying to appear larger and more threatening or is signaling fear and insecurity.

Supine position: A cat's position on its back is sometimes mistakenly interpreted as a sign of submission. However, it is important to note that cats in this position are still able to use their paws effectively and it may represent a defensive stance.

Even more gestures: In addition to body language, cats use facial expressions to communicate with others.

Whiskers: The whiskers, also known as vibrissae, are not only another of the cat's sense organs, but also provide information about their mood. Sideways facing vibrissae indicate a relaxed and contented cat. Forward-facing vibrissae indicate interest, but can also indicate quick action and aggressiveness. Retracted and backward-facing vibrissae signal restraint, insecurity or fear. When the cat is in defense or attack mode, the vibrissae move upwards quickly, often accompanied by a hissing sound.

Marking behavior: Cats use marking to transmit information about themselves and their surroundings. Both male and female cats, spayed and unneutered, mark with urine to communicate gender, mood and other information. Sharpening claws also serves as a means of communication, as the scratching points are visually and odorally noticeable and are used to mark territory.

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