Decoding Your Cat’s Behavior

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a secret guide for decoding your cat’s behavior and language? Your cat wants you to understand him and this guide will help you just to do that.

  • Don’t touch the belly

It’s common for cats to show their stomachs. Most owners think they’re being friendly and want a belly rub when doing this. Sometimes, this is true. However, it’s possible your cat is just stretching. This is also body language for possible aggression. As a sign of defense, cats show their belly, letting possible enemies know their limbs and claws are ready for attack.

  • Cats need to scratch

Cats must keep their claws properly manicured in much the same way as humans maintain their nails. Scratching helps them shed dead nail sheaths to avoid disease and injury. But, nail grooming isn’t the only reason your cat needs things to scratch.

Cats, especially males, mark their territory, and scratching is one of the ways they do this. They have scent glands located in the paws, and when they scratch or stretch, they are leaving their scent telling other cats, “Back off, this is my territory.” But, for indoor cats, many times the only place to do what nature intended is on your favorite rug, chair, or the sofa. Sadly, this leads many owners to declaw their cats. This is a traumatic and painful procedure for the cat; similar to a human having their fingertips taken off.

There are many solutions for avoiding unwanted scratching on furniture and rugs.

Cat scratching posts are an inexpensive alternative. You may need to try different posts to find one they like, but it’s cheaper than declawing and a lot less traumatic for the cat. Even something as simple as a small wood log is pleasing scratching post for a cat. Try sprinkling catnip on the post or use a catnip spray on it and follow-up with a treat when the cat uses the post. It’s surprising how quickly they take to using a scratching post.

  • I’ll bathe myself, thank you

It’s common knowledge, cats don’t like swimming or getting wet. It’s speculated that after domestication around 5,000 years ago, their human companions gave them protection from rain and snow.

Jonas Jurgella, the Ph.D. animal researcher specializing in human-to-animal communications, believes a cat’s hair takes a long time to dry, making soaking wet fur uncomfortable for them.

Jurgella told Life’s Little Mysteries, “I also think because cats are control freaks and like [to have] four feet on a solid surface, they do not appreciate the sensation of floating.”

Cats are naturals to grooming and capable and willing to do so. They have the essential tools needed for grooming; paws, a tongue that is rough and barbed, and saliva.

While cats hate going for a swim, they need a ready supply of drinking water. This is especially true when dry cat food is a large part of their diet. Adding canned food to their diet, which has 78 percent water, helps keep them hydrated. Regardless of the food they eat, always keep a separate bowl of water for your cat, and change the water daily.

  • Don’t answer with your own meow

Cats have a vocabulary consisting of a more than 20 different meows, with each one having a different meaning. Meowing is how kittens and their mothers communicate while meowing in adult cats is a way of communicating with humans. When talking to other cats, they use a variety of sounds, including squeals, hisses, and growls. Experienced cat owners know the difference between a scared or hurt meow, a hunger meow, or a “someone’s in my territory” meow.

Even though cats understand certain human words, they don’t understand if you meow back at them. While your cat recognizes your voice, meowing back to them sounds like you are talking gibberish.