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How To Speak Fluent Cat

Updated on October 31, 2011

Catspeak For Beginners

Often, when learning a new language, the lesson plan begins with popular foods and how to order them. This is also true of catspeak. Your cat's views on food may be among the first thoughts they try to express.

When your cat is sitting in front of an empty food bowl meowing at you, it's fairly simple to translate their thoughts. But what if the bowl is not empty? There are a few answers to this question. Cats are creatures of habit, and if you have recently changed to a different flavor, or brand of food, they may protest. I have found that the best way to make a change in food is to mix increasing amounts of the new food into the old. It may take a week or two to make the transition, but there are fewer protests along the way.

Is the food fresh? You may be tempted to take advantage of the value of a twenty pound bag of dry food, but unless you have several cats, you may be throwing away a lot of food. You probably wouldn't think of eating something that has been sitting around for a month or two, and the same is likely true of your cat.

Cats prefer their food to be at room temperature. If you are using canned food, it's fine to keep the unused portion in the refrigerator, but you should warm it a bit before serving.

Cats Have Expressive Eyes
Cats Have Expressive Eyes

Windows To The Soul

A cat's eyes often seem cold, or analytical. With some breeds, they seem to look straight through you. But if you know what to look for, their eyes are very expressive. Cats speak to each other, and to us with various eye movements. If, for example, your cat enters a room and gives you a couple of quick blinks, it is a friendly greeting. He just saying "HI". If he looks at you and gives you a slow blink, this is generally regarded as a sign of affection. Try blinking at your feline, and he may surprise you with a response. When I first read about this, I thought it was crazy. The first time I got a response, I thought it was a coincidence. The second time it happened, it gave me a little chill to think that I had actually expressed a thought in Cattish. I still give her a slow blink from time to time, and she usually responds. I also return her "hello" blinks.

Once I learned this secret, my cat became much more responsive. She even comes to me when I call her. If you have lived with cats, you know that is not typical. If you don't know this trick, you may consider yourself lucky to get a disinterested glance.

Cats' Body Language

As with people, you can tell a lot about what animals are thinking through body language. The classic arched back, puffy tail stance is one that everybody knows.But what else can we learn by watching our cats' body language?

Take note of your cat's ears in different situations. They can tell you much. If their ears are pointed forward, they are very interested in what is happening. If, on the other hand, they are pulled back, or down, they are disinterested, annoyed or angry, depending on the situation. The ears back posture is thought to be the equivalent of a frown in humans.

Kneading is a sure sign of a content cat. Also called milking, this is how kittens coax milk from their mother. This behavior is continued into adulthood to indicate happiness. You may find them kneading your arm or leg, or their favorite sleeping spot. Researchers also believe this brings great pleasure to the cat.

Head rubbing = love. Cats have scent glands on their cheeks. If yours is rubbing his head or face on you, it is a sign of affection. It also serves to mark you as his property.

Other affectionate gestures. Licking is a form of grooming that cats often share with their companions. Gentle, playful bites are also signs of affection. Purring can be a sign that they are enjoying your company, but not always. More on this, later.

The Tell-Tale Tail

As with dogs, a cat's tail can express many moods. Curling of the tail, similar to a question mark, may mean that he is happy to see you. Flicking or swishing the tail usually shows annoyance. For my own cat, gently swishing just the end of her tail means she's a happy cat. Walking with her tail up, and swishing means she's happy and confident, while walking with her tail down means "Leave me alone".

Cat Showing Submission
Cat Showing Submission

Sunny Side Up!

When cats flop on their backs, they are not inviting you to rub their belly. Although they may enjoy a nice belly rub, the message they are conveying is submission. They don't submit easily, or because they think they have to. If they choose to submit in this fashion, it is the ultimate sign of trust! You can be content in the knowledge that they have accepted you as their master and companion. It says that they are completely relaxed in your presence.

Cat Vocalizing
Cat Vocalizing

Vocalizing In Cats

It is thought that cats communicate verbally with us, and each other. There are even websites that try to explain the meanings of various vocalizations. Having owned several cats, I believe this to be true, but I tend to think they develop their own language, specific to the people and animals with whom they live and interact.

If you ask a cat if he's hungry, and then feed him, he may not recognize the real world meaning of the words, but he will eventually come to associate them with food. He may answer vocally, or simply go to the food dish and wait for you.

My cat is very familiar with the word "up". Using it as a one word question usually results in a meow, after which she stands up and waits for someone to lift her into their lap.

The silent meow. One thing that seems common to many cats is the silent meow. Usually this is an expression of affection or gratitude.

Purring may not mean what you think. Purring has been found to mean different things, depending on the situation. Basically, purring shows extremes of emotions. It can mean happiness, annoyance, fear, or that your cat is feeling ill.

Sudden Changes In Cat Behavior

Cats will always let you know when something is wrong. If you pay attention, you can usually gauge your cat's mood by subtle behavior changes. Watch out for drastic changes, though. A sudden, dramatic change in behavior could indicate a health problem.

Create Your Own Catspeak Dialect

Once you realize that your kitty is trying to talk to you, you can learn a lot by simply watching and listening. If you respond with actions or words (or sounds), eventually you will have some form of understanding between you. You will have created your own personal dialect of Catspeak. You may not engage in long, philosophical discussions, but you will know the mood, feeling or desire she is trying to get across. And, perhaps, your cat will be appreciative that you have decided to elevate yourself to her level by learning the language.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      sandip god marmdo

    • Dahlia Flower profile image

      Dahlia Flower 

      6 years ago from Canada

      I enjoyed this. I knew most of it, but not all, that's for sure. Great info.

      Voting up, useful and awesome.

    • profile image

      Fenesi Peter 

      6 years ago

      A simple grammar and dictionary of the cat language

      The cat language is very similar to the human language. Cats just like people use words with a definite meaning. They form sentences with words. Cats speak expecially much with their offspring, this means that a part of their education happens verbally. As I realised the meaning of some words and started to use them, my cats got more chatty.

      Cats use these vowels:

      á –(a) like in the word “what“

      á: - (a:) like in the word “last“

      e – (æ)] like in the word “bed“, “cat” , cats do not use long (æ)

      é – (e) like in the word “get” , “ generation“

      é: – this is a vocal similar to the previous, just longer

      i – (i) like in the word “ship“, cats do not use long (i)

      o – (o) like in the word “hot”, “box“, cats do not use long (o)

      ö – (ə) like in the word “third“, cats do not use long (ə)

      u – (u) like in the word “wood” , “took“

      u: - (u:) like in the word “fool“

      Cats use these consonants: b, h, j, m, ny, r, v.

      b - like in the word “bird”

      h - like in the word “hot”

      j – like a first note in the word “young”

      m - like in the word “man”

      ny - like in word “new”

      r - like in the word “red”

      v - like in the word “vein”

      Cats use two long consonants: r: and m:.

      The b and h consonants are rare, but there.

      The speed at which they are spoken, and whether they’re repeated or not, has an effect on the meaning of the words.

      A short dictionary:

      á: (a:) - an invitation to play

      á é é (a e e) (staccato) – I want to go out

      á é u, á á u (a e u, a au) (staccato) – I want to come in, come in

      áu (au) – a protest, an expression of dislike

      áe (aæ) – thanks

      é (e) – yes

      éé (ee) – I want to go out

      éá (ea) – greeting, hello

      éá á (ea a) – rejection of friendship

      éá:r (ea:r)– expression of friendship, flattery

      éu (eu) – I don’t want to go out

      éáu (eau) – I’d like to come in

      hmé: (hme:) - threatening with attack

      ié (ie)– I want out (strong demand)

      iju, iju: (iyu, iyu:) - help, mother

      já: (ya:) - yes

      má: (ma:) - I love you, love me

      máá (maa) – milk

      má é (ma e) – let me be

      má:r (ma:r) – flattery

      máu: (mau:) - call for help, cry out

      meé (mæe) – water, thirst

      me á é (mæ a e) – lack of water, asking for water

      meéeé (mæeæe) – dry catfood

      meme (mæmæ) (spoken fast) – sparrow, bird

      meö (mæə) – meat, meaty food

      mrá: (mra:) - come here

      mráá: (mraa:) - protect me

      miá (mia) - expression of content, expression of satisfaction

      mijáu, mijáo, mijáou (miyau, miyao, miyaou) – expression of hunger, demanding food

      mou: (mou:) - offering food, spoken hoarsely: boasting about a killed bird

      mre (mræ) – call to attention

      mrué (mrue) – follow me

      mué (mue) – come

      muer (muær) – what’s going on with you?

      murá (mura) – fish

      nyá, nyá: (nya, nya: ) – I’m here, listen to me

      nyáé: á (nyae: a) – eat!

      nyáu (nyau) – jealousy, expression of discontent

      nyáu nyáu nyáu (spoken fast) – don’t come near my food

      öe (əæ) – what are you doing? How are you?

      öráu (ərau) – please come

      rá:b (ra:b) – mother cat calls for her kittens

      r:eö (r:æə) – kitten calls for it’s mother

      rmá:, r:má: (rma:, r:ma: ) - don’t be afraid, everything’s OK

      rmeö (rmæə) – mouse

      rnyáo (rnyao) – dog, danger

      rvá (rva) – accusation, blame

      uá, uá: (ua, ua:) - stop it, you can’t do that, I do not like it

      u:m: (u:m:) (with closed mouth) – threathening, less threathening as a growl

      váo, váo-váo (vao, vao-vao) - no, I don’t want that

      é: (e:) - out, outside

      u: - inside

      The meaning of some words might seem the same, but we can assume that there are nuances in their meaning. Their precise meaning is still to be discovered.

      I use these words to communicate with my cats. They understand these, so they assume that I can understand their language. Because of this they often start speaking in long complicated sentences. When they notice that I don’t understand them they’re disappointed.

      It’s hard to understand long sentences, because when they use them they stand still, so I can’t guess it’s meaning.

      My tomcat is called Iju. When he want’s to come in he sais Iju á á u – Iju want’s to come in. This is a sentence of two words.

      As Titi (my other cat) comes home and sees that the others already got food. She sais: Nyáu nyá – Since the others got food I want some too.

      I hope that during a longer observation there will be situations that will allow me to uncover more of the cat language. It’s amasing how open and chatty cats become once you start talking to them in their language. Try it. If you uncover/discover the meaning of new words or phrases, please write me. This is the fastest way to complete the dictionary.

      My cat dictionary already came out in 2002, as a part of my book „A probable story about Jack and Jill “. Since then I have expanded my cat dictionary and I have been spreading it among my friends. If you can please spread it among your friends too, so that you might help get cats and their owners closer together. This will make both your friends and their cats more happy. It’s worth it.

      Peter Fenesi mobile: 381642447252

    • clearlyopaque profile image


      6 years ago

      I love this, because it is all very true, my cat is one of the most expressive beings I know. I think people who aren't used to cats should read this too - I don't know how many times someone has said to me "I don't like cats, I think it's because I don't know how to read them."

    • shea duane profile image

      shea duane 

      6 years ago from new jersey

      I love this hub. My cats and I have conversations all the time. My son always say, 'What did he say?' lol

      Great hub!

    • rmr profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Livonia, MI

      Thanks, everyone, for reading and taking the time to comment!

      @livelonger, that's an hilarious graphic, and very true! I'm allergic to cats, too, but they seem to keep finding me. Our latest is a feral cat that our daughter found when he was just 8 weeks old.

    • KaisMom profile image


      6 years ago from Keizer, Oregon

      Great hub. It's amazing what animals will tell you if you watch and listen.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      This is great. I'm allergic to cats (very), but I still love their personalities. I don't know if you've seen this funny infographic, but it's appropriate here:

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 

      6 years ago from Winnipeg

      Great hub, even though my cats all have very different personalities, the things you have noted do apply to them all. I have heard different things about purring, generally it means your cat feels important, but I think your take on various emotions are probably closer to the truth. Thanks for the info!

    • arksys profile image


      6 years ago from Adelaide, Australia

      nice hub ... the eye blinking method i've used since i was a kid and it works on a number of animals, and can be a good ice-breaker with new ones.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 

      6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      What a great hub! I have three cats and we have vivid conversations regularly... The hub it well written and full of details. Impressive! Voted up and sharing

    • adamgt07 profile image

      Adam Garfield-Turner 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      well written


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