Deciphering what your cat is telling you - Understanding cat language


The cat is an independent animal, intrepid and much less docile than the dog, many find it difficult to pin it down. These little furballs remain a mystery to many.

However, if you pay a little attention to details like your cat's posture, facial expressions and the sounds it makes, you will find it much less mysterious than it seems. , and you will understand it better.

To allow you to be even more in harmony with your little furball, this article gives you all the secrets to decipher from A to Z what your furball is telling you.

What does the cat with its tail mean?

If you observe your cat closely, you will distinguish 7 different attitudes that the cat indicates to you with its tail. These 7 positions represent the mood and state of mind of the cat at that moment: neutral, friendly (or happy), play (excitement), nervousness / annoyance, fear / threat, offensive threat and finally defensive threat.

  • When your cat's tail is drooping and nonchalant, it means he's in a neutral mood.
  • A tail well erected vertically and a little broken on the back, like a question mark means that kitty is happy, friendly and / or curious.
  • When kitty is excited and playing, his tail is bristling and turned towards his back, forming a U.
  • If on the other hand your little feline has a drooping tail but which swings from left to right more or less strongly, it means that the tom is more or less annoyed or nervous.
  • If your little furball is scared or in threat mode, you will see its tail erect upright, with the coat spiky.
  • On the other hand, if you see the kitty tail bristling but turned backwards, know that it is in threat mode and is about to attack.
  • Finally, if its tail is bristling and turned towards the hind legs, it means that the tomcat is scared and is in recoil mode.

What does the cat mean with its head?

The main signs of communication seen on the cat's head are mainly on its eyes and ears.


A cat's pupil dilation says a lot about its mood and state of mind. Indeed, when he is very excited or alert, his pupils are greatly dilated. When in stealth mode or hunting mode, his pupils are fine. Finally, if the pupil dilation of your little hairball is between very dilated and fine, it means that it is probably in a neutral state.

However, also know that the light has a strong impact on the dilation of the pupils of the kitty. The more light there is, the finer its pupils will be.

The ears

When the cat is neutral or friendly, its ears are straight and turned forward. If he's annoyed, edgy, and in offensive mode, you'll see his ears rather flattened to the side, like horns. They are flattened and tilted backwards, which means that kitty is scared and / or is in a defensive position.

What does the cat mean with its noises?

To communicate with you or his fellows, or when he finds himself in a particular situation, your cat makes certain sounds. The sounds of your tomcat can be classified into 5 main categories: meowing, hissing / growling / growling, howling, cackling and finally purring, but you can find other cat noises here.


This is the main tool used by kitty to communicate with humans. They can express a request, a complaint, a pain, a boredom, a simple hello or a mark of affection. However, note that contrary to popular belief, although it is not very common, cats also meow to communicate with each other, sort of calls.

The growls, grunts and growls

if you hear your little feline hiss, growl or rumble, know that it is upset and sends a clear warning saying he wants to be left alone. If the message is ignored, he can go on the attack, to defend himself.


You will usually hear your cat howling when in pain, when struggling, or when in the middle of a fight.



This sound like rapid chattering of teeth is usually made by your little feline when stressed or frustrated. For example if he is locked in the house and observes through the window a lot of things that he would like to touch outside (birds, butterflies, grass,…).


Purring in cats is the soft noise accompanied by slight vibration that your cat makes when he is particularly happy, in a situation of well-being, for example when he is enjoying a dish that he likes very much. However, purring can also sometimes express a feeling of pain or suffering.

Coo, Tweets or trills

The cooing that is also called chirping or trilling used to communicate with others, cat or human or other animals. A cat coo can mean several things:

  • Your cat is trying to greet you.
  • He appreciates your attention.
  • And many other pleasant situations for the cat.

Either way, cooing is a positive sign.

Other signs and gestures

There are many other signs and gestures showing the feelings and emotions of your cat at a given moment, there is of course the cat licking but also the fact of lying on the back, rubbing against you, yawn, throw objects in front of him on the ground and many others which allows him toexpress his happiness. In any case, know that to accurately decipher what your cat is telling you, you should not focus on just one of these signals independently of the others, but rather observe them in their entirety.

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