Dogs may be known as man’s best friend, but they have some close competition. As anyone who owns one can tell you, a cat can be just as loyal and loving as any other animal, albeit in their own unique way. One thing that cats aren’t, however, is easy to understand.
Anyone who has ever stared baffled at a blank-faced cat in wonder knows what we mean. They might not be outwardly expressive, but they’re definitely trying to communicate with you. In fact, you’ll want to be on the lookout for these specific ways that your pet tries to get your attention.
1. Cats can be pretty aloof, so there’s nothing unusual about your pet lounging alone and surveying the entire room. But if your pal looks at you and starts slowly blinking, he’s giving you an important message.
Slow blinking is a sign of comfort and love. It’s a signal that cats use to tell each other everything is OK, so, if you see it, your buddy is feeling pretty good. There are some other ways they communicate, too…
2. We’re all familiar with purring, which is another classic signal that your cat is feeling content. Still, there’s something deeper going on when they start revving their engines — a message that you might not be aware of .
Cats don’t purr to communicate with other cats; they only do it for humans. That means your pet is specifically telling you how happy they are. You should also be on the lookout for these other sounds.
3. Beyond purrs and meows, your cat might occasionally make a high-pitched gurgling sound. It can sound pretty alarming if you aren’t expecting it, but don’t be afraid; it’s just another way of trying to tell you something.
Cats gurgle when they’re feeling upbeat and social, so the sound is a positive sign. Your pet is just trying to chill out and have a friendly chat. Another way of communicating can get a bit violent, however.
4. Have you ever been minding your own business when your cat runs over and headbutts you? Seems pretty rude, right? Heck if a human tried that it would be time to call the cops! But there’s a deeper meaning to that strange gesture when cats do it.
Cats use scent glands in their head to mark their territory, meaning a headbutt is actually quite affectionate. Your pet is telling other cats that you are her person! Daaww, how sweet is that? Now moving on to biting…
5. Cats are predators, which means they have some pretty sharp teeth. So when they turn those fangs on you, it has to mean something bad is going on, right? Like maybe they are really unhappy with the new dry food you’ve been dishing out?
While an aggressive bite is obviously a negative sign, gentle nibbles are a demonstration of love. Your cat is just telling you that he appreciates your presence; after all, he’s choosing to bite you playfully instead of forcefully.
6. After biting, the obvious place to go is licking. If the former is a playful mark of endearment, what is your kitty trying to say with her scratchy tongue rather than her teeth?
Have you ever seen apes grooming their relatives? Well that’s what’s happening when your cat tries to clean up your hand or hair! She’s identified you as part of the family and wants to help take care of you.
7. If you ever see your cat flopped on the floor with his belly facing up, he’s not just being lazy. In fact, there’s a deeper significance to the pose that you might not realize…
South Boston Animal Hospital
The phrase “soft underbelly” is grounded in reality; an animal’s stomach is a weak point that they try to protect. If your cat lets you touch that sensitive area, that means he trusts you completely.
8. You probably know not to touch your cat’s tail, but did you know he’s using it to communicate? A bushy tail, for example, is a sign of distress, while a waving tail has another meaning.
Cats really don’t wag their tail, but they do flick it back and forth to show happiness. If your furry friend is feeling especially affectionate, they’ll even curl their tail around you like a hug.
9. Have you ever woken up to find your cat has left a dead mouse or her favorite toy on your bed? It’s like a scene from The Godfather (only minus the mob activity). These “presents” aren’t the type of gift you might think, though.
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While your cat isn’t giving you a gift out of appreciation, the gesture is still a mark of trust. Cats bring their prey back home so they can eat it safely; leaving it near you means that you’re someone who won’t steal their stuff.
10. Cats might not be interested in going for walks and playing fetch, but they have been known to follow their owners around. But do they do it for the same reason as dogs?
No matter the species, physical proximity is a show of affection. If your independent cat is always near you, especially when there’s food available in another room, he really loves you.
11. Whether you call it kneading, making biscuits, or anything else, most cat owners have felt this one. When a cat presses her paws into you, they’re trying to tell you something major about your relationship…
As kittens, cats use a similar gesture to tell their mother they need some milk. By doing it to you, your cat is settling down for safe and comfortable nap like they would with mom. And now that you can speak cat, how about a refresher course on dogs?
1. While your dog might be a part of the family, it actually hates when you try to communicate with words alone. Use body language that matches your verbal tone to ensure clear communication.
2. It might be tempting, but don’t pat or kiss your pup’s face. What seems affectionate to you could seem like an attack to them. And that’s not all dogs might find aggressive.
3. Dogs view direct eye contact as a challenge for pack dominance. It’s just like talking to a new person; glancing at their face is great, but uncomfortable staring is probably not going to make a good impression.
4. Whether you’re a human or a dog, making friends can be tough. Avoid trying to match-make for your pal, though. Dogs won’t naturally gel with everyone, so don’t try to force puppy friendships that aren’t working. But there is someone your dog DOES want to meet.
5. When you have company over, don’t automatically lock your pupper away in a different room. It’s best to let your dog get a chance to know your friends and family. Still, give him a safe place to hide if things get too stressful.
Missouri Department of Corrections
6. If you’re taking a walk, pulling too tightly on your dog’s leash not only hurts, but frustrates them. While safety comes first, try to give your furry buddy as much room to explore as possible. There’s somewhere else dogs want freedom, too.
7. Would you like to be rushed using the bathroom? Well neither would your dog. Try to let him take his time and explore a little bit to make the experience as stress-free as possible.
8. As hard as it might be, try to check your anxiety at the door before interacting with your dog. Believe it or not, she can pick up on your vibes, and they’ll stress her out, too. As if you needed another reason to relax!
9. Speaking of relaxing, dogs hate boredom. Make sure there are plenty toys, treats, and opportunities to explore. Just try not to go overboard — there’s a limit.
10. At the other end of the spectrum, don’t overwhelm your dog either. Too many changes at once can actually make him more uncomfortable instead of excited. So, what’s the best course of action?
11. As with most things, moderation and routine is key! If you guys eat dinner at the same time every day, try to stick keep to that time frame. But there’s one thing they don’t want to have scheduled…
12. It’s cliche, but dogs hate baths. Try to make them as fun and interactive as possible, and avoid forcing your furry friend into the tub unless it’s really necessary.
13. While your dog may seem pretty independent, try not to leave her home alone for longer than necessary. She really will miss you and feel sad if you’re away for too long. There are some sounds that a dog hates more than the silence of an empty house, though.
14. Fireworks are fun for humans, but they’re a nightmare for dogs. If the Fourth of July is coming up, try to stay with your pal and make sure he’s feeling comfortable.
15. Similarly, vacuums drive pets up the wall. Try taking your dog into a different room or letting him spend some time outside. It’ll be a happier experience for both of you.
16. If you have to put your pal into a crate, make sure it’s not too cramped. Being stuck in tight spaces can physically hurt a dog, in addition to stressing them out. But one place is always going to be anxiety-inducing.
17. No one likes the doctor, so it’s not surprising that dogs hate the vet. Try to figure out what makes your pupper comfortable — whether it’s a special chew toy or scratching behind his ears — and keep as calm as possible. You’ll get through it together.
18. On the subject of health, definitely don’t brush your canine companion’s teeth; they hate having their face and mouth touched. If you’re really concerned about their oral hygiene, use dental sticks rather than a toothbrush.
19. Make sure children are respectful of the dog! Even the kindest pup can’t stand being poked at and treated like a tiny horse.
20. Blankets might seem cozy to humans, but don’t put them on top of a dog! The pressure actually makes them feel trapped rather than safe. Similarly, some other human habits can actually harm your dog.
21. We’ve all fed our dog some table scraps, but make sure to be careful what human food you’re dishing out. Plenty of common fruits and vegetables ranging from onions to grapes can cause a pet serious problems.
Basically, the Golden Rule applies to both people and dogs! Treat your pal with love and respect and everything else will take care of itself.