How Do Cats Communicate With Each Other? 4 Amazing Ways Revealed
How do cats communicate with each other? Well, they certainly meow, right? Unsurprisingly, that’s correct. However, meowing is not the only way cats communicate with one another and it's also not the most commonly used feline language.
Feline communication transcends beyond cat vocalizations. Cat language also includes chemical signals, scents, behavior, and feline body language.
Read on to learn more about what your cat is saying (and not saying), and understand more about the dynamics of cat communication.
How Do Cats Communicate With Each Other?
Scent Marking/Chemical Signals
Cats have extraordinary olfactory senses. So, it’s not surprising that their use of scents or chemical cues is the number one way they communicate with each other.
All cats have scent glands on their faces and heads that they can use to rub other cats, humans, or things with to leave a scent. Cats announce to other cats that something is “mine” and they should “leave it alone” when they mark it with their scent.
Cats also mark their territory with scent to let other cats know where it is and to warn them to stay away. The best-case scenario is that your indoor cat chooses to establish its territory by scratching its face because pee spraying, another typical method of scent communication, is less appealing.
Male outdoor cats in particular spray urine to mark their area and alert other males to their presence. Indoor cats can occasionally spray as well. The majority of the time, this occurs when the cat is under stress, such as when a new cat enters the home. The first way a cat lets an intruder know they own the space is by spraying.
With their exceptional sense of smell, it’s possible for lost or displayed cats to find their way home even if they’ve been away for a long time. As mentioned earlier, cats leave their scents to mark their “territory” when they urinate or brush against people, other cats, or objects in their environment. Scent markers make it simpler for them to move throughout their environment and ultimately find their way back home (when they are lost).
There is much more going on than meets the eye when cats brush up against one another. How do cats talk to each other using their tails? A cat's tail, along with the cheekbones, paws, forehead, flanks, and rectum of his body, exudes cat aroma oils and pheromones. Two cats are obviously very fond of one another if you observe them touching noses, bodies, or tails.
Generally speaking, cats exchange scents and use their sense of smell to:
- Identify family members.
- Foster a relationship with other cats
- Build ties or express love
- Begin mating
- Mark their territory
- Comfort themselves
- Communicate aggression
Although cats are frequently heard meowing or purring, they are actually able to use a variety of vocalizations to communicate their emotions in various contexts. For felines, purring is a typical kind of vocalization. We presume cats are content or joyful when they purr.
Cats may engage with other animals, people, or situations by hissing, purring, growling, or howling at varied levels and intensities. Meowing at various pitches, intensities, and volumes reflects the cat's many emotional and physical needs. Loud or intense meowing is a sign of worry and anxiety, while quieter meowing expresses confidence and satisfaction.
Cats occasionally meow to communicate with one another, although this is usually done to attract the attention of their human companions. Your cat may meow if he needs food or if he wants your attention. Feral cats, on the other hand, wouldn't typically meow in the same way that domestic cats would because they are used to hiding from people rather than interacting with them.
Meowing is a way for kittens to let their mother cats know when they are hungry or uncomfortable, but as they age, cats tend to employ other communication techniques more frequently. As mentioned earlier, meowing is really used by adult cats to communicate with people more than they do with other cats.
When they're feeling irritated, how do cats interact with one another? A cat displays fear or rage by growling or hissing at another cat. This often indicates that he perceives the other cat as a danger.
Just before the cat decides to attack, the hissing may intensify into more aggressive vocalizations like snarling, spitting, or yowling if the threat isn't eliminated or keeps approaching. Additionally, when startled or in distress, a cat may hiss, snarl, or growl.
Body Language/Physical Contact
As a cat parent, you should observe your cat’s body language when they are interacting with each other. While this is not the only form nor the most used method of feline communication, it’s nevertheless an important one.
Cats communicate affection, show their trust, demonstrate nervousness or submission, express aggression, and a lot more, with the use of non-verbal cues or body language.
Your Cat’s Tail Movements
- When the tail is straight up, held vertically in the air, when approaching another cat, your cat is signaling friendly intentions.
- Your cat is showing aggression if his tail is held out and moves slowly from side to side.
- In response to the aggression of another cat or some other threat, your cat may blow out and hold up its tail to make itself appear larger.
- Your cat is most likely expressing nervousness or showing submission when he tucks his tail between his back legs.
- Cats may rub their tails together to form a friendship or romantic bond.
Your Cat’s Ears and Eyes
- If your cat's ears are flat and open, and his eyes are dilated or wide open, a battle is ready to break out.
- Your cat is at peace with other cats if his eyes are slightly open or closed and his ears are upright.
- When your cat closes his eyes when he is near another cat, it means he has enough trust in that cat for him to not be on high alert.
Your Cat’s Belly
Cats will occasionally roll onto their backs when interacting with other cats. While this belly-showing move could suggest trust between the two cats and a willingness to be vulnerable, it actually signifies something completely different.
Feral cats expose their bellies to defend themselves. According to experts, cats rolling on their backs is showing aggression. It is a way for them to fight off predators because, from this position, they have full access to their weapons: their claws and teeth.
Cats express their emotions to one another through specific actions. For instance, cats brush and lick one another to show affection and occasionally dominance. Cats also communicate acceptance and love for one another by touching noses and rubbing bodies and heads together. Loving and sociable cats may even join their tails together, just as humans hold hands.
In addition to grooming, cats may sit on other cats to show dominance, chase them off of furniture or out of rooms, or push them away from their food and water. Cats may stalk other cats, swat or attack them, or make hostile vocalizations as signs of fear or anger.
Cats occasionally repeatedly knead soft items or people with their front paws. Both kittens and adults have this instinct, which is probably derived from the motion used to encourage milk release from the mother during breastfeeding.
Kneading may be an old-fashioned juvenile behavior that adult domestic cats still engage in since most preferred “domestic features” are neotenous or juvenile traits that survive in adults. Similar to a human stretch, it might also energize and soothe the cat.
Many cats purr when kneading, which is typically interpreted as an expression of satisfaction and affection. Kneading is frequently a precursor to napping.
The Meaning Behind Your Cat’s Verbal and Non-Verbal Cues
Spend some time observing the interactions among your cats now that you are more aware of what you are seeing. What actions take on new significance and help you better understand the bond between your cats?
Maybe you assumed that your cats were getting along so well because of all the grooming, not because one was picking on the other. Or perhaps you have adopted a new cat and are now aware of the warning signals of dread your existing cat is exhibiting.
Knowing how your cats communicate with one another enables you to spot potential problems before they become serious. Family cats are frequently relinquished to animal shelters because of behavioral issues, thus the sooner any potential issues are identified, the higher the likelihood of resolving them.
Contact your licensed veterinarian if you are worried about how your cats are acting around other cats or even people. Your vet will be able to assess your cat, identify any potential medical issues that might be causing it, and, if necessary, send you to an expert in animal behavior.
It's difficult to communicate, whether it's with cats or people. Even with our gift of speech, humans might have a hard time understanding each other sometimes. Hence, it is even more challenging to decipher what our cats are saying, especially to one another.
However, it can play a significant role in ensuring that our cats lead happy, stress-free lives. Learning how cats interact with one another can strengthen your relationship with your pets and possibly inspire you to come up with new ways of speaking to them.