How does your cat read you?

How does your cat read you?


Cats, like dogs, respond to visual clues. We know that! People who understand cats get under the skin of their cat. They get into the head of their cat and vice versa. There is communication. It is subtle. It is not conventional but effective nonetheless.

You don’t need to formally train your cat to understand you. It happens over time. Perhaps that is a form of training. I prefer to think of it as your cat getting to know you and your behavior. This allows your cat to read you.

It does depend, though, on how close and involved one is with one’s cat. I have this feeling, although I can’t verify it, that a good sized section of cat caretakers do not really connect with their cat thoroughly enough to receive the maximum pleasure from the relationship.

It could be said that over about 10,000 years of domestication the domestic cat has, today, hardwired programming in his/her DNA that allows him to understand human behavior to a certain extent.

I believe a close relationship with an intimate understanding between cat and person is important to the success of the partnership. So what sort of actions does your cat read in your behavior? Does your cat read you and know what is coming up?

Charlie, my cat:

  • knows when I am about to sit in the armchair. He likes using the armchair too. We share it but he moves off to the top of the backrest when I approach. He knows what I am about to do and accommodates me. I don’t say anything. When I am done, he moves back to the armchair, grooms himself and has a snooze.
  • knows when he can come over to me in bed and snuggle up to me. He can read that because he knows that when I take up a certain position in the bed it is the right time to come. He also knows that he’ll receive some cuddles. I can also read him because I know when he is ready to come to me. This is quite an advanced form of non-vocal communication. It is based on patterns of behavior for sure but it more than that. It is reading your behavior as a form of communication.
  • understands that if he vocalizes in a certain way, I will respond. I will engage in communicating with him. This would seem to be a way of reading my behavior too. He has an understanding of what makes me tick, what gets my attention.

We know that cats can mimic the cry of a baby by modifying their meow slightly. That skill must have come through an understanding of human behavior and knowing what makes us tick. It must have come from observing people parenting their babies and recognizing that the cry gets attention.

The meow has developed as a cat to human form of communication. Adult domestic cats don’t meow to each other.

In conclusion, we should not underestimate the cat’s cognitive abilities. Over the forthcoming millenia, if humankind are still around in the future, the domestic cat will continue to develop skills that makes his relationship with people more effective and beneficial to both parties. Our cats will surprise us.

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How does your cat read you? — 11 Comments

  1. Frankly, I think cats read energy. Vibration. We could be better at it, but we’ve lost it for the most part. A good example is when you think of someone five minutes before they call on the phone. As if the communication started before the dialing.

    Rupert Sheldrake has written books on the subject, mostly about dogs but I think cats are even more in tuned. I see it every day with my cats. His books are a good read.

  2. I think our cats can read us and we can read them, through becoming closer and closer the longer we are together.
    Cats don’t need words to communicate, we know by instinct and a loving close relationship just what they want or are about to do and they know exactly what we are thinking or about to do too.

  3. I agree with all that has been said. [Funny, I hadn’t read Rupert Sheldrake’s work in many years. His is fascinating.] My two oldest cats, Luck and Shrimp, know me so intimately and so well, that they only have to catch my eye and we bond instantly to seeing to each other’s needs. They know that they don’t have to meow or jump on me to get my attention. Eye contact is key. I spose this is counter-intuitive for a cat, but that just shows how intelligent and sensitive they are, doesn’t it.

    When they catch my eye, esp. Shrimpster, they know that I will get up, maitaining eye contact, slowly closing my eyes and opening them with my mouth turned up at the corners, waiting for a further clue. We have conversed this way since their coming into my life. It works very well and because we are all pretty much on high alert at all time, even when sleeping 😉 we don’t need to say much. Just eyes, different expressions with our eyes, and slowing closing, opening to acknowledge the request. I don’t really know how to describe it, as I never have. till now. It works. |) 🙂

  4. Our cats seem to know exactly what we are thinking and feeling. I must agree with both Dorothy and Ruth here- cats are extremely sensitive to energy. In fact, they seem to use their kitty ESP to know precisely what I am planning. The cats, on the other hand are very easy to read. I could go on and on, and will talk more about this at another time- but you can bet your bottom dollar that I know precisely what they are telling me.

      • “energy”, meaning our aura- which encircles our beingness. The only way I can explain it is to compare it to electricity.. hope that makes it more clear. Now off I go to cuddle with my very “energy” soothing kitties.

  5. Some of my cats are more intuitive than others.
    I have 2 cats that anticipate my moves. They know what I am about to do. They know what pleases and displeases me. They know me because they observe. They are just joined at the hip with me – can’t shake them.
    The interesting thing is that that are my 2 black cats. Are black cats more intuitive and intertwined with their person?

  6. Molly and Lilly both brush against me when they want something – Molly isd particularly quiet – she’s all moves, no talk. Lilly talks a bit. Gigi knows very well how to get my attention. In the same way as with Charlie and Michael – she will just talk at me and she knows I’ll always respond. Sometimes she has to say a few words to get me moving if she needs something. I love it when she talks – I pretty much always notice and reply.

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