By Dr. Max Spicer
It’s hard to give your 100% care to your cat when you don’t have any idea of what your feline friend is thinking. There’ll be times you wish you can speak cat just to make sure that he’s doing okay.
But as your relationship with your cat goes stronger, you’ll begin to understand him better. To truly fathom how your pet feels, take note of the following:
1. Understand your cat’s body language
Sometimes, there can be sudden changes in your cat’s behavior which will also cause you to worry. A visit to your trusted pet specialist should confirm whether this sudden change is related to a medical reason or not.
At the same time, it pays to know that the key to recognizing your cat’s emotion lies greatly in his body language. Although they may seem hard to read, vets from a explain that there are tell-tale signs that will make you understand what your pet is thinking.
Angry or afraid
Your feline pet won’t always growl or hiss at you when he’s mad or scared. An angry feline will also stare at you intently with dilated pupils. Notice how the fur on his body will begin to stand and how his tail flicks from side to side in a shape of an upside down “U.” In addition, an angry cat will also have its ears flattened back.
Cats are quite responsive and affectionate animals. To get your attention, your cat will sit and brush up against you while meowing. This craving for attention is normal behavior for a cat so do your pet a favor and show him some TLC.
2. Observe secret pains
Any changes in your cat’s usual behavior may also indicate that he’s in pain or not feeling well. Below are some signs you should look out for:
- Change in appetite (either an increase or decrease)
- Lying or sleeping in a different space
- Change in drinking behavior
- Using a chair or any furniture to jump on the table instead of jumping directly on it
- Changes or weird additions to his litter box
Felines are animals of habit. So if you notice your cat starting to act differently, bring him to a veterinary hospital immediately.
3. Recognize verbal communication
In time, you’ll learn to understand what your cat means when he meows. Primarily, it means that your cat wants you to pay attention because he needs something from you. Your cat may either want attention, food, water or petting. Sometimes, it can be a sign that he doesn’t want you touching him.
After spending some time with your furry friend, you’ll soon be able to understand the difference between his meows. The important thing is that you make time to “listen” every time your cat tries to talk to you.
Another familiar cat vocalization is purring. Although not all cats purr when they’re happy, it’s a good sign when you’re actively petting your kitten. As such, don’t get discouraged if your cat doesn’t purr while you’re petting him.
4. Monitor behavior
Animals show displeasure in different ways and cats are no exception to that. Take the time to observe your cat’s behavior by remembering his usual routine and taking note of infrequent activities such as:
When your cat stops using the litter box to urinate, this can be a major issue for the family. Here are common reasons why a cat may fail to use his litter box:
- Dislike of either the smell or texture
- Difficulty getting into the box due to old age or arthritis
- The box may be dirty and needs some cleaning
- Distractions or sudden noise that may have scared your cat while he was urinating
Most cats scratch because they find it pleasant. They also do this if they want to manicure their claws. Since scratching is quite important to cats, it may be difficult to prevent them from doing so.
The best way to stop your kitten from scratching your furniture or other stuff is to redirect his attention to somewhere else. Give your kitten a scratching post and entice him to use it by perfuming it with catnip and toys.
If you have many cats, expect that they’ll form a hierarchy of some sort. One of your cats may be dominant over the others which may cause behavior and litter box issues. Having a hierarchy between cats is natural. However, make sure that all of them are healthy and happy despite the order.
Take the time to know your cat to understand quickly what he’s feeling. With your attention, care, and the guide above, you’ll have everything you need to understand your pet’s language.
Dr. Max Spicer is the Managing Partner and Senior Veterinary Surgeon at The Veterinary Hospital in Dubai. He has taken strides towards providing comprehensive service by hiring veterinarians that are flexible, approachable, and highly specialised in their respective fields.