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Cat Communication

Cats can be pretty cool characters—as a result, it’s not always easy to tell what they’re thinking or feeling. One of the main ways cats communicate, though, is through vocalizations. If you’d like a little insight into what your feline friend might be saying, read on.

The Meow

Perhaps the most famous cat vocalization of them all, the meow is of particular interest because it is used almost exclusively to communicate to humans or other species of animals. Very rarely do cats use the meow to communicate amongst themselves! Cats may meow at their owners to indicate hunger, a desire for attention, or many other things. As you get to know your cat better and better, you’ll be able to more easily figure out exactly what their meowing means.

The Purr

Cats may begin purring when they’re only a few hours old, and usually continue to do so throughout their adult lives. It’s a common misconception that purring only indicates contentment or happiness—while the purr certainly can signify these positive feelings, many experts agree that cats also use purring to express stress, anxiety, anger, fear, and even pain! If you think your cat’s purring may indicate a problem, don’t hesitate to ask your Wake Forest, NC vet for a professional opinion.

The Hiss

Cats hiss when they’re feeling threatened; it’s a cat’s way of letting a perceived threat know that they’re ready to defend themselves. Often, a hiss will be accompanied by a puffed up, straightened tail and widened eyes, which help a cat to appear bigger and scarier.

The Shriek

A shriek sound isn’t a normal cat sound—if you hear your feline friend let out a shriek, they’ve most likely been startled by something or are in pain. You may hear a shriek after accidentally stepping on a cat’s tail or paw. Be sure to check your cat for injury, and take appropriate action if anything is wrong. Otherwise, talk soothingly to your pet until he or she has calmed down.

The Growl

We typically associate growling with dogs, but the truth is that cats are quite capable of a growl-like vocalization, too. A long, long-pitched noise, a cat’s growl is used to ward off what they perceive as an impending threat.

Would you like more insight into your cat’s communication methods, vocalizations, and body language? Give your Wake Forest, NC veterinarian’s office a call today!

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