Signals your cat is giving you and their meanings

Cats are the most popular of all house pets, with roughly a third of American households having at least one feline member. If yours is among them, you know that cats are very particular creatures. They do what they want, when they want. Unlike dogs, cat language isn't the most straightforward. They don't wag their tails when they're happy or bark at the mailman to show territorial behavior. Nevertheless, they have their own ways of letting us know how they're feeling.

If you've observed any of the following, here is what your cat is trying to tell you.

1. Lying on its back

Happiest cat you will ever see

When a cat lies on its back exposing its belly, this is a sign of trust and comfort. Your cat is confident and relaxed in your presence and can allow itself to be vulnerable. 

2. Bringing gifts home

My cat and the mouse he caught.

If your cat is allowed access outdoors, you've probably been on the receiving end of a feathered or furry offering at some point. This is a gesture of thanks and shows great affection.

3. A nudge with the head or nose

Jess & Jesse

When your cat puts its face near yours and gives you a nudge with its nose or a gentle headbutt, this is a form of greeting which shows affection and friendship. 

4. It follows you

After a long day of classes, teaching, and research, it is good to know that someone small and fuzzy likes having me back home.

This may seem self-explanatory, but when your cat constantly wants to be in your presence — be it sitting on your keyboard as you attempt to type or jumping into your lap as soon as you sit down — it simply wants your company. Despite their reputation for aloofness, cats are social creatures and live in groups in the wild, so this is a sign you are very much part of your cat's "pride."

5. Chewing on your finger

In honor of my 2nd cake day with Imgur, here is a cat nibbling a finger.

Cats are carnivores and therefore have very strong jaws and sharp teeth. They have the wherewithal to do quite a bit of damage if they decide to use these weapons against you. So when a cat gently nibbles on your hand or finger without leaving a single scratch, then your cat is showing that it appreciates you and is happy. It is also proof that your cat trusts you. 

6. The milk tread

Massage cat is the best cat

Every kitten does this while nursing — the milk tread. This motion ensures that the mother's teat is stimulated and produces more milk. When your cat turns its milk tread on you, it means that it loves you like its own mother and has a sense of wellbeing with you — just as it did when it was a kitten by its mother's side.

7. Purring

Soft kitty, Warm kitty, Little ball of fur. Happy kitty, Sleepy kitty, Purr, purr, pur-r-r.

When your cat purrs, most of the time it is a sign of contentment. However, research into cat behavior has revealed that purring also has a self-healing and calming effect. Cats can therefore be heard purring in unusual or stressful situations too. 

8. Prolonged eye contact

My brother's cat is insanely cute!

When your cat looks deep into your eyes for an extended period of time, this is a sign of a strong connection between you. Don't try to start it from your side, because if you stare into your cat's eyes and you judge your moment wrong, it can be seen as a challenge. As with humans, eye contact is used by cats to clarify relationships and hierarchies. When you've been accepted and your cat presents you with the gift of prolonged eye contact, you can feel honored that your connection to one another is very strong.

So that's cat communication in a nutshell! Are you an absolute cat lover and already knew all of this? What other mysterious cat behaviors need unravelling?  =' . '=

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