Communicating With Your Cat?

A cat looking up and meowing.
Cats use a mixture of body language and vocalization to communicate. Learning to interpret what your cat's language and responding appropriately can be an important part of training and can make for a deeper friendship with your feline pal. This is a page about communicating with your cat.

2 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

Silver Post Medal for All Time! 398 Posts
February 4, 2009

I have noticed when I ask my dogs, I have 4, if they want a treat, they usually shake their heads really fast. I have wondered if anyone else out there has noticed their animals doing this in this way, or is it just our dogs? It is always when they want to go outside or get a treat or if they have been good when they answer my questions this way. It is really funny. Does anyone else have any experiences with animal communication?

Robyn from Tennessee


By Jan (Guest Post)
February 5, 20090 found this helpful

We had a black cocker mix, that could get what ever she wanted. She could read us like a book. You could ask her if she wanted to go along and she would run to the garage. If she wanted to go out, she would stare at you until you looked at her and asked what she wanted. She would go to the door. If you asked her if she wanted a treat she would start barking until you gave her one.


She knew all the chore routes on the farm and if you headed for the shed where the John Deere gator was she was the first one on the seat. She was the smartest dog we ever had, she was 13 and she got a tumor in her nose and we had to put her down in Sept.We still miss her.She was every ones friend.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
February 5, 20090 found this helpful

I had a poodle once that all you had to do, even if she was asleep, is ask, "Do you want a treat?" and she would go nuts ;-) She would run straight for the kitchen and then dance on her hind legs til you gave it to her :-)

My kitty, Rachel, gets all excited when I ask if she's ready for din din and runs for the kitchen, too :-)

I think our animals just get used to a certain phrase/command from the tone of our voice and know what we mean because of repeated association :-)


I'll bet you get huge smiles from your babies shaking their heads when you ask them :-) So cute !!!

By IdaGirl (Guest Post)
February 5, 20090 found this helpful

My Black Lab knows the word "treat" and runs & sits in front of the treat jar. She knows when it's breakfast and dinner time and will remind me if I'm not paying attention. If she wants something, she will look at me, look at the toy, look outside, whatever it may be, then look at me again, repeat. Pretty funny to watch. They absolutely learn certain words (walk, treat, nite-nite, etc.) and the tone of voice.

February 5, 20090 found this helpful

Awwww, your babies are so cute all snuggled up together! Both of my kitties get all excited when I ask if they want to get pretty-the Tabby starts meowing excitedly, waiting for his turn to brush himself, and his little plump British Blue sister squeaks excitedly and flops over onto the ground in anticipation.

By Tonia (Guest Post)
February 6, 20090 found this helpful

My cat Max will scratch at the door when he wants out and when he wants in. If he is hungry he will circle my legs and meow at me. And last night there was a pillow where he usually sleeps and he sat beside it and made a huffing noise (the whole time staring at me) until I moved the pillow.


He immediately laid down and went to sleep. Animals communicate if you pay attention. I'm glad you do and your picture is so adorable, your dogs are beautiful and lucky to have someone like you who listens to them!

By Carol in PA (Guest Post)
February 6, 20090 found this helpful

I have always believed animals should be treated with respect. I have always been interested in communication with my pets. I have mostly had cats, but once owned a golden retriever.

My 14 yr old cat and I communicate very well. She understands almost all of what I say. She knows at least 100 words. My son and I have to spell words at times. The other day I was talking to my son about whether or not he felt the sun was going to come out that day. She went to the French door and looked up at the sky. (rofl) I believe she knows what the sun is because I talk to her about it and whether or not it is shining on the deck. But I didnt know she understood it was in the sky. (rofl) I sometimes say, "look the sun is shining on Kitty's blanket." But that is inside the house. She is a pill!


I believe animals communicate with each other by posturing and therefore use body language to communicate with us as well. So its important to "listen" to how they use their bodies when they "talk" to you. That said, my son who is an adult, claims to recognize different meows my cat uses. She has some that are one syllable and others that are two syllables. He claims there are like 10 different ones. Two "words" that she uses a lot are "tuna" and "mommy."

I have read that a cat has the mentality of a two year old. I believe my cat to be smarter than most two year olds, but of course she is an adult cat. (lol) If you think about it, toddlers are pretty smart.

I hope you dont consider me too much of a kook, but your question made me realize that I might not be the only person who communicates with her animal.

February 6, 20090 found this helpful

Our pets are so wonderful! I have a 12 year old cockatiel and he does communicate with me. When I get something to eat, he says "give me a bite". He will go stand by the kitchen faucet and say "give me a drink".


Of course, he always says "give me a kiss". His vocabulary is very good. He knows just about everything I say to him. It is surprising how much they can learn. Enjoy your pets.


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 407 Feedbacks
February 6, 20090 found this helpful

Thank God, I thought it was just me! My cats follow me like my shadow. I can tell them that I'm going into the bedroom to fold clothes and they get there before I do. I can also call them to me if I make meowing sounds. They get very close to my face when I do that. It's entertaining as well as a bit mysterious. I mean, what am I saying to them exactly?

February 6, 20090 found this helpful

I find that this head shake is used by both my dogs and the parrot when I direct questions towards them. To my mind it means a big YES. Then again, they are usually up to anything I suggest.

We have to mind their posturing and use it back at them. It can get crowded with two German Shepherds that block and herd you around the house, preferably to stay in the kitchen.


Diamond Feedback Medal for All Time! 1,394 Feedbacks
February 6, 20090 found this helpful

I'm also a "pets communicate with us" kook, lol!
My hubby says (and I tend to agree) our three dogs of various breeds communicate very clearly. Tonight, for example, Caesar (our English Mastiff) smacked his lips for several minutes while hubby and I were enjoying our dinner. I knew he was saying, "That sure smells good. How about sending some of that my way while the others aren't looking?"
Dogs in general tend to use three ways of expressing happiness:
1. The head shake. I get the feeling that's a teasing, "I'm being silly" or "I'm so clever" kind of thing with our three.
2. The Sneeze. Our mixed breed, Tigger, especially uses this. Our American Pit Bull Terrier, Princess, can have Tigger (our rescue mutt) pinned to the floor, chewing on his leg, and Tigger whines and sneezes. "Ow, that hurts, don't stop!" lol!
3. The Yawn. I get the sense this is more a contented kind of happiness.
Dean Koontz describes doggie communication very well in some of his books, if you're a Koontz fan.


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 337 Feedbacks
February 7, 20090 found this helpful

My older tabby cat has been communicating with me on behalf of my younger cat for years. The young cat won't meow when he wants out or in; he just sits and stares at the doorknob. The older cat will meow, and run to the door, and when I open the door, the young one goes out, or comes in, and the older cat heads back to the living room. The tabby seems to know when the young cat is sitting outside in the cold waiting for the doorman!!! It is quite hilarious.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 239 Feedbacks
February 7, 20090 found this helpful

I was told as a child that just because you never heard it doesn't mean a tree can't talk...guess you could say that to the doubters about pets "speaking". My dog responds to questions or statements from me when I have my back turned or my head down and I'm using a "people" voice rather than the high pitched "puppy voice". To those who doubt I say, "You have to have been there!"

By Elaine (Guest Post)
February 7, 20090 found this helpful

Oh yes, they communicate and I had a dog that even talked. It was a mutt but the one of the smartest dogs I have ever had. He could say, when I held a treat up "I want some" ...that is all he could say but he knew so many words. I think I cried for a year after when he was gone.

By denise (Guest Post)
February 10, 20090 found this helpful

I have wanted a horse my whole life and my hubby just brought me yesterday to get her her name is ruby red and there were 2 others there too. I didn't want Ruby red as I thought the Tennessee walker would be better for me as I'm an inexperienced rider. Call it god or intuition but ruby and my eyes met and that was pretty much all she wrote. Here I was trying to get to know the other horse and Ruby slowly walks right up to me and lets me pet her.

After a few minutes of petting her I asked her if she wanted to go home with me and she shook her head yes, so hen her other owner brought her out she walked right into trailer with no problems and when I got home I told my hubby I should take her out since she is mine {I have never done this before} and I didn't know you don't turn a horse around in a trailer but she let me! She walked right out. So yes I do believe our animals also pick us and they defiantly talk and communicate with us if we are willing to listen!


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
February 11, 20090 found this helpful

Denise's post about Ruby the horse is awesome! Yep, goes to show it does not matter what kind of animal, they communicate with us :-)

February 11, 20090 found this helpful

My chihuahuas understand both Spanish & English. I have a rolling bag that I use when I take them out. It sorta looks like a luggage but it's for pets. Whenever I tell them "we're leaving!" or "lets go" they run and jump in their bag. It is so funny! When I tell them to go to sleep they run to their bed and don't bother me anymore. They also let me know when they don't have food by making noise when they get my attention they lick their lips. The female pats my leg when she wants something. I Love my dogs and I believe every animal communicates you just need to figure out how they do it or what they are saying. Lol

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February 18, 2013

Why does my inside cat hiss at me?

By lethapeace from Parkers Lake, KY

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