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How Do Cats Communicate with One Another?

Thursday, September 12, 2019
posted by Jim Murphy

This morning I heard my new cat Atlantis make a sound like a murmur. He did it a few times while in the laundry room. My first reaction was “oh no, he’s going to have a hairball!”  He did not. Then I noticed that my other cat Millie was also in the laundry room. Atlantis was communicating with Millie. I noticed that he did it several times as Millie walked past him.

Cats communicate with one another in a different way then they communicate with humans. They communicate with each other “through vocalizations, physical contact, visual cues and chemical cues,” according to Dr. Wallani Sung, DVM. He says that cats communicate through signaling unlike dogs.  If you blink, you may miss a crucial communication between your cats.

There are 3 primary ways that cats communicate with each other (and with you):

  1. Vocalization
  2. Body language
  3. Scent

Vocalization

Your cats vocalization is used to tell other cats as well as you what they need. He uses different pitches and volume intensity to stress is desires. My cat Atlantis’s meow get very loud when he is hungry and softer when he wants attention. Loud meowing can also indicate anxiety or fear while less intense meowing can indicate confidence and contentment.

Body Language

Take a look at your cat’s body language when they are interacting with one another. If they like another cat, they may greet it by touching noses or rubbing against each other. They may also lick the top of the other cat’s head to show affection.

Two cats meeting each other often go through a stylized set of rituals:

  • The more established cat will hiss at the newcomer.
  • Sometimes the new cat will hiss back.

It’s essentially a warning on the resident cat’s part. It may not lead to anything, depending on the personalities of the cats involved.

The hissing may be accompanied by a growl if the other cat doesn’t back off right away. But unless there’ some serious tail-lashing and shrieking, there’s usually little to worry about.

Scent

This is the number one way that cats communicate with each other. They can rub their faces together .

When they do this, “they deposit pheromones and oils from the scent glands located on their foreheads, cheeks and chins. They also exchange scents when their bodies and tails rub against each other.

Pay attention to the sounds and signals that come for your feline friends. They are great communicators but they do it in very subtle ways.

Thanks to Petful.com for providing some of this information.
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