Cats are consummate communicators. They use every part of the body, with subtle vocal variations, to make themselves understood. Here is some information to demystify feline body talk.

Tail Talk

  • A straight tail with a slight bend at the tip means, "This looks most interesting."
  • A tail held stiffly at right-angles to the body means, "Hello. How nice to see you."
  • A tail with a tip that twitches means, "I'm starting to get angry!"
  • A tail waved vigorously from side to side means, "You're in for it!"
  • An arched tail with the fur fluffed means, "This is my territory and don't you forget it!"
  • A tail held low with fur fluffed out means, "I'm frightened." The terrified cat will crouch down and the fur will stand out all over her body.

    Body Language

  • A cat with her ears back flat on to her head is saying, "Help!"
  • Most owners recognize the pretty little feline hop, both paws lifted together, which means, "Hello, dear friend." This is Rockwell's greeting to me every day.
  • The cat who greets you by rolling lazily over on to her back, presenting her furry underside for you to admire, is saying, "I feel completely safe with you." Don't be tempted to tickle that fluffy tummy, though: most cats find the area very sensitive, and may react with a reproving paw-swipe.
  • An arched back, with straight legs, wide, staring eyes and electric-shock tail means, "Back off now, or I'll attack!"

    Tones of Voice

  • A little chirping sound, which mother cats use to marshal their kittens together, is given by adult cats to say "Hi" to their owners. (I love when I am greeted by this.)
  • Purring can mean, "Mmmmmmm, that feels wonderful," or "You're my favorite person." However, cats have been known to purr when in pain or distress, so it doesn't always indicate contentment.
  • Yowling and caterwauling usually means, "Get off my territory," rather than, "What are you doing tonight, gorgeous?"
  • Hissing and spitting mean, "Get off my patch of ground, or else."

    Feline Facts

  • Cats love to nap. They average 16 hours of sleep per day.
  • Never feed dog food to a cat. It does not contain enough protein, since cats require two times as much as dogs.
  • Morris the Cat, of TV fame, was adopted from an animal shelter in the late 1970s.
  • Never give your cat a ball of yarn, ribbon or string-like items to play with. It can cause major problems if yarn or ribbon or string or Christmas Tree Tinsel is swallowed or the cat becomes entangled in it.
  • A cat's eye pupil will dilate wildly when he or she is angry, afraid or aggressive.
  • It is estimated that Americans own 59 million cats.
  • A long slow blink from a cat is a sign of relaxed contentment, and may be used as a greeting. "I love you and trust you."

    Do Cats Get Lonely?

    Far too many cat owners think of a cat as an object that falls somewhere between a piece of furniture and a wind-up toy. They assume that because cats are so independent, they do not really need our company. Nothing could be further from the truth!

    Sure, most cats can get along just fine and dandy on their own - for a while. But many would rather have human companionship, and actually come to depend on having us around. Besides, there is a pretty big difference between alone and lonely.

    It is a common mistake that cats do not much care for company. In the wild, it may be true that they are solitary creatures, and only seek out other cats to fight or to mate; but even in the wild, they enjoy the company of other cats.

    Cats really are natural companions and have adapted remarkably well to sharing their lives with us - even if yours only hangs around because she loves getting all that TLC from you!

    One of my cats, Abbe Gayle, craves human companionship and attention so much that she makes a perpetual nuisance of herself in her never-ending pursuit of our affection.

    Owners who leave their cats for long absences wind up creating lots of lonely kitties. For these cats, being alone results in a nerve-wracking boredom - and ultimately in the sort of real loneliness that can create a warped personality. Your cat may show signs of her unhappiness by grooming herself excessively; and even might literally chew her tail to shreds.

    It's not even unusual for lonely cats to make themselves sick - which is one way of getting your attention. They are not faking it, though; they really are ill. The illness simply stems from emotional problems brought on by loneliness.

    Some folks think a turned-on TV or radio is a good substitute for quality time with Kitty. Save the electricity! A group of animal psychologists in Germany studied the effects of TV on pets and found that too much TV can actually cause a cat to become neurotic. It seems a cat who 'watches' TV more than one hour a day becomes nervous and loses her appetite.

    Even if your cat does not seem to want your company, you can be sure she at least prefers the presence of someone. In fact, cats who are left alone less often are more gentle and well-adjusted.

    THAT'S WHY A Pet Sitter IS NEEDED.