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What Cats Really Want

Cats are incapable of speaking in words,
but they offset this with their meowing ability.
Meowing, accompanied by a head-held-high,
front-paws-together begging posture signifies a
request. Meowing can able messages like "I'm
hungry" or "I'm in the room." You may or may not
know your own cat's tendencies—some cats meow
loudly when they are lonely and want attention.
"Most people are very poor at really understanding cat communication," says animal behaviorist Bonnie V. Beaver. "But cats are very good about figuring out which communication signals produce human actions that they like."
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A cat's tail is one method of understanding feline body language as the tail reveals emotions and moods as follows:
  • Straight up — happy and friendly
  • Swishing vigorously — anger or
    hunting mode
  • Arched and full — may attack
  • Twitching end — seriously annoyed
  • Lowered and full — afraid
Do you notice any of the following in your own cat?
  • Rubbing against your legs — affectionately
    marking you with her scent
  • Rolling over on back — completely trusts you
  • Arched back with staring eyes — ready to attack
  • Lying on your reading material — comfortable
  • Purring — generally signals happiness
Cats use body language for humans in a different way from other cats. "Cats use olfactory communication in certain situations with other cats, such as crossing another outdoor cat's home range route or approaching their resting areas," says veterinarian S. Crowell-Davis. Cats spend 50% of their time out of the sight of one another.
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Understanding what your cat thinks, feels or wants is the best way to take care of them. By paying more attention to detail, you can determine if your cat is angry, hungry, tired, playful or in pain. You may also be able to determine problems that may arise, such as early signs of illness or disease
when refusing to eat, scratching constantly or hiding.
"Learning what cats are trying to
communicate—or just how they are
feeling—goes a long way toward
creating a strong, healthy human-animal
bond, which can work to the benefit of both parties," says Dr. Dodman.
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