People listen when cats talk, and most experts agree that this is precisely why cats are to so talkative towards their human companions!
Some cats are quite chatty while others scarcely make a sound. Some of that’s genetic but there is also the individual personality. Along with vocalization cats use a combination of scent and body language to communicate.
In a cat world without people, adult cats primarily use scent and body language. Cat-to-cat communication is a symphony of subtle symbols and they may also use a variety of vocalizations, but they seldom meow at each other. Meows are pretty much reserved for that special relationship between a mother and her kittens.
Well in a cat-to-people world scent obviously doesn’t work, nor are humans particularly adept at body language. Cats quickly learn that their particular humans simply don’t “get it” and that the only way to get direct communication is through conversation.
In her book “Cat Wrangling Made Easy,” Dusty Rainbold says that one researcher, Nicholas Nicastro, believes that cat vocalizations aren’t even a true language. Cats have simply learned that sounds manage our emotions and they become extremely skilled at using their vocalizations to manipulate us. So cats talk to communicate with us, and that’s why we listen.
How does your cat talk?
In conversations with your cat you’ll hear a wide range of chatters, murmurs, chirps, trills, and kitten-like squeaks. On occasion you may hear growls, spits, and caterwauls as well. But of course our favorites are the purrs and meows.
Cats can make all sorts of sounds, with a lot of variations of the simple meow. Rainbold says that a 2002 Cornell University study documented hundreds of different cat vocalizations, ranging from soft purrs to tomcat battle yowls. Yet what all those sounds mean is a mystery to us.
The sounds domestic cats will make can be grouped into four distant types:
- There are the vowel sounds that are variations of a “meow.” There’s also that sweet, open-mouthed “silent meow” which is so high pitched the human ear can’t hear it.
- Chirps and chattering are types of articulated patterns that express frustration.
- There are the softer sounds of murmurs and purring.
- Then there are strained intense sounds such as hisses, growls, and screams.
You’ll want to get familiar with your cat’s usual vocal patterns, and then pay attention to any changes. If a silent cat suddenly starts talking up a storm, or a pleasantly chatty cat changes to yowling, it could be trying to tell you something. My Siamese cat is often quite talkative, but when she really wants to be fed, her meow gets loud. If she doesn’t get fed right away, it becomes even louder and sometimes starts to get a little reverberation going.
What’s your cat saying?
You are listening to your cat, so now let’s figure out what your cat may be trying to say. Each type of sound is your cat’s way of communicating its particular need or mood.
The meow is very versatile and can have a surprisingly wide range of variations. Meows are mostly your cat asking for something. They can range from kittenish, coy, and shy to forcefully demanding your attention.
The “silent meow” is basically an ordinary meow. It does make a sound but is pitched above your hearing. Cats can detect sounds up to 50-65 kilohertz, while our hearing is limited to approximately 18-20 kilohertz. We find this meow so adorable that cats quickly learn that it’s highly effective for getting what they want.
Chattering is an odd sound your cat will make while watching birds outside a window. It is a rapid click-click sound they make with their teeth. Although there are mixed ideas of what this means, it’s generally thought to be an expression of excitement or a frustration at not being able to pounce on a prey. It is almost always in response to birds, while watching rodents cats will be silent.
A soft trill or Chirping sound is used to greet other cats or humans. It is a sweet, friendly vocalization that falls between a meow and a purr.
The purr is everybody’s favorite cat sound. The purr is often attributed to a contented cat, and cats do purr when they are happy. But it is actually an overflow of any emotion. Cats may purr when content, happy, frightened, furious, or even in pain. In the more distressed situations purring is thought to be a self-soothing and self-healing mechanism. Research has shown that the frequency of the purr aligns with the same frequency that aids in pain relief, wound healing, fracture healing, and bone growth.
- Growling and Yowling
These are some of the loudest and most intense sounds a cat can make. Growls, wails, howls, and snarls are warning sounds. These are dramatic and often effective ways to ward of potential combatants or competitors. Cats will growl at each other or at humans as a warning to back off.
The hiss is a sound of annoyance, and depending on the situation, is mixed with fear or a lot of bluster. It can also indicate pain or stress, but in all cases it means “back off.” If you’re petting your cat, stop and give him a chance to calm down, and then try to determine the cause. If he hisses every time you touch him in a certain spot, he could be injured or ill.
Cats are wonderfully diverse in their ability to communicate with us. When they talk, people listen. It does makes you wonder, who’s domesticated whom! Visit our World of Pet Cats to learn more about these fascinating animals, or to find your special breed!
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
A celebration of cats is what, World Cat Day August 8, 2014 is all about.
We humans are simply enamored with cats and have been for thousands of years!
Today we honor our wonderful feline friends with a World Cat Day, yet their recognition spans thousands of years. Around 7000 to 5000 B.C. a few small, tabby-striped wild felines arrived in human settlements in northern Africa. It was with these small creatures that the process of domestic cat breeds began, resulting in some of the most intriguing types of cats seen today.
People often talk about owning a cat, but in reality I think cats own their humans. I’ve had cats throughout my life. Many were adopted mixed cats and some were breeds, but others simply showed up on my doorstep, fully expecting to come in and make themselves at home. Some cats will hang out with you constantly and even come when you call, while others will simply seem to ignore you, until its feeding time.
Cats of all kinds, whether a breed or not, are simply adorable, sporting many shapes, sizes, colors, and “flavors” of personality. These little felines can be beautiful and exotic with fur that is solid or multi colored, fluffy or smooth. An affectionate feline may sit on your lap or simply enjoy your company. An occasional petting as often it’s perfect reward. Others may be aloof and independent, clumsy or smart (or both!), and even a little sassy or evil.
Although all cats are, well cats, there are definite differences in cat breeds. Each breed has a unique set of qualities. Breeds can range from easy to more difficulty in handling, with personalities ranging from gentle and cuddly to aloof or reserved, and wanting less handling. In body form, they can be slender to cobby or robust, as well as combinations. Cat breeds can also be described by their color coat markings or patterning. When looking at their fur, you would think a long haired cat would shed more than a short haired cat, but that too is breed dependent rather than the length of the fur.
Finding a cat that best suits you, you can start by looking at breeds with the personality and behavior traits that you desire. These breed traits will also carry over in mixed cats.
Here’s a short cat breed guide:
- Undemanding Cats:
These types of cats can be described as quiet “lap cats” include the Birman, Bombay, Chartreux, Havana Brown, Nebelung, Russian Blue, Scottish Fold, and Selkirk Rex.
- Easy going, friendly cats:
These are cat breeds that are good with children such as the American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Maine Coon, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat, Ragdoll, Scottish Fold, Snowshoe, and Turkish Van.
- Active cats, people oriented:
These cats love attention but can demanding, and include breeds like the American Curl, Balinese, Burmese, Colorpoint Shorthair, Javanese, Korat, Siamese, and Singapura.
- Active and athletic cats:
These are energetic cats such as the Abyssinian, Bengal, Ocicat, and Somali.
- Grooming Intensive cats:
These are long haired cats that will shed a lot, such as the Himalayan, Persian, and Turkish Angora.
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Maine Coon Cat!
Maine Coon Cats are notorious for being large, plush, and beautiful cats! I have been to a few cat shows where I have gotten to hold and pet these cats. Most of them have been quite lovable and their owners always give good reviews of them! Their personalities can vary depending on the individual cat (just like humans!), but in general, they are praised for being friendly cats. Words often used to describe them include mild-mannered, gentle, affectionate, easy-going, and pleasant.
The true background of the Maine Coon Cat is unknown. There are several theories on how it came to be, however. The most accepted theory is that house cats and Angora cats were bred together in the state of Maine. It is just a theory though, with no proof. Other less plausible theories include breeding between a house cat and an American Bobcat, that they are descended from Norwegian Forest Cats, that they are house cats which became semi-feral living outside and evolved into stockier bodies, and that they are house cats bred with raccoons (which is obviously impossible!). Other names these cats go by include the American Coon Cat, the American Forest Cat, and the American Longhair.
The most obvious feature of these cats is their size. They are huge! At least huge for house cats. They can be anywhere from 9 to 22 (or more) pounds. They have long, plush fur which needs moderate grooming care. They also have large tufted ears and a long, plumed, bushy tail. They have squeaky little voices and come in a variety of colors and patterns! Their “common” pattern is a tabby pattern. This cat can live to be over 13 years old as well.
The Maine Coon Cat is a very popular breed to show. They were actually the very first cats ever shown! In the early 1860’s people started showing Maine Coons in New England at the Skowhegan Fair. Shortly after this in 1871 was the first official cat show in London. They were shown successfully in the first American show as well, in 1895. In 1976 they were officially recognized as a breed by the Cat Fancier’s Association!
The care and feeding of these cats is similar to most house cats. They can be fed a regular, good quality cat food and should be provided with fresh water. They enjoy outdoors time, but it is not a necessity. They can be good indoor cats and/or apartment dwellers if given plenty of attention and room to explore and play. They should be groomed regularly to keep their long coat looking nice and mat-free, however they don’t need as much grooming as some other long-hair cats. Once a week should suffice for a Maine Coon Cat. They do shed a lot during hot summer months and may need more grooming during that time.
Health problems are few for these cats. They are generally healthy if taken well care of. This breed can suffer from Hip Dysplasia, however, especially if they are on the larger side. Other common cat diseases that can affect them are a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), but these are not specific to the Maine Coon.
Generally you will have to pay to obtain a Maine Coon that is licensed. They can range anywhere from $200 to $1000 depending on the breeder, location, color, and other characteristics.
To read more on Maine Coon Cats, follow-up on the Maine Coon page!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Most people looking for new pets always go for the babies. They want puppies and kittens. But, there are several reasons that an older cat would make a great addition for your home.
Cats are quite self-sufficient creatures. They love affection but also crave time alone. Sounds like some humans that you know huh? It’s no wonder they get along with most people who adore them.
Unfortunately, kittens do grow up and become older cats. Older cats are not as desired as younger ones and often end up in shelters or worse, on the street. This increases the unwanted animal population. What usually happens then is that they are either killed on the street or euthanized in the shelter to make room for younger kittens that people might want to adopt.
Save a Cat’s Life
If you like cats and are looking for a pet, before looking at kittens, consider the older cat in your local animal shelter. They still have a lot to offer. In fact, here are five very good reasons for you to adopt one.
1. They are already housebroken – Even though cats are easy to train, it does take time to get them to use their litter box. With an older cat, the hard work is already done. Simply show them where the box is and they will take it from there.
2. They won’t end up back in the shelter – It’s a little known truth that many cats end their days in an animal shelter because their owners have died. There was no one else to care for them. Cats do live pretty long lives but if you are a younger couple and you adopt a seven or eight year old cat, chances are that you will outlive them. The same goes for an older couple who wants companionship.
3. Children can play with them – Kittens are cute but kids can be rough with them. An older cat can stand up to tough loving and come out a winner. Also, these cats are often socialized well so they don’t mind other pets in the home either.
4. Can entertain themselves – Many people avoid pets or get rid of their current pets because of the time commitment. Kittens do require a lot of time with their owners until they are older. Adult cats can enjoy quiet time without being destructive. They are perfect for singles or couples that are away from home a lot but love to be greeted at the door by an old friend.
5. Good for multi-cat families – Some older cats are stressed by kittens running around and over them all day. Introducing another cat about the same age as your first cat is a better match overall.
Considering a cat for your home? Why not adopt an older cat? They come with wisdom and a loving heart.
“Most people have owned a Tabby Cat at one point or another! Typically they have striped coats but can also have blotched, spotted or patchwork quilt patterns!”
Tabby Cats with stripes are the original pet cat coat designs!
The Tabby Cat is a well-known cat, with very familiar coat markings. There are actually five coat patterns for these cats. The striped Tabby Cat is the most popular and common type, called the Mackerel Tabby pattern. Other types include the Spotted Tabby, Ticked Tabby, Blotched Tabby, and Patched Tabby. The only striped coat pattern in domestic cats is actually the Mackerel Tabby pattern. Exotic Cats or wild cats also have members who have striped coats.
Tabby Cat markings have the classic dark and light banded hairs mixed with black hairs. These black hairs help create the tabby pattern by being clustered in “stripes” or clusters. The Mackerel Tabby has a light background with dark stripes on top. When stripes occur, they appear mostly vertical, thin, long and somewhat curved. The stomach and sides of the cat usually break the stripes into short bars… Read More
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Cornish Rex Cat!
Cats are one of the most popular pets, with there being many different types to choose from! The Cornish Rex Cat is one of the relatively new breeds of cat developed and is quite unique looking. It is a great family cat simply because of its friendly disposition and many people appreciate their low-maintenance, short, and soft coat of hair. The reason their hair is so soft is because it has only a downy undercoat with hardly any top-coat coarse hairs. This translates to little grooming and hardly any shedding, which also helps to prevent allergies in people around this cat who normally have cat allergies.
The Cornish Rex Cat is a very social cat and loves its human companions, as well as other animals! It can come in a variety of different personalities – from a lounging, loving lap cat to a very playful and active athletic cat. They are good indoor cats, and because of their short coat, they actually prefer it most of the time – being unable to deal with extreme hot and cold temperatures. They do like to “talk” a lot and can become quite loud – however most owners say they are not quite as loud/high-pitched as Siamese cats are!
The Cornish Rex Cat has a very interesting history. They are a fairly new breed, having only been first discovered on July 21st in 1950 from an observed genetic mutation. This happened in Cornwall, England on a farm. Because it was a genetic mutation that caused its distinct look, it is considered a Mutation Cat Breed. The Cornish Rex Cat looks a lot like the Devon Rex Cat, however these cats have two different genes that control their curly looking hair. It does share the same gene with the German Rex Cat though, which it also looks similar to. It was recognized as a true breed in 1964 in America and in 1967 in Britain. Since then, it has been bred with several other breeds – including Siamese, Burmese, Russian Blues, and British Shorthairs to increase its stamina. Right now you can find breeders of the Cornish Rex Cat in the United States, England, and Australia. Prices can range anywhere from $200 to $1200 when bought from a reputable breeder and depending on the area.
The care of the Cornish Rex Cat is similar to most other cats – a protein based diet works well and can be supplied with a good commercially prepared cat food. Making sure your cat has access to fresh water every day and a clean litter box if kept indoors are also requirements. Providing toys to indoor cats will help keep them entertained. As I stated before – they only require minimal grooming. Actually, you don’t want to groom them too much because it can actually cause baldness! These cats are overall very healthy cats and have no particular health problems. Also as mentioned above, because they only have the downy undercoat and not an overcoat, they are sensitive to extreme temperatures – but this should not be a problem if kept indoors or if they are only let outside in mild climates.
If you are thinking about obtaining a Cornish Rex Cat for showing purposes or simply to have a unique breed of cat, feel free to read more information on them and their care at Animal-World’s Cornish Rex Cat page!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Types of Cats
"The relationship between human and feline is much different than the master/owner relationship between man and dog!"
Cats come in many breeds with many different personalities, making them wonderful
companions for many different types of people!
A huge variety of cat breeds and cat types are in existence and available to choose from. Being very unique animals that are kept as pets, cats can bring a good vibe to many homes. Over time cats have become domesticated all over the world and are now primarily house pets. People have observed their unique characteristics and behaviors and grown to really appreciate them. Overall, cats are affectionate, clean and playful pets. They also have a side that comes across as very courageous, patient, and dignified in the human world. In America, cats are now the most popular pet, even more popular than dogs… Read More