We have plenty of ways to communicate with our cats, even though it’s not quite like talking to another human. How do I communicate with my cats? In many ways. Communication is a big word, with lots of meaning. If you are looking for ways to communicate with your cat, I’ll give you my take on what I’ve tried. Take what you like — maybe something here will help you understand your cat a little better or deepen the lines of communication.
By spending time with them, and observing them, I can be more aware of opportunities to communicate. I am fortunate in that I work at home and have a lot of time to be with the cats. But anyone can do this.
At times I catch myself getting distracted by my work and almost missing an opportune communication moment. If I’m aware enough, I pull myself back into the moment and use that moment as an opportunity to communicate. Here’s more on what I mean.
If a cat comes to me with what seems to be a demonstrable effort to communicate, I try to respond (if I’m not knee deep in work or some other distraction). If Rama gives me a head butt, I scratch him or talk to him or respond in other ways. If Chester brings his “baba” to me and deliberately drops it at my feet and makes his “murph” noise, I might make a “murph” noise back at him, or I might throw the toy for him. If Bluebell starts trilling and plops down suddenly on the rug, rolling and dancing on her back, I rub her belly and praise her and trill back. She seems to really enjoy this.
You’ll know what this means if you are closely tuned in to your cats. I wrote about this recently in an article about Rama. Rama’s big sweet spot is the bed, and he has a way of communicating this. He will tell me, with body language and a certain look, that he wants to bound onto the bed, and he wants me to follow. So I do. Then we snuggle. He prefers I close the door. The point is, because I have carefully observed Rama and I know his body language and looks, we have been able to figure out that he enjoys this little ritual and that it’s an opportunity to communicate.
Helping two cats through hospice in the past few years, I came to realize that the cats went to great lengths to communicate, even if their systems were failing in some way. The way they would communicate with me would change. It was quite amazing. For example, in the last three months of Kali’s life, she would press her cheek hard against mine. This was something I’d never seen her do before. We can be open to changes in communication if we take the time to notice them. Something like this could totally slip by someone who paid little attention to their cat or didn’t encourage communication.
You may or may not believe in this, but occasionally I get a taste of it with my cats. If you have ever suddenly had a feeling that your cat wants or needs something, and your feeling turns out to be true, you will know what I mean. Our bond with our cats can be deep, and I personally believe that it can transcend the ordinary more recognized forms of communication. I am not an animal communicator, and I don’t seem to be able to do it all the time, but I have had glimpses of this type of communication with my cats.
How do you communicate with your cats? What does communication mean to you? Share your thoughts in comments.
Read more about communication:
About Catherine Holm Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of a short story collection about people and place. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.