Decoding Cat Behavior: How to Speak Cat

Decoding Cat behavior

By Jennie @ Ragdoll Cats World

August 10, 2022

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Do you ever wonder why your cat does certain things? While some of their behavior may seem random, there is usually a reason behind it. Although they are not as vocal as dogs, cats do communicate through their body language, meows, and purrs. By paying attention to your cat’s behaviors, you can learn a lot about what they are trying to tell you.

Here are some common cat behaviors and what they mean.


Body Language

Anyone who has spent any time around cats knows that they are complex creatures with a mysterious inner life. One way to get a glimpse into your cat’s inner world is by learning to read their body language. Here are some tips on how to read your cat’s body language.

When a cat is feeling relaxed and comfortable, it will often adopt a position called “loafing.” This is when they lay on their side or back with all four legs stretched out. If you see your cat in this position, it means they feel safe and content in their environment.

On the other hand, if your cat is crouched down with its tail curled under its body, this is a sign of tension or fear. This position makes them look smaller and less vulnerable, which helps them feel safer in stressful situations.

Pawing and Paw Flicking

Pawing is a way for cats to communicate with their humans, and can mean anything from “I’m happy” to “I’m hungry” or “I need attention.” So next time you see your cat raising their paws, take a moment to figure out what they’re trying to tell you!

We’ve all seen our cat lift their paws and flick them around, one by one. This cat behavior is generally accepted as disgust, or displeasure with something around them, usually because they have stepped in something wet.


Positioning of the Ears

One way to understand your cat is by observing its ears. A cat’s ears are important tools that they use to communicate. When a cat’s ear is straight up in the air, it usually means they are alert and interested in something. If a cat’s ear is slightly forward, it usually means they are relaxed and comfortable. When their ears point backward, it indicates they’re not happy or not interested. Ears backward can also indicate a feeling of rejection.

Decoding Cat behavior


Scratching is a natural feline behavior and serves several purposes, such as helping them stretch their muscles, removing the outer layer of their nails, and marking their territory. If you have a cat, it’s important to understand why they scratch and how to interpret their scratching behavior.

Cats typically scratch in three different ways: vertical scratching, horizontal scratching, and clawing. Vertical scratching is when they scratch up and down a vertical surface, such as a doorframe or piece of furniture. This is generally done for territorial purposes – they’re leaving their scent and marking their territory. Horizontal scratching is when they scratch back and forth along a horizontal surface. This is usually done to help remove the outer layer of their nails or to stretch their muscles. Clawing is when they extend their claws and dig them into a surface – this behavior is often seen during playtime.



There’s nothing quite like curling up with a purring cat, but have you ever wondered why they knead? Though it may look like they’re simply pressing their paws into your lap, there’s actually a bit more to it than that. Turns out, cats knead for a variety of reasons.

For one, it’s believed that cats knead to mark their territory. When they press their scent glands into something, they’re essentially claiming it as their own. This is especially true for female cats who will often knead before they settle down to give birth.

Kneading is also thought to be a way for cats to show affection. Much like how we might cuddle up with a loved one, cats use kneading as a way to show they care.

Another theory is that when cats are kittens, they knead their mother’s breasts to stimulate milk flow.

Regardless of the reason, one thing is certain: cats enjoy kneading!

cat kneading

Tail Movements

Have you ever wondered what your cat’s tail movements mean? While some of their tail movement is based on instinct, much of it is also a form of communication. By understanding what your cat’s tail is trying to tell you, you can further strengthen the bond you share with them.

If you’ve ever been around a cat, you know that they often flick their tails. While this behavior may seem random, there is actually meaning behind it. There are a few reasons why your cat may flick its tail. The first is simply because they are happy. When cats are content, they will often flick their tails back-and-forth. This is similar to a dog wagging its tail. Another reason for tail flicking is when a cat is feeling playful. If you see your cat’s tail start flicking rapidly, it’s likely that they want to play a game or chase something down. Cats also flick their tails when they’re feeling threatened or uneasy.

Cats are creatures of habit and their tails can tell us a lot about their mood and what they’re thinking. Here are some common tail positions and what they might mean:

When a cat’s tail is held high, it indicates confidence. This is the most “normal” position for a cat’s tail, so if you see your cat walking around with its tail held high, it’s probably feeling good about itself.

If a cat holds its tail low, it might be feeling submissive or even scared. This position is often seen when two cats meet for the first time and are trying to figure out who’s in charge.

A cat that wraps its tail around another cat or object is showing affection. This is similar to how we might wrap our arms around someone we love.

Decoding Cat behavior


If you’re a cat owner, you know that cats purr when they’re happy. But did you know that there are other reasons why your cat might purr? Cats will sometimes purr when they’re in pain. It has been shown to help them heal and feel better. Purring also helps cats stay calm in stressful situations. Cats can purr at a frequency that is known to ease human anxiety and lower blood pressure. So if you hear a cat purring, it’s likely that you’ll start feeling calmer too.



Most cats meow as a way to communicate with their human guardians, and while different meows can mean different things, often times a cat will meow simply because they want your attention. If your cat greets you at the door with a meow, they may be trying to tell you that they’re happy to see you. If your cat stares at you and meows incessantly, they may be hungry or thirsty. And if your cat gives you a long, drawn out meow, they might be trying to tell you that they’re feeling lonely. Paying attention to the context in which your cat is meowing will give you a better understanding of what they’re trying to say.



Most cat owners will at some point experience their cat hissing. While it may be alarming, it is important to understand why your cat is behaving this way. Hissing is a normal part of feline communication and is often used as a warning sign. If your cat is hissing at you, it could mean that he is feeling threatened or anxious. It is important to try to understand the reason for your cat’s behavior in order to help him feel more comfortable.


Fur Standing Up

Your cat’s fur standing up is a sign of their mood and how they are feeling. When a cat’s fur is standing up, it means they are feeling threatened or scared. This is their natural way of trying to make themselves appear bigger and more intimidating. If you see your cat’s fur standing up, it’s important to try to understand what might be causing them to feel this way. It could be something as simple as a loud noise outside that scared them, or it could be something more serious like another animal in the house. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to comfort your cat and help them feel safe again.

Decoding Cat behavior

In conclusion, Cats are often misunderstood. Their behavior can be interpreted in a variety of ways, but it’s important to remember that they are simply trying to communicate with us. By understanding how your cat is feeling, you can better provide them with the care they need.


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Written by Jennie @ Ragdoll Cats World

I'm Jennie, the creator of Ragdoll Cats World. I have been owned and loved by Ragdoll Cats for almost twenty years after getting my first Ragdoll kittens, Huey and Choo-Choo back in 2003. They lived to the grand old age of 18 and 17 and they even made the move from London to Australia with me! We now have two Ragdoll cats, Violet and Ocean, and a Maine Coon cat named Eddie, and we love sharing our knowledge of all things related to Ragdoll Cats with you at Ragdoll Cats World!

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