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How Do Cats Communicate with Each Other? Understanding Feline Language

Cats communicating

Cats, those enigmatic and graceful creatures, have a sophisticated way of communicating with each other. While they may not use spoken words, they rely on a rich repertoire of vocalizations, body language, and scent cues to convey their thoughts, emotions, and intentions to fellow felines. In this article, we’ll delve into the intriguing world of feline communication, exploring the various methods these animals employ to interact with their peers. Let’s see how do cats communicate with each other.

1. Vocalizations: The Power of Meows and Purrs

Cats are known for their vocalizations, and each meow or purr can carry a specific message. Here’s how cats use vocalizations to communicate:


While cats may meow at humans for various reasons, they tend to be more silent when communicating with other cats. Mother cats, however, use meows to communicate with their kittens, particularly to call them.


Cats often purr when content, but they also purr when in pain or distress. Mother cats use purring to comfort and reassure their kittens.

2. Body Language: The Art of Postures and Gestures

Cats are masters of body language, and their postures and gestures convey a wealth of information:

Tail Positions

A cat’s tail can be held high in a confident and friendly manner or puffed up in fear. A flicking tail can indicate irritation.


Ears held forward demonstrate attentiveness, while flattened ears show aggression or fear.


Forward-facing whiskers indicate curiosity, while flattened whiskers signal aggression or fear.


Cats knead with their paws as a comforting gesture, often seen when they’re content.

3. Scent Marking: Leaving Messages Behind

Cats have scent glands on various parts of their bodies, including their cheeks, paws, and tails. They use scent marking as a way to establish territory and communicate:


Cats often rub their cheeks against objects or other cats to leave their scent, marking them as part of their social group.


Scratching serves multiple purposes, including marking territory with both scent and visible marks.

4. Social Grooming: Bonding and Affection

Cats in the same social group engage in mutual grooming, not just to stay clean but also to strengthen their social bonds. Grooming also helps to diffuse tension and conflicts among cats.

5. Visual Cues: Eye Contact and Blinking

Cats use eye contact to communicate their intentions. A slow blink is a sign of trust and affection. If a cat blinks slowly at you, returning the blink can strengthen your bond.

6. Vocal Interactions: Growls, Hisses, and Chirps

While cats may not meow frequently at each other, they do use growls, hisses, and chirps to communicate aggression, annoyance, or playfulness. Mother cats may also chirp at their kittens to get their attention.

7. Hunting and Play: Communication Through Actions

Cats communicate during hunting and play. The way they stalk, pounce, and chase each other mimics hunting behaviors and serves as a form of play and communication.

Understanding how cats communicate with each other is not only fascinating but can also help cat owners better interpret their pets’ needs and emotions. Whether it’s through vocalizations, body language, scent marking, or play, the world of feline communication is a complex and nuanced one that reveals the rich social lives of these enigmatic animals.

8. Tail Language: A Silent Conversation

Cats have an intricate tail language that conveys their feelings. For instance:

Tail Quivering

This is a friendly gesture that often precedes a social interaction or playtime.

Tail Wrap

When a cat wraps its tail around another cat, it’s a sign of friendship and affection, often seen among close companions.

Tail Lashing

A lashing tail may indicate irritation or impatience.

9. Pheromones: Chemical Messages

Cats secrete pheromones from glands on their cheeks, paws, and the base of their tail. They leave these chemical messages on objects and other cats to communicate a range of information, including their mood and readiness to mate.

10. Vocal Interactions: Chirping and Conversations

Cats can have intricate conversations through a combination of vocalizations. Some cats are known to engage in chirping sounds, particularly when observing birds or prey animals. These vocal exchanges may serve as a form of shared excitement or hunting strategy.

11. Communication in Multi-Cat Homes

In households with multiple cats, communication becomes even more complex. Cats develop a hierarchy and use various forms of communication to establish their positions within the group. This can include vocalizations, body language, and play-fighting.

Two black cats arguing over a sensitive subject :)

Two black cats arguing over a sensitive subject 🙂 , image source: Unsplash

12. Conflict Resolution: Hissing and Growling

When cats encounter conflicts, they use hissing, growling, and other vocalizations to communicate discomfort or displeasure. These cues serve as warnings to prevent physical confrontations and can lead to conflict resolution.

13. Territory Marking: Feline Maps

Cats communicate through scent marking not only to establish territory but also to signal their presence. This helps cats avoid direct confrontations, as they can detect each other’s scent markers and navigate around them.

14. Time and Timing: Daily Routines

Cats are creatures of habit and may communicate with each other through their daily routines. For example, they often establish feeding schedules and sleeping spots through non-verbal cues. Knowing when it’s time to rest or eat can help maintain harmony among housemates.

15. Reproductive Communication: Heat Cycles and Mating Calls

During breeding season, female cats enter heat cycles and emit distinctive mating calls. Male cats may become more vocal and agitated as they pick up on these cues, leading to their quest to find a mate.

16. Food Sharing: A Sign of Trust

In the wild, cats often share food with those they trust. This gesture not only strengthens bonds but also communicates a sense of security and acceptance.

17. Body Heat Exchange: The Cat Huddle

Cats are known to form a “cat huddle” by snuggling together. This not only conserves body heat but also signifies their closeness and a strong social bond. When cats huddle, it’s a way of saying, “We’re family.”

Two cats communicating through smell and touch

Two cats communicating through smell and touch, image source: Unsplash

18. Play Behavior: Practicing Survival Skills

When cats engage in play behavior with each other, they are not only having fun but also honing their hunting skills. This form of interaction strengthens their bond and allows them to communicate their hunting prowess.

19. Distinct Cat Dialects: Local Accents

Cats can develop unique vocalizations that are specific to their environment or social group. This means that a cat from one neighborhood might have a slightly different “accent” or set of vocalizations than a cat from another area.

20. Sensing Emotions: Cats and Their Humans

Cats are incredibly perceptive when it comes to human emotions. They can often sense when their owners are upset or unwell and may offer comfort through vocalizations or snuggling.


Understanding the intricate ways in which cats communicate with each other is a testament to their intelligence and social complexity. While they may not use words like humans, their rich repertoire of signals and cues allows them to form social bonds, establish hierarchies, and navigate the challenges of coexisting with other felines. As cat owners, recognizing and interpreting these forms of communication can help you better understand and care for your furry companions.

Article written by:

Darius Savin is a lifelong animal lover and protector and the chief editor of Checkmember. He writes and edits articles and is also the creator of the distribution maps for all the creatures featured here.