Tuesday, November 17, 2009

But Kitty! Oh...Kitty Butt

As feral colony managers, we've become accustomed to kitty language.  It took us time to understand that the first rule to managing cats is that they are tele-empathic. They can feel your thoughts. They communicate to you through telepathy when they choose to do so. For the most part, they prefer to train you (cats see human as somewhat inferior beings--don't forget that!) because it's easier.

So when we plan to catch/trap a cat for speutering purposes, we don't even think the words TRAP, CATCH, SPAY, NEUTER, VET'S OFFICE around any cat. We learned to talk in code. 

"Have you seen Buddy today?"

"Not yet. He's usually around about this time or that time." 

"Oh good. I wanted to give him some extra time to pet me this evening (or special treat, depending on the cat) and he's no where to be found."

An hour later, Buddy will show up, demanding his time with me. That's just the first hurdle to trapping/catching a feral/stray. My point is that cats are tele-empathic. That's why they stress if we we stress, get manic at times when we are extremely happy, or have hissy-fits if we're having one.

Anyway--back to kitty language. Here are some examples.

The slitted eyes are a warning that things could get ugly between you unless you have a favorite food or treat on hand.

Note the crossed-paws. That's an extremely happy kitty.
(Sunny & Graycie: Adopted) 

 Hunting is play-time to cats. Notice the forward pointing ears, the intense expression on the face, and the whiskers. The whiskers can tell you when a cat is about to pounce--either in play or during the hunt.

Totally relaxed kitties. This signifies trust in their environment--not so much their trust in you. 
(Chile, Max, Lacey) 

Some cats actually smile. 


The famous Kitty-Butt. It has several connotations. It could simply be "You disappointed me." It could be part of a sulk--"I'm not ready to talk to you!" If the ears are laid back, you have one mad kitty--"I'm seriously considering packing my fur and LEAVING you!" You will have to do some serious groveling to even get to the negotiation stage before forgiveness is allowed.

"I'm listening."  

 If you want to calm a stressed out or fearful cat, eye-blink slowly. Slowly turn your head to the side so you aren't directly looking into the cat's eyes, and then eye blink. Again, keep this slow and even. Eye-blinking tells the cat that you are no threat and the situation is ok. If your cat is calm and you want to give him or her  a special message, look at him or her and then eye-blink slowly. It's a way to communicate "I love you"  to your cat.

Topaz in the middle of an eye-blink, telling me she likes the tent I made for her. 


  1. What a fun and educational post. I'm going to send this to my daughter. She just adopted her second kitty. She will enjoy this! Thanks.

  2. Love your blog. The photos are wonderful. I must say you really do know cats, they are truly marvelous creatures.

    I am thankful that you visited my blog, otherwise I would never have discovered yours.