Your Cat Is Actually Trying To Communicate With You, So Pay Attention

Your cat is many things: Peaceful bedtime companion, terrible rapscallion intent on knocking over water glasses and chasing bobby pins, infernal alarm clock that rises with the sun and demands food. If you’ve spent even five minutes in the same room as one of these creatures, you know that trying to befriend one is like trying to nail your boss down for a very important conversation about your salary — impossible, and seemingly more trouble than its worth. But, there’s new research out there working to dispute the claim that cat-human communication is impossible.

According to a study by the University Of Georgia’s Sharon Crowell-Davis, as reported by The Science of Us, cats¬†are actually trying to talk to us. We just lack the ability to understand whatever it is they’re trying to say. That’s because they are mysterious, inscrutable beings who are actually plotting our demise when we sleep at night. Or, it’s because we’ve been completely misunderstanding them the whole damn time. Here’s what I learned:

  • Purring doesn’t mean they’re happy. It’s actually a “solicitation for care.” When Chairman Meowington kneads your arm with growing insistence, he’s not telling you that he loves you and is so happy he could cry, he’s actually demanding that you help him. Help him with what, precisely? NO CLUE. He just needs something. Ugh, get up. Get off the couch. Fix it.
  • When your cat runs to greet you with their furry body, winding its way in and out of your legs — making it difficult to drop your purse and go to the bathroom because you’ve had to pee since you got on the train — it’s because they want something, sort of. Or, according to Cromwell-Davis, they’re just trying to say hi. No need to drop everything and feed those ungrateful fatties.
  • If you really want to convey actual pleasure and garner their acceptance, watch their tiny, unmoving faces until you see them blink very slowly. This, somehow, means that they’re good with you. The amount of times I’ve blinked slowly at my cat, thinking that we’ve had a connection, and then found myself spray bottle in hand, urging it to come off the counter that I just cleaned, leads me to believe we have some work to do.

Arm yourself with these tidbits, and get to communicating. You and Fluffy have a lot to discuss.

[Science of Us]