More and more we read about dog calming signals: We ask dogs to be nothing more than excellent canine citizen, which requires a strong relationship based on a good communication. And good communication cannot happen without mutual understanding.
We however do not ask as much from our cats. We understand that they are happy and content when they purr and seek our presence, and we understand that they want to be left alone when they growl or they hiss. But before going all the way to such an aggressive defensive state, cats do send us different signals with the intention of avoiding such a confrontation. By listening to these signals, we – as owners or cat lovers – can respond to them in a way that reassure our feline friends, instead of harming their thrust. And imagine how wonderful it is for a cat to finally “feel understood”!
Like dogs, cats use calming signals. Calming signals are meant to calm them, AND communicate their peaceful intentions to the person or the animal they are intended to. Here are the most used calming signals by cats:
– Blinking very slowly;
– Licking their nose;
If you are meeting a new cat or feel as though your cat is tense, you can do these calming signals yourself to reassure the cat. Blinking slowly is probably the easiest to do, and the most quickly understood. Always be attentive to your cat’s signals. Does your cat start yawning when you start petting him in a particular way? Then he is probably not enjoying it as much as you think.
So you have met a cat, and he does not show any stress signals toward you: How do you know if he is content to see you and if he wants to interact with you? Well, if he comes running toward you purring, then you probably already know that he is thrilled to see you. But here are the less common ways cats show their appreciation toward someone:
– He avoids eye contact. This cat is being polite, not disinterested. Do not stare at him, and avoid eye contact: He will probably like you even more.
– He smells your nose very closely. He is saying “Hi”!
– He licks your hands, your face, your clothes, etc. This means he really appreciates your company, and thinks of you as one of his own! Congratulations: You are part of his family!
Be attentive to his signals at all times so that you do not do unintentionally something silly that stresses him. In general, wait until the cat reaches for you instead of you reaching for him. Cats know what they want, and if a cat wants to be petted, a cat will ask to be petted very clearly! Be respectful and “cat talk”, and you will build the needed thrust to have a great relationship with a lot of petting with this cat!
Source: Body Language: http://pets.webmd.com/cats/features/cat-body-language