From the very beginning of their existence, cats have very skilfully used all the resources that nature has bestowed on them to exchange information. In the Communication Age, such a special being as a cat is able to interact with other cats and with humans without the need of cell phones or email, thanks to the fact that it has other mechanisms that are set in motion when it uses its body.
To communicate with its body, a cat uses varied combinations of postures and stances. The different orientations of the ears with respect to the head may indicate different things: the ears of a relaxed and calm cat will be placed forward in the usual posture. If he is faced with a conflict, they will be flattened. If he is feeling threatened, he will place them horizontally to protect them from a possible attack
A cat’s tail helps him not only to achieve excellent balance, it can also convey different messages: if it is held high and puffed up it indicates fear or excitement; while if it is merely raised up straight it is signalling a greeting.
A cat’s posture varies according to the circumstances. He will try to minimize his size if he wants to avoid problems or before fleeing from conflict. To do this he will squat down and flatten his ears and whiskers. On the other hand, he will try to appear bigger, arching his back and puffing up his fur, when he wishes to intimidate or face down an opponent.
Cats use sounds to communicate with humans more than with other cats. If they vocalize to one another it is usually when they are in season or when they interact in a negative way. When adult cats use sounds to communicate with humans they are extending infantile behaviour: kittens meow to their mother when they are hungry, afraid or need something. When an adult cat requires something from its human friend it does the same thing.
The last method that cats use to communicate is through the smell of their pheromones, substances contained in urine and in the secretions of various glands. These scented messages provide the cat that receives them with a large amount of information, such as the sex and the sexual phase in which the cat that issued them was in or the moment in which it left the signal. This is why they mainly serve to influence sexual behaviour and territorial control.
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