Cats 101

Powder Monkey’s Cats log, 10th July 2014

It was recently brought to my attention that you monkeys don’t know that much about us cats.  I guess it’s our fault for adopting you and not giving out a illustrated guide book.

So here’s the skinny: We talk in a much more subtle way than you.  We prefer to talk with body language and scent and only meow because most of you never pick up on what we try to say.  This also means that every cat has to develop a vocabulary specific to the monkeys they take care of, so essentially we all develop our own secret spoken language to communicate with our monkeys.  Listen to the tone and pitch of your cat and try to learn what each sound means.

I hope this short cat-to-monkey dictionary will help bridge the communication gap.

First let’s talk about the tail, one of the most important and expressive parts of our arsenal of communication.  We use them not only for balance but also to communicate and they’re very sensitive.  You should all be aware that in cat society grabbing a cat by the tail is a capital offense.  We may not have the required opposible thumbs required to build a gallows but we can make your lives miserible.  Also note that when the tail twitches rapidly back and forth it means we’re getting irritated, which means it’s time to back off (the word monkey calls it being twitchy tailed).  If you see a cat swinging it’s tail from side to side it doesn’t mean we’re excited — please don’t confuse us with the dumb foul smelling dogs you’re all so fond of — it means we’re slightly more angry than if you see it twitching.  To show that we’re happy we display our tail by keeping it upright like a flag pole showing off to everyone.  When you see it tucked down between our legs it means we’re scared or anxious.  If you see our tails puffed upland standing on end it means were extremely angry and an attack is imminent.   If you do see this then don’t walk, run away!!!

Next up is the ears.  Normally a cats ears will tense and swivel around when they hear something interesting, like food scampering about nearby, but if we feel threatened or angry you may see them flatted against our head.  This is a good sign that you should back out of the room slowly.

Our eyes are also very important.  Most monkeys don’t understand that we’re predators and that’s how we think.  If our eyes are wide open, we aren’t surprised, we’re hunting or perhaps anxious about whats happening around us.  When we squint or slowly blink our eyes around you it’s showing you how much we trust you not to jump across the room and try to eat us, not that you could since we’re so fast.  There’s a reason some monkeys use the phrase ‘cat-like reflexes’.  While our pupils do constrict and dilate based on the ambient light, we will sometimes hone in on prey or the target of an attack by turning our pupils into near slits. Alternately, if we find ourselves under threat our pupils will fully dilate to take in the maximum amount of light so we can more fully take in the scene.

Try to keep these things in mind when trying to get a read on us but remember that each cat is unique and will have their own quirks that will factor into their communication.


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