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  • David Huzzard

Cats Are Not Subtle


While understanding dogs and their body language and communication can be confusing at times. Dog communication is subtle and nuanced. consider the importance of tail and ear position and how just a small shift is the difference between a relaxed dog and one in an aroused state. Cats are not subtle. That is because cats are more vocal than dogs.

While dogs can vocalize in different manners and have different barks for playing and threatening they can only make about 10-15 sounds while cats can make over 100. Cats don't meow for other cats. Cats have fine tuned their meow specifically for communication with humans.

Think about the last time you met a cat that didn't want you near them versus a dog. Some dogs will growl and bare teeth until you back off or force them to take a different action. Cats vocalize their displeasure with your presence by hissing, spitting, or growling and assuming a threatening position. If you continue to approach them they will either swat at you or run away. Dogs on the other hand if not the growling type will often let unwanted people approach them but assume either frightened or threatening body position with little to no vocalization. Some of that with dogs may be our fault as many dogs have been taught that growling is bad.

Around 80% of human to human communication is body language. Humans have developed many rich and complex languages during our time on this planet and they matter far less in our communication with each other than our body language. When we transfer that to animals body language has to be more important as we don't share a common language, but cats have learned to communicate with us in our preferred style. Your cat is hungry he will meow at you and pace the floor until you get up and follow to his or her food bowl. Our hound dog vocalizes more than many dogs but his preferred method of asking for food is to sit and stare at the closet. it's when we don't listen to that that he will start howling and he only does that when we move and he thinks he's about to get what he wants.

Cats on the other hand have a vocalization for everything and it is mostly designed to communicate with us. While cats do vocalize for other cats they communicate far more through scent marking and body language with their fellow cats. When I volunteered at the shelter there was a great and observable difference in how the cats in the cat colonies interacted with each other versus humans. You can go an watch this for yourself and while there pick out a cat to give a forever home.

Cats are not subtle creatures. They want what they want and they will get it. If Bagheera wants in my lap it doesn't matter if their is a book or a video game controller blocking his path he is getting in my lap. When we've provided cat sitting for unfriendly cats we've been well aware they weren't fond of our presences when they hissed and growled, and when we've cat sat for scared cats we've known because they made themselves scarce. Cats let us know what they want in a variety of ways and they aren't subtle about it. If Bagheera wants something he's a ball of action where Riley will sit an whine on the couch while we try and guess if he wants to go outside or is tired of waiting for dinner time and wants to be fed early.

#Cats #Communication #CatCommunication #CatSitting #PetSitting