Cat Behaviour Course for Hoomans: easy guide on how to understand your cat

Reading this short cat behaviour course post, you will fully understand all the details about how your cat is trying to communicate with you.

We must admit it: As cats, we’re not easily open to new things.

We’re scared of the unknown in such an instinctive, blood-boiling manner, you hoomans can’t even imagine.

The problem we cats have with you, is that there is no possible way to discern good hooman from bad hooman. Look at how flawed and complicated the hooman-cat relationship has been through history.

So most cats just stick with the safest answer: All is evil until it proves itself safe.

grumpy cat meme
Some catos are extremely hard to befriend, but it’s worth the effort, guaranteed.

Above all,  cats are cautious.

If a hooman understands this, it’s already a long way walked forward.

However, for those cat loving hoomans that want a deeper (but still comprehensive) cat behaviour course, we have prepared the following:


This course is a short, fun, and concise guide to understanding all catos. We may be a bit more complicated to domesticate than other animals, but your prejudices don’t help.

Just like dogs and other pets, we only require love and companionship.

Even if we don’t beg for it, we want it.

We usually just ask for it in our own quirky, fun way.

Let me use an example:

When a dogo is pushing on you, you know he wants something. When a dogo destroys your house while you out, it’s because he misses you.

Therefore, it’s only dogo stress because such love for hoomans.

Now, what you need to know:

When a cato pushes stuff out from a shelf is because he wants your attention. Same when he is scratching the same couch spot you keep trying to teach him to stop doing his nails on.

It’s not because we’re evil. If catos are evil, then dogos are, too.

The fact that some hoomans think catos are all about destroying and abusing people’s generosity, makes clear how this comprehensive cat behaviour course was such a need.

But as you may be beginning to suspect, understanding a cat is way easier than you first thought.

For instance, this is why this cat behaviour course is so short and spot-on.

You essentially need three master lessons to decode your cat’s behaviour:

  1. Personality
  2. Communication skills
  3. Social behaviour

Just scroll up and down until you find what you’re missing.


We hate being alienated by bigotry just like every hooman does. Every cat has its own unique view of the world, which give us different personality traits. Just like you hoomans do.

We develop our own concept of reality during the first half year of our existence.

If we’ve been kicked around in the streets, or abandoned by some other hooman, we’ll be introverted. And likely fearful of anything that moves and is bigger than us.

If we’ve been in a loving home, we’ll be social (and likely, fat).

Those six months are crucial to shape our personality. After that, our ways are settled and can’t hardly be changed.

two major cat personality groups

To sum up catos personality, check this pic we made for all our hoomun frends:

CAT BEHAVIOUR COURSE lesson 2: Communication skills

After this short insight on cat’s personalities, next step in our cat behaviour course is to teach you how we’ve been trying communicate with hoomans.

Hoomans use very complex facial expressions and words to communicate.

On the other hand, cats have ez social behaviors, such as sounds, actions, and body expressions.

Technically, it would be nearly impossible for hoomans to understand all our social behaviors or language.

But hoomans have learned how to decode some of our vocal sounds, tactile contact, and body postures.

By the way, even vaguely understanding what your cat is trying to tell you through his sounds or body cues and clues, can make such a big difference . We perceive and are grateful for your effort.

Reading on a specific cat’s social behaviour can also help you figure out if you’re dealing with a social cat, or if you’re dealing with the more frustrating (but still pawsome) timid cat. Purremember we all deserve to be loved equally.

hooman-cat dictionary

There’s not better way for us catos to pass this information to hoomans, that in a short, concise way.

That is to say, we want you to understand us, without giving you the impression it is a complicated thing to achieve.

For that purpose, we carefully crafted this dictionary. So hoomans can get finally a clue, about what catos are trying to communicate them.



First thing you need to read on a cat, is it’s body language.

If you’re able to tell whether your cat is fine or not, you’ll likely be approaching him in more appropriate ways depending on the situation.

That is to say , enhancing your cat communication skills, will help you bond with your cat a lot easier

Cat arches its back with its fur standing on end and the tail becomes puffed or bristled:
cat behaviour course - Frightened cat illustration.

This usually means the cat is surprised or frightened.

It makes the cat appear larger, creating a defense mechanism used to intimidate the enemy.

Cat’s tail is swaying or flicking:
cat behaviour course - Hunting cat illustration.

This is normally a sign we’re watching something very intriguing. We are getting ready to pounce on an unsuspecting thing.

Likewise, it could also be an aggressive motion towards you. We not aware of how cute we look to you, we just wanna play catch and prey.

Cat’s tail is lashing back and forth quickly:
cat behaviour course - Angry cat illustration.

This is normally the sign of an angry or aggressive cat. You should never try to pick up, comfort or cuddle him at that particular time…

…or you could end up scratched or bitten, as the cat’s adrenaline will be flowing.

Cat greets you or greets another cat with its tail held straight up in the air or slightly curled:
cat behaviour course - Happy cat illustration.

This is a good indication that the cat is happy, relaxed and content.

Cat kneads you, paws you, or turns on its back, stomach up for you to rub its tummy*:
cat behaviour course - Kneading cat illustration.

This means the cat is very happy, content and well adjusted.

cat behaviour course - Stomach up cat illustration.

*Not all cats like you to rub their tummy. Actually, we consider it a sign of extreme trust precisely because we don’t usually show our belly around. Consequently , it may be awkward to some catos if you touch them there for no reason, or without previous adjusting.

Cat’s ears are pinned or pulled back against its head:
Stressed cat illustration.

This normally expresses fear, dislike or stress. Nothing good. Give him space. Talk soft to the cat.

Twitching ears that are straight up:
cat behaviour course - Concentrated cat illustration.

Cat hears, sees, or is listening to something. Do not bother, much concentrated.

Cat’s ears that point upward and slightly forward:
cat behaviour course - Relaxed cat illustration.

This means a content, happy, relaxed cato.


With the years, catos understood hoomans weren’t that good at reading body language.

So we learned to communicate with you using sounds.

Loud, demanding meow:

Cat is hungry and ready for dinner, wants attention, or has a dirty litter box that requires changing.

Tiny little mews or sweet, soft meows:

Cat’s way of asking for attention, petting sessions, play time, treats, or just saying thank you for loving them.


Easily recognized sound that most people associate with a happy, peaceful, contented cat.

However, cats also purr when they are injured and in pain. It’s our good-vibe-emanating healing mechanism.

Throaty yowling sound:

Cat is scared. No touch. Get cat away from focus of fear, if you can.

If he’s clearly showing signals that you shouldn’t approach, make sure you get away any focus of discomfort.

Lock away the cat leading him with treats if needed. Cat need lots of foods: Cat is upset.

Screaming sound:

The cat is in pain, unless it’s an hormone-related moaning.

You should either way take your cat to the vet, to make sure everything is okay.

Hissing and spitting:

Cat is super scared. No looking at cat. Cat will destroy your face if you approach him.

Do what is in your hands to help the cat relax. Sometimes it helps if the hooman just leaves the room and lets the cat be alone for 5 min.

Consider getting the cat neutered. It will help with a lot of behavioural nuisances related to hormones. This applies either to in-home and outdoor domestic catos.

Neutering helps us control our colonies. Moreover, it also leads the catos to more calm and therefore happy lives, in a healthy community environment. Certainly, it does look much more of a deal to hoomans, than it does to cats.

reverse formula:

This formula is an easy reminder of how easy it is to make a cat feel comfortable in any situation:

Treats + Familiar-smelling cat bed = happy, relaxed cato.

CAT BEHAVIOUR COURSE lesson 3: social behaviour

This would be the last step of this cat behaviour course. Cat’s social behaviour is tightly linked to our personality, and easy to read through our communication skills.

If you live with a social cat, it will be a lot easier to introduce new family members, move to some other location, or training him.

But it may not be easy. However, you should not worry. There are several ways to introduce any cato to new family pets, children, or situations.

But first, you need to earn the cat’s trust, otherwise you won’t be making any progress soon.

Hence, once you’ve made sure you got your cat’s trust, you can use the next info to check in your feline frend’s social behaviour.

How cats expect to interact…

…with dogs

Even if introducing us may be difficult at the beginning, it is certainly worth the effort.

To begin with, never just throw them together figuring they will work it out.

This could be very stressful on both the dogo and the cato.

Also, in a few cases, it can get very dangerous for the cato. Because some dogos consider catos prey and foods.

Incidentally, dogos will chase or attack us instinctively.

Generally, to properly introduce a cat and a dog, you can follow the next steps on how catos expect to be introduced to hooman kiddos.

…with hooman kiddos

When discussing with your child about getting a cat, most kids will be enthusiastic and thrilled with the idea.

If they’re not, maybe you should worry about your kids first.

In the first place, is important to teach your child to treat us with respect, care, and gentleness. We’re not toys.

Later, introduce cat and child to each other slowly.

In the meantime make sure that the child is gentle, and does not make a lot of noise or sudden movements.

Finally, let the kid give the cat treats. Always works for bonding.

…with other pets

Don’t forget we’re natural predators.

Therefore, we cannot be trusted with other pets, such as small furry animals or feathered frends.

Accordingly, make sure to keep the little pets safe by having your bird, hamster, or other small animals, in cat proof enclosures.

As a rule, make sure that our agile paws cannot open things with foods inside.

Keep your bird’s cage out of the reach of catos.

Put hiding spots inside hamster cages, so the can hide and not poo their tiny pants because of us.

…with other catos

Introducing catos to other catos is very similar to introducing a cato to a dogo or to a kiddo:

  1. Put each other apart and protected.
  2. Introduce each other slowly.
  3. Make sure both parts feel safe.
  4. When they don’t, put them apart again.
  5. Find ways to make both parts relate each other with good stuff.
  6. If you persevere, both parts will get used to each other and trust you as their mediator.

bottom line

If a cat is obviously scared of you, you need to entice his interest. As a rule, you can do that with good foods or toys.

Cats are in for the good life, and we know you hoomans can bring that in for us.

Above all, you need to relate those good times, to you, hooman. This is how you win a cat.

If you play, we play along. If you don’t… meowllright. We go chase birds & stuff.

Certainly, hoomans don’t need complicated lessons and courses to understand cats, it only takes a bit of empathy.

For instance, I’m sure you’ve learned enough about cats with this very short cat behaviour course.

cat physical cues & clues illustrations by Sergi Martin
cat sounds courtesy of Jeroen Kessels

If you’ve got any doubt, or if you think we forgot something, tell us in the comments, purrrrrlease. We here to help!

Meows Truly,

1 thought on “Cat Behaviour Course for Hoomans: easy guide on how to understand your cat”

  1. Hello! What a wonderful place for those who love cats.
    It’s amazing how you to collect all this information about the behavior of our feline friends.
    This website is already in my favorites!


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