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Eyes that talk

 | June 20, 2012

Since cats rely heavily on their eyes for effective communication, it would do you a world of good to remember these tips when dealing with them.


If the eyes are the windows to the human soul, then you’ve got more in common with your cat than you know.

Experts in cat behaviour have long known that a cat uses her eyes to convey anger, annoyance, happiness, love and a multitude of other more subtle emotions.

Cat Whisperer Stephanie Harkins says, “Cats have a highly complex vocal and gesture system that allows them to communicate in great detail with both humans and each other.”

In her experiments with her own cats, Stephanie found that to ‘talk’ effectively to your cat, you must make eye contact with her.

Here’s an easy experiment you can try today on your own feline friend.

If you want your cat to come sit on your lap, make eye contact with her for two full seconds, then look at where you want her to come (on your lap), look back at her for a full second, then look elsewhere afterwards.

Stephanie says, “You may have to do this two or three times before your cat understands that YOU understand the whole ‘eye thing’.” Pretty soon you will be able to do this without any hesitance on your cat’s part.

Here are more fascinating ‘cat eye’ gestures that say loads…

  • Eyes wide open and looking to you – she’s attentive and alert and listening to what you’re saying to her.
  • Eyes close all the way for a split second or stay half closed – she has absolute trust in you.
  • Eye pupils dilated – oh no, she’s angry and if given the chance, she’ll attack.
  • Eye pupils in slits – she’s feeling pretty perky and confident today.
  • Bug-eyes – she’s frightened!
  • Blinking and winking – she’s engaging in kitty chatter, probably saying how much she loves you.
  • Clouded eyes – she’s ill or she’s extremely relaxed.

Since cats rely heavily on their eyes for effective communication, it would do you a world of good to remember this when dealing with them.

For instance, if you wish to make friends with a new cat, best not to stare at her directly in the eye.

Cats take staring as a personal challenge – if she’s a timid cat, she’ll shy away and your chance at a friendship goes up in smoke.

If she’s a feisty one, she just might take you up on a challenge and fight you.

So no matter how beautiful she is to look at, look away – at least until she’s warmed up to you somewhat.

If she allows you to pet her, close your own eyes while looking at her – you are telling her you trust her and wish to be best friends forever.

Remember she’s reading your eyes all the time for signals of your temperament too. So when mingling with cats, be conscious of this fascinating form of ‘talking’ – it will take your relationship with kitty to a whole new dimension.



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