Read My Tail: Communication Advice from My Cat

Tuffy, a small white ball of fur, entered my life at the end of 2006.  She came with my mother.  She came with fleas.  My mother has since passed on, but Tuffy remains.  The fleas, thankfully, are gone.  Today, Tuffy is my guest blogger on the topic of communication.

Tuffy Windingland:

Thanks, Diane, for the purrrfect opportunity to share what I’ve learned about communication.  You know, cat-human communication has a lot of similarities to human-human communication, although we cats don’t need to resort to all those words that you humans find necessary.  “Tuffy, get off the table!  Tuffy, don’t throw up on the carpet!  Tuffy . . . blah, blah, blah.” Wasted breath.  It doesn’t work well on children, spouses or employees, either.

Here are 3 of my top tips on communication:

1.  Read my Tail.  Body language is the kingpin of face-to-face communication. (Is it weird for a cat to use a bowling analogy?  Oh, well. I suppose no weirder than a cat blogging.)  If your body language says one thing and your voice or words say another, guess what people (and cats) are going to believe?  The interpretation of body language, especially facial expressions cuts across species.  Cat or human, we all can tell that this expression means “angry:”

(BTW to Diane:   Sorry, Diane, about refusing to pose for the angry cat picture.  I’ll admit, I didn’t appreciate your efforts to get me to pose for that one.  Actually, I was a little annoyed that you hauled me in front of the mirror to take the top pic with your cell phone.  Don’t you know to let sleeping cats lie?)

2.  Talk pretty.  Use a pretty, pleasant voice and you can say almost anything.  Yes, Diane, I know you think it’s funny when you say things like “You’re a stupid, stupid kitty” in the same voice as “You’re a pretty, pretty kitty” and I purr and expose my belly.  But, it gets you to pet me, right?  Refer to #1.  Not so stupid, am I?

3. Don’t ignore me, unless I want to be ignored.  I know all the communication books (and even my lovely owner) tell you to “pay attention” to other people.  Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s behind* if you just leave me alone.  Unless, of course, I want your attention.  Humans are are more needy than cats.  Poor things.  All I really need is food, water and a clean litter box (hint, hint).  But humans need social interaction and the simplest social interaction is just to pay attention and listen.  I guess that’s one reason people have pets.  They can blabber on and on and not get interrupted.

OK, if you want some really practical advice on communication, especially for you business types (you know, you types who really hate getting pet fur on your clothes before you run out the door), I suggest you grab a copy of Diane’s book Small Talk Big Results: Chit Chat Your Way to Success!  She made me listen to her read it out loud when she was editing it, so I know what I’m talking about, but Amazon won’t let me put up a review.

Well, I’m going to take another nap!  I hope you enjoyed my communication tips!


*As a guest blogger, I have tried to avoid vulgarities, so I didn’t use the usual phrase for “rat’s behind.”  It is an interesting phrase with an even more interesting history.



About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

5 Responses to Read My Tail: Communication Advice from My Cat

  1. Tuffy – aren’t you a clever cat! Now, I have a body language question – what does it mean when your tail is wagging / moving all of the time? In my experience, and as an image consultant and body language “reader,” it means you are angry. But if you are purring and moving your tail, what does that mean? Thank you for your guest post. Diane’s friend and colleague, Monica

    • Monica–
      You are right that a “wagging” tail for a cat usually means that the cat is angry, especially if it is a fast wag. Here’s a good pictorial representation of “tail language:” Of course, there are other “tail language” meanings not represented there. One is something my roommate, Diamond does (she’s not a roommate by choice– she lived with my family before me). When she is excited about something her whole tail “shivers.” She is so weird!

      • Bonnie McClain says:

        Tuffy made the same point as my granddaughter Novi. Novi came home from school and told her mother that her new classmate, a little boy named Abdul, keeps pulling her hair despite the request to ‘please stop’. Novi’s mother reminded her that Abdul may not have understood her due to a language difference…to which Novi exclaimed ” he understood me because I told him to stop using my angry face!” Just a note here…I’ve seen Novi’s ‘angry face’ and I have to agree with her, Abdul understood.

  2. Linda says:

    I have a cat who lost his back right leg 2 years ago. He’s very into me. But if I go away for a few days for work he attacks me like he’s mad. Winter time he stays in but @ 4:00am he cries . And he’s board. I want to get another cat to keep him company. Im thinking he will except a kitten. What do u think.

    • Hi, Linda- Another cat might provide companionship or might be merely tolerated. If you are up to having another cat, I’d introduce another cat when you will be home for a few days. I’d probably introduce the new cat or kitten by putting the newcomer in a cat carrier (with litterbox and some food and water) in a common area for a day and let them get used to seeing each other.

      Sent from my iPad

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