We Finally Know What It Means When Your Cat Purrs And Meows

Cats are without a doubt one of the most majestic, sassy and affectionate animals. We all wish we could live the leisurely life of a cat that revolves around eating, drinking, sleeping, belly cuddles and the odd outside exploration. We also all wish we could have a cat, someone to come home to that doesn’t ask for all your attention but is there for cuddles when you want them.

For those of us who are lucky enough to have a cat there is one thing we can agree on – we speak their language. We know when they are annoyed and we know when they want food – they sit in the kitchen crying and pawing at your legs. The truth is, while we think we know what they are saying we don’t.

Things have changed and now we can translate everything our cats do thanks to a new video from New York Magazine’s Science of Us series.

Behold, life-changing cat facts!


Purr: “Don’t go anywhere. I like you around.”

Cats purr when they are happy, this is something the Human Society has confirmed. But they also purr when they are injured and sick. In short, if your cat is purring they probably want you around – yay!

Fast tail swishes: “I’m scared, and I’m in attack mode.”

You know your cat is about to pounce at your feet when they are wagging their tail like this! It also means that they are afraid, so if they are in a safe place and not playing with you make sure they are okay but let them come out in their own time.

Rub against your legs = “You’re back. I missed you!”

When you get home after a long day and your cat smudges your leg sometimes you want to cry with joy and your heart explodes with happiness (or is that just me …) According to the Humane Society he could also be marking his territory! Either way, we all know that the cat owns us not the other way round.

Hiss = “If you don’t back off, I’m gonna try to fight.”

Remember that time you locked your cat in your room so it would cuddle you and it hissed when you picked it up … you pissed it off! Cats hiss because they would rather physical confrontation, so they let you know they are annoyed without hurting you.


Meow = Everything. “I need food,” or “I want help,” or “I’m bored.”

For a cat meowing is the go-to word, do they want food? Meow! Do they want to be picked up? Meow! Do they want to be let out? Meow. You get the drift.


Watch the full video below