While cats can verbalize their feelings through meows, chirps and growls, being able to interpret their body language is key for communication. Over time, cats can learn to understand and recognize tones of voice and mood, especially when their owners use them consistently. Keep in mind that cats and humans sometimes have contradictory body language, and while a human may stare at their pet to show affection, a cat often interprets direct eye contact as a challenge or threat.
A Cat primarily reveals its mood through its ears and tail. Ears flicked forward indicate interest or happiness, while a tail tucked low and between its legs betrays fear and anxiety. Slow, languid blinks are a cat's way of greeting its owner with affection. Although purring is most often interpreted as a sign of happiness and relaxation, a cat may also purr to comfort itself when stressed or afraid.
When talking to a cat, tone of voice is more important than the words. When offering a treat or calling its name, use a high-pitched voice, and beckon with a hand. When correcting its behavior, use a firm, loud voice accompanied with a hand gesture to show the cat what it needs to do. Almost every cat interprets a hissing noise as a warning to go away.