How Do Cats Ask For Help – Communication & Body Language

No matter if you are human or feline, we all need a helping hand from time to time. While cats cannot use their voice to tell us exactly what they need, they make sure to let their owner know in other ways when they are in distress. So, how do cats ask for help?

Cats ask for help by using nonverbal cues. They let humans and other cats know when they are in a situation where they need assistance. Signs asking for help include distressed or excessive meowing, frantic movements, or unusual behaviors.

Sometimes it may be tricky to understand what a cat is trying to say to communicate to you. Read on to learn how to recognize when a cat is asking for help and what you can do to assist them.

Seven Ways Cats Ask For Help

Cats have all sorts of unique ways to ask for help, but here are seven to keep an eye out for.

Your Cat Follows You

A cat looking for help with something may employ this tactic to make sure you stay in their line of sight, and you cannot easily forget about them. This is usually not a technique a cat will use in an urgent situation. If your cat is following you around, they are usually looking for some attention.

This behavior often is a sign that your cat is distressed about something going on in their living environment, and your cat is following you around because it is comforting to them to know where you are. Evaluate whether another animal or a situation is causing them distress within your home.

You Cat Is Meowing Loudly And Continuously

An anguished cat will meow very loudly to project their voice, and you can usually detect based on their tone that something is upsetting them.

Some cats are more vocal than others, so if you have a cat that rarely uses its voice to communicate, meowing is an even more vital sign that they are looking for special help or attention.

They are making wailing or concerned noises.

A cat will often use this technique to ask for help when its owner or a trusted individual is not nearby or is not quickly coming to their attention.

A cat that is wailing usually uses a very guttural tone, and it is not difficult to quickly distinguish this is a cry for help. Sometimes it can sound like an infant crying or wailing for their mother.

Your Cat Puts Their Paw In Your Face

This is one of the most apparent indicators in the cat world that your cat is trying to get you to pay attention. A paw on your leg or in your face is the universal cat sign that they need you to focus your attention on them.

The reason behind the paw on the leg can significantly vary. Sometimes this may be a plea for a pet, while other times, it could be a sign that something is wrong.

They Are Agitated Or Upset

A cat that is agitated or upset often is very reactive with its body language. They may be aggressively licking themselves as a way to self-soothe.

You may also be able to tell something is off by how much your cat is swatting their tail around. A cat that uses a lot of body language is often trying to let you know something is going on.

Your Cat Uses The Bathroom In Random Locations

If your cat is older, housebroken, and not accident-prone, it is unlikely they would forget how to use their litter box. Cats that are house trained sometimes will use the bathroom in the house to send a signal to you that they are in distress.

This is common nonverbal signal cats use if you leave the house and are going for longer than your cat would like.

Sometimes it may not be a way to get attention, but rather your cat is feeling quite poorly and is experiencing some health trouble and wasn’t able to make it to the litter box. Either way, this should signal to you that something is going on that needs attention.

Your Cat Is Refusing To Eat

Change in eating patterns is one of the cardinal signs that something is wrong with all animals. A cat that stops eating or is eating a lot less is usually a cat that needs help.

Changes in appetite are often linked to an underlying health problem, and this should not be ignored. Cats need to be eating and drinking enough to keep their strength up daily, so make sure to bring your cat to the vet as soon as you see an alarming change in their eating patterns.

Do Cats Cry For Help

Cats cry for help when they are feeling vulnerable or are in a dangerous situation. However, their “cry” for help is unlikely to be a genuine cry. Cats will either meow or purr to signal that they require help from their humans.

People often think that cats purr only when they are happy, but they can also use purring to get attention. Purring is a cat’s way of saying they would like you to stay put and continue showing them attention, which they may request in a time when they are feeling afraid or vulnerable.

3 Warning Signs You Cat Is Crying For Help

While there are many ways a cat can ask for help, three warnings signs to look for are a change in their weight, eating patterns, or energy levels. All of these are cues that your cat needs help.

It takes a lot for a cat to lose their appetite, so when you see a cat that is suddenly losing a lot of weight or not eating as much as it used to, it’s often a sign they are in physical pain.

Animals are very tough creatures and often have a high pain tolerance threshold. At the point where you begin to see them asking for help through changes in their diet or appetite, they have likely been suffering silently for a while.

It’s important when your cat is acting to pinpoint what is causing their health troubles as quickly as possible. If this is not resolved, it will likely be fatal for your cat.

How Do You Know If Your Cat Is Asking For Help

It can be a bit difficult to discern when a cat is asking for help because its nonverbal cues can also be used to communicate other emotions. The most common way a cat asks for help is through purring, crying, or meowing.

You can tell if a cat is asking for help with these noises based on its tone and how long its howling lasts. Cats in a bad situation will continue to signal for help until someone comes to their rescue.

Cats do have one sound that is a distress call- a long shrill wail. Cats reserve this sound for situations where they are in pain, under attack, or in need of immediate assistance. This distress call has a sharp tone that makes it easier to tell your cat is seeking help.

Things To Consider

The more years you spend with your cat, it will be easier to understand the nuances of their body language and sounds to help decipher what your cat is trying to tell you. Over time, you will tell when a meow is just a request for food versus a distress signal.

While cats cannot talk to us and are forced to use nonverbal cues to communicate, they do understand more of what is going on in the human world than we may believe. Cats implicitly trust their owners to protect them from harm, and they, in reverse, will easily recognize when a human is in distress as well.

They can tell based on our tone and body language what emotions and mood we are feeling. Often when cats sense humans are in distress, they will attempt to comfort you by nuzzling close to you or meowing.


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