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Cat Chat: San Diego Expert Decodes Feline Language

Cat Says 'I Love You'

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Feline fluency may be the key to understanding cats, mysterious creatures who may confuse even their owners, a San Diego animal expert said.

Some say cats are aloof, standoffish and sometimes seem unknowable. But that's not exactly true, according to a new book, "How to Speak Cat: A Guide To Decoding Cat Language." It’s co-authored by Gary Weitzman, president of the San Diego Humane Society.

“Cats wouldn’t be with us if they didn’t need us,” Weitzman told KPBS Midday Edition on Tuesday.

He said our cat companions are trying to communicate with us every day by their behavior, expressions and meows.

When they blink at you, it’s a sign of affection, said Weitzman, who is also a veterinarian.

“There’s a couple of things that make me fall in love with a cat — one is that blink, an appreciation of that one person,” he said. “Cats generally only blink at one person.”

Other expressions include flat whiskers, which mean to stay away, or erect ears, which mean the cat is happy.

But sounds like purrs and meows could mean different things. Weitzman suggested recording your cat during different times of the day as a means of understanding their different purrs and meows.

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