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Whether you’re human or feline, we all need a helping hand from time to time. Although cats can’t use their voice to tell us exactly what they need, they make sure to let their owner know in another way when they are in distress. So how do cats ask for help?
Cats ask for help using non-verbal cues. They let humans and other cats know when they are in a situation where they need help. Signs asking for help include distress, unusual or excessive meowing, frantic movements or behaviors.
Sometimes it can be difficult 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 help.
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Seven Ways Cats Ask for Help
Cats have all sorts of unique ways to ask for help, but here are seven to watch out for.
Your cat follows you
A cat looking for help with something can use this tactic to make sure you stay in their sights, and you can’t easily forget about them. This is generally not a technique a cat will use in an emergency situation. If your cat follows you around, it’s usually looking for attention.
This behavior is often a sign that your cat is upset about something going on in its living environment, and your cat follows you around because it’s comforting to know where you are. Assess whether another animal or situation is causing them distress in your home.
Your cat meows loudly and continuously
An anxious cat will meow very loudly to project its voice, and you can usually tell by its tone that something is bothering it.
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 it is seeking special attention or help.
They make moans or worried noises.
A cat will often use this technique to ask for help when its owner or someone it trusts isn’t nearby or doesn’t get its attention quickly.
A moaning cat usually uses a very throaty tone, and it’s not hard to tell quickly that it’s a cry for help. Sometimes it can feel like a baby crying or crying for its mother.
Your cat puts its paw in your face
This is one of the most apparent indicators in the cat world that your cat is trying to get your attention. A paw on your leg or on your face is the universal cat sign that it needs you to focus your attention on it.
The reason for the paw on the leg can vary greatly. Sometimes it can be a plea for a pet, while other times it can be a sign that something is wrong.
They are agitated or upset
An agitated or upset cat is often very reactive with their body language. They may lick each other aggressively to calm themselves down.
You may also be able to tell something is wrong based on the amount of tail swiping your cat has. 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 places
If your cat is older, unclean and accident-prone, it’s unlikely that she’ll forget how to use her litter box. Cats that are house trained will sometimes use the bathroom in the house to send you a signal that they are in distress.
This is a common non-verbal signal that cats use if you leave the house and are gone longer than your cat would like.
Sometimes it might not be a way to get attention, but your cat feels pretty bad and has some health issues and couldn’t make it to the litter box. Either way, it should alert you that something is going on that needs your attention.
Your cat refuses to eat
Changing eating habits is one of the cardinal signs that something is wrong with all animals. A cat that stops eating or eats much less is usually a cat that needs help.
Changes in appetite are often linked to an underlying health issue, and this should not be ignored. Cats need to eat and drink enough to maintain their strength on a daily basis, so be sure to take your cat to the vet as soon as you notice any alarming change in their eating habits.
Do cats cry help
Cats scream for help when they feel vulnerable or find themselves in a dangerous situation. However, their “call” for help is unlikely to be a real call. Cats will meow or purr to signal that they need help from their humans.
People often think that cats only purr when they’re happy, but they can also use purring to get attention. Purring is a cat’s way of saying that it would like you to stay put and continue to show it attention, which it may ask for at a time when it feels frightened or vulnerable.
3 warning signs your cat is calling for help
While there are many ways for a cat to seek help, three warning signs to look for are a change in weight, eating habits, or energy level. All of these are signs that your cat needs help.
It takes a lot for a cat to lose its appetite, so when you see a cat suddenly losing a lot of weight or not eating as much as before, it’s often a sign that they are in physical pain.
Animals are very tough creatures and often have a high pain tolerance threshold. By the time you start seeing them asking for help with changing their diet or appetite, they’ve probably been suffering in silence for some time.
When your cat acts up, it’s important to identify the cause of their health issues as soon as possible. If left unresolved, it will likely be fatal for your cat.
How to know if your cat is asking for help
It can be a bit difficult to discern when a cat is asking for help, as their nonverbal cues can also be used to communicate other emotions. The most common way a cat asks for help is to purr, cry or meow.
You can tell if a cat is asking for help with these noises by the tone and duration of their howls. Cats in bad shape will keep asking for help until someone comes to their rescue.
Cats have a sound that is a distress call – a long, shrill whine. Cats reserve this sound for situations where they are in pain, under attack, or need immediate assistance. This distress call has a high pitched tone that makes it easier to tell that your cat is looking for help.
Things to consider
The more years you spend with your cat, the easier it will be for you to understand the nuances of its body language and sounds to help you decipher what your cat is trying to tell you. Over time, you will know when a meow is just a request for food versus a distress signal.
Although cats can’t talk to us and are forced to use non-verbal cues to communicate, they understand more about what’s going on in the human world than we think. Cats implicitly trust their owners to protect them from harm, and conversely, they will easily recognize when a human is also in distress.
They can tell, based on our tone and body language, what emotions and mood we are feeling. Often when cats sense that humans are in distress, they try to comfort you by rubbing against you or meowing.