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  1. ITV Report

Poll reveals cats' communication woes

Do you know what this cat is thinking? Photo: Patrick Pleul/DPA/Press Association Images

Feline blue and misunderstood? Spare a thought for cats whose owners can not tell when they are happy or sad, according to a new poll.

Two-thirds of people who own cats are unaware that purring is a sign of pain as well as contentment, the survey for the charity Cats Protection revealed.

The poll also found that more than two-thirds - 67 percent - do not recognise a tail in the air as a sign of greeting.

Of those owners surveyed, 49 percent are not aware that licking lips is a sign of stress in cats rather than an indication that they are feeling hungry or have a dry mouth.

Two thirds of cat owners are unaware that purring is a sign of pain as well as contentment. Credit: Jochen Luebke/DPA/Press Association Images

More than a third of cat owners do not know that scared cats move their ears down, the survey suggests.

And 27 percent mistakenly think that malting is a cat's way of marking its territory, when felines actually mark their territory by rubbing their faces against furniture.

But it is not all bad news for cats - 69 percent of owners can tell that a slow blinking cat is relaxing, while 68 percent knew that a cat with its stomach on show is giving a relaxed greeting.

The online survey, carried out by ICM for Cats Protection, interviewed 1,100 cat owners.