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Understanding Your Cat's Body Language

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Published: 12/18/2020
Cats are emotionally intelligent creatures who know where to look to obtain maximum snuggles and love. And because our cats are so special to us, they are hard to resist when they come calling for attention.

Do you ever look at your cat when they crawl into your lap? Do you wonder what they are trying to tell you with their postures and facial expressions? READ ON to find out!

Cats have emotions just like humans do.

Knowing how your cat feels is key to a loving relationship. Sure, we can shower them with toys and healthy food, but being aware of their emotional needs is important, too. 

When you understand your cat’s body language, it goes a long way to purr-fecting an already beautiful relationship!

Cracking the code of cat communication:

#1. The ears

  • When your feline four-legger is feeling alert, playful, and ready to interact with you, they will most likely carry their ears forward and straight up.
  • If your cat’s ears are turned back, it’s not the time to engage them. They may be anxious, over-stimulated, or even irritated. 
  • When your kitty’s ears are lying flat, they are feeling miffed and defensive, and maybe even a little afraid. Give your cat space in this case!

#2. The eyes

  • Have you ever noticed when your furbaby purrs, their eyes often close? This is a sign of a happy cat, confident in their surroundings.
  • Slow blinking means your cat feels you are trustworthy.
  • Wide-open eyes can mean a few things. Your cat may be surveying their domain because they are feeling apprehensive.
  • If your kitty’s eyes are wide open and the pupils enlarged, they may be nervous. Wide pupils and half-closed eyes can mean the cat is agitated and may strike out. If you sense they are afraid, you can try to provide a diversion. But if they clearly want to be left alone, go ahead and let them do their own thing!

#3. The tail

  • A sure sign of a happy cat is a tail carried high. Is the tail also bending to the side? Playtime is here! Grab your best furiend’s favorite toy and have some one-on-one fun!
  • A stiff tail carried high means your cat may be ready to pounce.
  • Is your feline roommate a hunter? A twitching tail means they are on the lookout.
  • Tail twitching fast? Your cat may be in a tense mood and ready to defend. Let them go about their hunt!
  • Flicking the tail may signify alertness, while the fast shaking or vibration-like movement of the tail can mean excitement. Cats will also flick their tails before spraying urine. It may be somewhat of a mystery until it happens!

#4. The body position

  • Cats who are lying in a small and curled up shape may be feeling vulnerable and afraid. It’s a protective mode for animals who feel as though they may be prey.
  • Furry felines who are stretched out do not feel threatened at all. They are relaxed and content.
  • A cat crouching low to the ground and standing still is not comfortable.

#5. The body stance

  • Standing with an arched back typically means a cat is frightened or trying to make themselves look more intimidating in the case of a fight between felines. They may be readying themselves for what is to come next.
  • If your cat is pointing their head and body in your direction, they are ready for interaction and cuddling or play.
  • Cats who feel timid in the presence of strangers, for example, will stand in a sideways position, ready to make an escape if the opportunity arises.

#6. The whiskers

  • Not to be forgotten, the whiskers have something to say, too. If your cat’s whiskers are facing forward, they are feeling brave and ready for anything.
  • Whiskers close to the face may indicate fearfulness.

A cat lying on their back can entail many options.

When your cat is lying on their back with feet splayed wide, it could mean a couple of things. The exposed belly appears to be an open invitation for a belly rub, and this may be the case. But it could also mean that a hand poised over the belly is an open target for your pet’s claws to wrap around it.

So lying with an open belly may be an expression of trust or as a defense against aggression. Beware, your cat will surprise you!

Cats also bring a package of communication.

What does your cat’s body language mean? Cats can be sometimes hard to read, and even more so because the body language they project isn’t always an open book. 

The thing to remember is to take the subtle cues you are given and read them as best you can. It’s simple really; give your cat alone time when they want it and welcome them with open arms when they are ready for affection!



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