Cat Body Language: How To Understand It

What is your cat trying to tell you? You can pick up on a cat’s body language by following these steps.

It can be difficult to read cats because, unlike dogs, they do not give off the same physical or vocal clues to tell you what they’re thinking. When you want to understand what’s going on in a cat’s mind, you need to study their body language and vocalizations closely. Here are some starting points to help you understand cats and what they’re trying to tell you, but remember that every cat is unique, so getting to know your friend is the best way to understand her needs.

Relaxed mood

In a relaxed mood, your cat will usually have her whiskers forward, both ears perked up, and her paws tucked into her body. A cat’s body language can also indicate that it is completely relaxed and at ease by blinking softly (you may have seen Jackson Galaxy do this in the television series, My Cat from Hell), kneading, rubbing her head on you, or simply sitting or lying in a relaxed posture instead of being ready to attack or dart off. A cat’s vocalizations are likely to be an adorably curious “meow,” or she may purr.

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Nervous and uncertain mood

You might see your cat with one ear up and the other facing backward if she’s nervous or unsure of the current situation. She may also be licking her lips or stiffening her body with her ears facing upward. You may notice that your cat retreats away from you rather than looking at you directly, hissing, yowling, or letting out an uneasy “meow.”

The mood is frightened

Fearful cats usually stare at you wide-eyed. A cat’s pupils can be very dilated or very constrictive, so it is important to observe more than just the eyes when analyzing its body language. There will be a pressing down of the ears and the return of whiskers. Take care to avoid being bitten or scratched if your cat holds one of her front paws up before striking. If a cat is afraid, she will attack to defend herself, even if she isn’t usually aggressive. Cats with arched backs, fat tails, and fur standing on end along their spines may also be startled.

Cats’ Real Thoughts about You

Anger is my mood

If a cat is angry, he or she will attack, so handling an angry cat needs to be handled with care. Your cat will typically give you a hard stare to let you know she means business. In addition, you’ll notice that the body is poised for action, perhaps with a paw up and ready to strike. Despite the fact that the rest of the body appears relaxed, the tail will be stiff and wagging aggressively to let you know she’s angry, proving just how difficult it can be to determine a cat’s emotions. However, growling and hissing are sure signs that your cat is angry.

Cats may be difficult to understand at first because they don’t wag their tails with delight, stick out their tongues to lick you, or exhibit the other typical signs associated with dogs. You should proceed with caution when meeting a new cat who does not readily exhibit the signs of relaxation. Understanding cat body language, as well as their vocalizations, will make gauging a kitten’s approachability much easier.

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