Cat Body Language
What Is Your Cat Thinking?

Cat body language can be subtle and difficult for us to understand. In the cats world, scent, sound and body posture are all ways to communicate how they are feeling towards other animals and their owners.

By understanding our cat's posture we can both help in times of ill health and prevent injury at times of aggression. Although there is no way for us to know every signal a cat may give off, or even a 100% of their meaning, we can due to many years of observation, have a very close understanding of our cats body language.

The Eyes

We all know that cats have very expressive eyes and they can often be the first indicator of how our cats are feeling.

However depending on the situation they can have different meanings and so it is important to take note of the rest of the cat's body posture to properly ascertain the cat's mood.

Slow blink and narrow pupils- Associated with a contented cat (my cat uses this method to ask me for treats). However if the situation is tense then it can also indicate stress.

Staring eyes without blinking - used to intimidate the other animal. It is used by a very confident cat.  It is a very good indicator that you should not approach the cat at this time.

Fearful cat expression

Happy cat expression

Narrow pupils - cats is feeling happy and relaxed.

Large pupils - Could mean - fear, curiosity, anger or it may simply be that the light is very poor.

The Ears

The use of ears for communication is much more subtle and can change position very quickly.

Ears folded down sideways - Ready to defend themselves from attack and also a sign of submission.

Defensive Cat Body Language

Ears folded down backwards - sign that the cat is about to attack.

The Tail Used In Cat Body Language

The cat's tail is a really good indicator of how our cat is feeling. By taking note of its position and behaviour we can react accordingly to either help or avoid the cat at that time.

Tail straight up while walking - This is a relaxed happy cat.

Tail straight up but with tip curled over - This is still a happy cat but who may be a little cautious about the current situation. Perhaps a new person has come along.

Happy contented cat

Fearful Cat Body Language

Tail between legs and bristling - This is a definite sign of fear. You cat will only do this when they are generally afraid of something or have been taken by surprise.

Tip of tail gently twitching - This is a sign of intense concentration. Your cat is probably looking at something far off which they are trying to watch or work out what it is.

Tip twitching more aggressively - This is a sign of possible annoyance. Whatever they were concentration on has now become a source of concern. Possibly another cat has appeared into the scene.

Tail straight up and fur bristling - This makes the cat appear much bigger than they really are. this is used to fend off an attack from another cat. It is also a warning to other cats to back off.

Tail swishing from to side in a flowing motion - This is a cat who is about to take action. Possibly due to anger or excitement. Used often in aggressive cats.

Rapidly swishing tail - extreme emotion from either anger or excitement. It can be seen used in both times of play and at times of aggression. You have to read the rest of the cat's body language to decide which and also the current situation will help decipher which emotion your cat is displaying.

Body Posture

Lying on back with curled paws - this is mainly used as a passive posture. It is used to indicate to humans and other cats that they are non aggressive and are looking for attention.

The defensive attack posture - used by a cat who is being attacked. A cat will lay on it's back facing the attacker. this allows then to be able to use both paws to defend themselves. they can also use their back legs to repel the oncoming cat.

Tail wrapped round our legs or even around another cat - This is a signal that the cat wants attention. It's a friendly gesture.

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