Cats How-to-read-your-cats-body-language

Published on September 19th, 2014 | by Debbie Martin


How to Read Your Cats Body Language

Do you ever wish that you could talk to your cat and figure out what they are trying to tell you? You can tell a lot about what your cat is thinking and what he is feeling, even though you can’t understand his meows. This is because your cat communicates a lot through the use of body language and if you pay attention, you can pick up on what he is trying to say.

Reading your cats body language can have a number of advantages. It will help you to know when your cat is angry, scared, affectionate, not feeling well, etc. so that you can treat them appropriately. This will help you to be a better cat owner and will strengthen your bond with your feline friend.

Here are some basics when it comes to reading cat body language:

Tail is Up but Relaxed, Ears Face Forward

This body language is telling you that your cat is relaxed, friendly and happy to see you. You will probably see your cat walking toward you like this when you return home from work. When you are approached in this way, give your cat a stroke on the head or the back and it will be a pleasant bonding moment for both of you. Cats also love being gently scratched under the chin.

Tail Moving Rapidly Back and Forth

A cat’s body language is different than a dog – when your pooch wags his tail like this it is a sign that he is happy and excited to see you. However, a cat wagging its tail is a sign that the cat is stressed, agitated and feels threatened. If your cat is exhibiting this body language, it is best to leave them alone – they are feeling annoyed or irritated by your presence.

Lying Outstretched

If your cat is lying on its side on the floor in a relaxed way, you can assume that it trusts you and feels content. Your cat might even have a sleepy look on its face, with eyes half closed. If the cat is sleeping, you should simply leave it alone and let it get some rest. Cats are often more active at night and they sleep a lot during the day, so you will likely find your cat in this position stretched out in a beam of sunlight.

Ears Flattened, Eyes Wide

If your cat has its ears flattened back against its head and its eyes open wide, this is a sign that it is feeling very apprehensive and cautious about the situation. It might be in a new environment where it doesn’t feel comfortable or there might be a dog in the room that is making the cat nervous. Don’t stress your cat out more in this state by trying to pick it up and cuddle it – a nervous cat just wants to retreat to somewhere high up and secure until it feels like the situation is safe again.

Arched Back, Bushy Tail

If you see your cat in the classic “Halloween Cat” position, with an arched back, busy tail and flattened back ears, this is a sign that the feline feels very scared and threatened. The reason why cats do this is because this posture makes them appear bigger and scarier, so that they can defend themselves. Don’t try to interact with or grab a cat that is acting like this, because it will likely bite or scratch. Let the cat run away or hide somewhere until it feels less scared.

Rolling on its Back, Showing Its Belly

If your cat comes up to you with a happy and relaxed posture, then flops on its back and shows you its belly, this is a sign that it feels comfortable with you and trusts you. It is a vulnerable position for a cat because all of its vital organs are exposed, so the cat knows that you will not hurt it.

When your cat does this you can feel free to stroke its head or under its chin. However, be cautious when giving a belly rub. Not all cats enjoy belly rubs as much as dogs do and you might get your hand bitten or clawed.

These are just a few of the basic body language clues that you can look for in your cat, so you can better understand how they are thinking and feeling. Once you start to observe your pet’s body language, you will discover that your cat is telling you a lot without ever saying a word!

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About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.

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