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Understanding Cat Body Language

Knowing your cat’s tendencies and indicators is vital to having a successful relationship with them. Although similar in some ways, cats are very different from dogs and their body language should be taken seriously as it can tell you exactly what they want or need. To browse our top insights for understanding cat body language, keep reading!

Tails Tell A Lot

A cat’s tail says a lot about their mood. From in the air and relaxed to low and tucked, here’s what a cat’s tail has to say:

  • High in the air and relaxed. This indicates that your cat is happy and ready to play if you’re up for it. In most cases, this position is desired because it means that your cat is at its best.
  • High in the air and tense. This position shows that your cat feels potentially threatened and is ready to fight if necessary. Additionally, this action tends to come with bristled fur.
  • High in the air and quivering. This kind of tail is shown when your furry friend is super excited and will likely spray or urinate to prove it. This position is uncommon and usually found in cats that are unspayed or unneutered.
  • Low and tucked. This indicates that your cat is feeling afraid and is trying to make itself as small as possible to hide from the situation.
  • Flicking back and forth. This fierce movement shows that your cat is slightly agitated and wants to be left alone. Or, in some cases, it could also mean that your cat is on high alert.

Stances Are Signals

The way your cat is standing can also indicate how they’re feeling. Whether they’re showing off an arched back or crouching down low, this is what your cat’s stances mean:

  • Arched back with bristled fur. This combination is a true sign of aggression and should tell you that your cat is alarmed.
  • Standing sideways. This position shows that your cat is ready to run if needed, meaning that they’re feeling fearful and can leave the situation at any given time.
  • Facing head on. This indicates that your cat is feeling confident, positive, and self-assured.
  • Crouched with an alert expression. This shows that your furry friend is prepared to leap out of harm’s way because it’s feeling anxious.
  • Crouched with a wiggly butt. This is one of our favorite positions as it indicates that your cat is getting ready to jump or pounce on something because it’s having fun.
  • Showing their belly. Similar to dogs, a cat showing its belly is a big sign of trust. This means that your cat feels secure and relaxed, which we all want.
  • Standing still or frozen. This indicates that your cat is assessing an uncomfortable situation.

Look At Their Face

Another important part of understanding cat body language is looking at your cat’s face. Do you see forward ears or dilated pupils? Here’s what they, and more, could be telling you:

  • Tall and erect ears. This indicates that your cat is on high alert to any noise or movement.
  • Forward and relaxed ears. These ears mean that your cat is calm and isn’t being bothered by anything or anyone.
  • Flattened ears or whiskers. This is a sign that your feline is not enjoying themself. Whether it’s anger or fear, this body language indicates that your cat wants to leave.
  • Rubbing its head. This shows that your cat is marking its territory and feels happy with the space it’s in.
  • Kneading the surface. When cats do this motion, it means that they’re extremely happy! It brings them back to when they used to do this action as a kitten to increase milk flow from their mom during nursing. If your cat is showing this body language, enjoy it because it’s a great thing.

Hear ‘Em Out

Understanding a cat’s body language also means understanding their vocalizations. In most cases, verbal cues from cats can be just as important as their physical cues. Here is what your cat wants you to hear:

  • Constant meowing. This shows that your cat is trying to tell you that something is wrong and it doesn’t feel good. In some cases, you should take your feline to the vet if the meowing doesn’t subside.
  • Chirping like a bird. This indicates that your cat is feeling ignored and wants attention.
  • Purring. This noise means that your cat is experiencing pleasure and soothing itself in content.
  • Growling. Just like dogs, cats can growl and they do so when they want to establish that something is theirs, like their favorite toy or food.
  • Hissing. Unfortunately, this vocalization shows that your cat is angry at you. So, whatever you’re doing to or with them when they hiss, stop!
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It’s important to keep your cat’s body language in mind each and every day. Not only will understanding their body language help you get to know your cat better, but it will also ensure that you’re better equipped to handle their unique behaviors in specific situations. To learn more about all things cat, check out our variety of cat blogs by visiting Our Blog: For the Pet Obsessed.