Deciphering Your Cat’s Body Language

Many cat lovers are convinced they can chat to their cats by exchanging meows — but there’s a much more reliable way to understand your cat’s many moods. Pay attention to your kitty’s body language, and you’ll be surprised what you can learn.

Pay Attention to the Tail

Cats’ tails move in different ways depending on their moods. A proud, confident cat will strut with a tail straight up in the air. A timid cat who feels less secure will slink along the ground with its tail down low to the floor.

Some cats twitch their tails, somewhat like squirrels do, when they’re enjoying playing. However, if those slight movements became rhythmic swishes, a cat isn’t having fun. The more pronounced the tail movements, the more annoyed cats are likely to be. You might notice this warning behavior when your cat no longer wants to be held or petted. Heed the signals and give your cat some space.

Ears Also Move With Mood

When cats become angry, they’ll also lay their ears back flat against their head. The further back the ears lay, the darker the cat’s mood. Often, this action will come with hisses or growls, which express a cat’s feelings in no uncertain terms!

You might also notice the ears of cats that feel fearful or surprised stand up straight, as if they’re on high alert. The whiskers will also point out at this time. This body language heightens a cat’s sensory response so it can detect when it needs to spring into action.

Kneading Is a Positive Action

kneading your body, its bed, and other items around the house? Well, you’ve been doing something right, because cats exhibit this behavior when they’re happy. Kittens tend to knead their moms in this way while they nurse, and the activity continues through their lives when they’re feeling their best.

Rubbing Shows Ownership

Cats tend to rub their heads and cheeks, which contain scent glands, against things to mark them as their own. You might have noticed this behavior when you’re cuddling your cat or when it’s around its feline friends. Such displays of ownership aren’t done in a negative, dominant way. Instead, they’re a way for your cat to shows its love for you. Cats are proud to claim the ones they care about as their own.

An Exposed Belly Shows Trust and Relaxation

Cats are at their most vulnerable when their bellies are exposed. When cats lie about on their backs to play or relax, you can guarantee they’re at their most content. Not only do cats show their bellies when they’re relaxed, but they often show other signs of their mood like closing or almost closing their eyes and relaxing their arms so their paws bend at the wrist. Relaxation and trust go hand in hand. If your cat didn’t trust you, it wouldn’t drop its guard enough to display this body language.

Just like humans, cats are very expressive with their bodies. Start paying attention to your kitty’s physical cues to improve your relationship.

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