Your Cat’s Body Language Explained: What You Need To Know

Your cat’s body language explained: Have you ever wondered why your cat feels the intense need to go full gargoyle from the top of the fridge, or insists on head-butting you during the Sunday night 8pm movie?

Then wonder no more: this article is for you. Enjoy!

CAT BODY LANGUAGE — IN A NUTSHELL

HAPPY CAT BODY LANGUAGE:


EARS

  • relaxed and in a natural posture (i.e. pointing forward).
  • not flattened against the head, angled back or constantly swivelling.

EYES

  • relaxed.
  • slow blinks at you.
  • pupils at their typical size and not dilated.

BODY

  • lying down on their side / with their belly showing.
  • sitting up with a straight back and head up.

TAIL

  • extended and relaxed tail.
  • fur will lie flat.
  • quivering / vibrating tail.

WORRIED CAT BODY LANGUAGE:

EARS

  • rapidly flicking ears / drawing ears down pointing sideways / lying ears flat against head / high alert pointing up.

EYES

  • watchful.
  • eyes open and pupils dilated.

BODY

  • tense mood visible.
  • arched back and fur standing on end.
  • crouched down body position.

TAIL

  • hold tail up and rigid / curl tail around body for protection.
  • agitated / flicking tail.

PLAYFUL CAT BODY LANGUAGE:

EARS

  • ears up.
  • pointed forward (almost alert).

EYES

  • carefully watching you / a toy.
  • dilated pupils.

BODY

  • crouched body as if ready to pounce.

TAIL

  • tail down / tail raised and flicking around.

A GREAT WATCH

OTHER THINGS CATS DO — EXPLAINED

RUBBING AND HEAD-BUTTING
The sentence you’ve been waiting for: what’s up with all that rubbing and head-butting? In a nutshell, cats are known to rub against objects and people. It’s super normal, they like it and it’s a sign of affection. It’s also a way for your cat to distribute their scent onto that object / human to warn other cats to back off, because this item / human has a feline owner.


MEOWS, PURRS, GROWLS AND OTHER SOUNDS

Next on the list: those meow meow vibes. Truth bomb, cats meow to communicate with us, because they’re hungry, need water or just tired of your overall Monday attitude. So when the meowing gets real, investigate.


Purring, a sound every cat-parent is all too familiar with, is a sign that your cat is happy and living their best life at that moment.


Of course, it’s not rocket science to know when your cat growls / hisses, she is NOT having it.
If you hear your cat making unfamiliar sounds you have never heard before, it may be a sign of illness or pain, so be sure to take your cat to the vet for a checkup.

KNEADING

Some cats will flex their paws and those little toe beans in their air and it’s absolutely nothing to worry about. It’s merely a leftover behaviour from when they were tiny kittens.

CAT BODY LANGUAGE — ILLNESS

If your cat has a sudden change in body language — things like lethargy, “sad” ears and yowling, it could be a sign something anatomically could be very wrong. As the saying goes, rather safe than sorry, let the vet have a look to rule out any underlying health problems you may not be aware of.
If you’ve ever wondered what is normal and what is abnormal in regards to cat vomiting, head on over to the article HOW TO TREAT AND REDUCE CAT VOMITING to find out more.

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