Understanding the body language of the cat

 Understanding the body language of the cat

Understanding the body language of the cat

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Watch this video for cat body language

Understanding the body language of the cat also makes it possible to identify deviant behaviors in a cat that suffers from behavioral disorders and to put in place the veterinary follow-up necessary for its well-being.

To better decipher feline body language, it is interesting to understand what each part of its body can express.
Cats, like human-beings, reveal their inner states through their body language. At Tuft and Paw, we speed a ton of time researching cats in order to design our cat furniture. We have both a cat behaviorist and a veterinarian on our team, so we have a lot of insight into why cats behave a certain way


Understanding Cats’ Body Language

Sometimes you might wonder about a change in your cat’s behaviour and what that could mean, or would like to know how you can tell if your cat is happy.
Although cats might seem hard to read, there are lots of tell-tale signs that will give you an insight into what your companion is thinking, and what kind of mood they’re in! You’ll probably be able to tell some of your cat’s more obvious moods already from their body language, facial expressions, vocalisations and tail movements. But looking out for some other signals, such as the following cat tail signs and body postures, can tell you even more.
Cats have a wide range of basic emotions – they feel happy, sad, afraid, relieved and even frustrated, just like us humans! The key to a good relationship with your cat is learning how to recognise these emotions, and respond where needed.
Watch this great video guide on cat body language from our friends at Cats Protection, presented by their Cats Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow.

There are many physical cues of a cat's mood, but their meaning can vary depending on the context. For example, one of the most reliable signs of a confident cat is a tail that’s lifted vertically, high in the air. Most of the time, this tail position indicates that the cat feels comfortable and open to interaction. However, in certain contexts – like warding off a strange cat in his own territory – a high tail can also indicate a willingness to attack.

Whiskers

mustaches drawn forward: concentration
the slack mustaches: joy
stretched whiskers: stress
mustaches pointing forward: frustration
mustaches bristling in all directions: anger

Eyes and ears

straight ears, forward and round eyes: neutral attitude
straight ears, forward and blinking eyes: joy and happiness
ears turned to the sides and frowning eyes: anger
ears back and pupils dilated: fear
restless ears and dilated pupils: anxiety

The cat's tail

The cat moves its tail differently depending on what it wants to express.
the wagging tail: the exactement or the desire to stop the caresses
tail wagging in all directions: nervousness
the tail motionless, curved or tilted upwards: joy
the tail tucked between the hind legs: fear
tail stretched straight: anger
the tail in the down position: concentration

The language of the cat through its expressions and actions

Depending on the attitudes it adopts and the behaviors it shows, the cat can seek to express several emotions.

Understanding the body language of the cat


The cat is yawning

When the cat yawns, it shows relief and relaxation. The animal is relaxed, relaxed, calm, serene and peaceful.

The cat lies on its back

The animal that lies on its back generally expresses its well-being. Nevertheless, if he thus expresses his joy at being there, with those around him, he does not want to be disturbed. In addition, he rolls on the ground to show his confidence in his master.
The cat can also seek to mark its territory by depositing its pheromones on the ground. Do not see there an invitation to caress his belly.

The cat rubs its legs

The animal is happy and he expresses his joy to his master. If he shows his affection in this way, he also deposits his pheromones on his legs to let him know that he is part of his territory, of his family.

The cat licks its master

The cat usually licks his master to indicate that he trusts him and that he is part of his family. This sign of love and affection is also a way for the animal to tell him that he feels protected and safe.
But licking can have another meaning. It can testify to the cat's stress and anxiety. Compulsive licking is also common in anxious animals.

The cat purrs

While it is difficult to identify the exact origin of purring, we know that it can have two radically opposite meanings. Purring manifests well-being. The purring cat tries to tell his master that he likes his presence, that he feels good and at ease. But purring is also a way for the animal to calm down and reduce its pain and suffering. As a result, the purring cat may also be suffering from illness, physical pain, or psychological pain, as in the case of depression. In this context, it seems that the vibrations of the purr soothe the pain.

The cat meows

The cat only meows with humans, it never expresses itself in this way with its congeners. The meow is a way for the cat to welcome his master, to show him his joy and his excitement. But he can also seek to show pain or complain and demand something, such as food or attention. Nevertheless, some tomcats are talkative and enjoy meowing all day long.

How does the cat express itself?

To fully understand feline body language, it is interesting to analyze its behavior based on the major emotions it can show.

Understanding the body language of the cat


Affection

The cat who appreciates his master likes to show him his affection. To do this, he can adopt several attitudes and expressions.
  • He rubs against his master's legs to show him his attachment and his confidence, but sometimes also to ask him for something.
  • He snuggles against his master.
  • He rubs his head on that of his master or he puts his nose in his neck.
  • He lies on his back and/or rolls on his back.
  • He licks his master.
  • He bites his master.
  • He kneads his master's stomach or thighs before lying down.

Anger and aggression

  • The angry cat can behave in different ways.
  • Its tail is stiff, straight or wrapped around its body.
  • The cat's paws are outstretched, its body crouched on the ground.
  • The cat lays down its ears and straightens its whiskers.
  • He may have a round back with a bristly coat if he is very angry.
  • His pupils are dilated.

Appeasement

The appeased cat is relaxed, its eyes are half-closed, its whiskers are lowered, its ears erect. If he calms down after being particularly upset, the cat may start yawning and stretching, or even grooming himself.

The fear

The cat's ears point backwards. The animal is rather motionless, on the lookout, or it hides to avoid the object of its fear. His pupils are usually dilated. It is not uncommon for the animal to erect its hair and seek to grow in size to defend itself and scare its potential opponent.

Joy

The happy tomcat holds his ears upright, up. He can blink or hold his eyes half-closed. His whiskers loosen and relax and he may purr, especially when petted.

The stress

The stressed, anxious or worried cat has dilated pupils, eyes wide open. On his guard, he directs his ears in all directions and can lower his head.The 

Relieved

When an angry, scared or frustrated cat feels reassured that the perceived threat has gone, they will likely start to act relieved. Just as it’s important that you recognise when they are feeling angry or frightened, learning to tell when your cat is relieved is key to helping them feel like their normal, relaxed selves again.

Symptoms of relieved cat behaviour

A cat’s whole body can show relief – some cats even make a full-body stretch to release tension!
Their eyes, ears, head, body and tail will all visibly relax.
Whiskers will return to a calm, position away from the face, and their head will lower.
Some may yawn, turn away and half-close their eyes, or even have a good wash.
When you understand how your cat is feeling you can better respond to their needs and behaviours. Although a lot of it is instinctive – hissing is a clear sign of anger even to Simone who isn’t a cat owner other signs are more subtle. Use the above guide can help your identify how your cat is feeling, and enjoy a closer relationship than ever.

Tail

The cat moves its tail differently depending on what it wants to express. the wagging tail: the excitement or the desire to stop the caresses tail wagging in all directions: nervousness, nervousness the tail motionless, curved or tilted upwards: joy the tail tucked between the hind legs: fear tail stretched straight: anger the tail in the down position: concentration The language of the cat through its expressions and actions Depending on the attitudes it adopts and the behaviors it shows, the cat can seek to express several emotions. The cat is yawning When the cat yawns, it shows relief and relaxation. The animal is relaxed, relaxed, calm, serene and peaceful. The cat lies on its back The animal that lies on its back generally expresses its well-being. Nevertheless, if he thus expresses his joy at being there, with those around him, he does not want to be disturbed. In addition, he rolls on the ground to show his confidence in his master. The cat can also seek to mark its territory by depositing its pheromones on the ground. Do not see there an invitation to caress his belly. The cat rubs its legs The animal is happy and he expresses his joy to his master. If he shows his affection in this way, he also deposits his pheromones on his legs to let him know that he is part of his territory, of his family. The cat licks its master The cat usually licks his master to indicate that he trusts him and that he is part of his family. This sign of love and affection is also a way for the animal to tell him that he feels protected and safe. But licking can have another meaning. It can testify to the cat's stress and anxiety. Compulsive licking is also common in anxious animals. The cat purrs While it is difficult to identify the exact origin of purring, we know that it can have two radically opposite meanings. Purring manifests well-being. The purring cat tries to tell his master that he likes his presence, that he feels good and at ease. But purring is also a way for the animal to calm down and reduce its pain and suffering. As a result, the purring cat may also be suffering from illness, physical pain, or psychological pain, as in the case of depression. In this context, it seems that the vibrations of the purr soothe the pain. The cat meows The cat only meows with humans, it never expresses itself in this way with its congeners. The meow is a way for the cat to welcome his master, to show him his joy and his excitement. But he can also seek to show pain or complain and demand something, such as food or attention. Nevertheless, some tomcats are talkative and enjoy meowing all day long. How does the cat express itself? To fully understand feline body language, it is interesting to analyze its behavior based on the major emotions it can show. affection The cat who appreciates his master likes to show him his affection. To do this, he can adopt several attitudes and expressions. He rubs against his master's legs to show him his attachment and his confidence, but sometimes also to ask him for something. He snuggles against his master. He rubs his head on that of his master or he puts his nose in his neck. He lies on his back and/or rolls on his back. He licks his master. He bites his master. He kneads his master's stomach or thighs before lying down. Anger and aggression The angry cat can behave in different ways. Its tail is stiff, straight or wrapped around its body. The cat's paws are outstretched, its body crouched on the ground.

Video for cat body language


achraf ben ammar

About the blogger: An expert in breeding and training dogs. He obtained his certificate in this specialty in 2012 from the Military School. He developed his field from the specialty of dogs to an expert in raising pets in general.

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