Understanding your cat can make the difference between having a great relationship with your pet or a mediocre one. However it can takes months or even years to work out what and how your cat is communicating simple by observing and interacting with your cat.
Cat’s are far less expressive facially than dog s are, however anyone who has owned a cat for any length of time will tell you that understanding their body language is the key to understanding what your cat is saying. Read More..
When thinking about your cat’s body language it is important to assess the whole body as one, many people look at the tail (which is often a great indicator of your cats mood) in isolation and draw conclusions which don’t take into account other key body language indicators such as the ears and eyes.
The pointers below will walk you through some of the feelings that your cat will experience along with some body language pointers to watch out for:
Happiness & Contentment
Hopefully your cat will be feeling happy for the majority of it’s waking hours. A happy cat will often have it’s tail pointing straight up, you may have noticed that when you come home your cat may greet you at the door with its tail up, this is often called your cat’s “hello”.
If your cat’s tail is pointing upwards with a slight bend at the end of it this indicates that your act is feeling both happy and a bit inquisitive, you may notice this if you bring a new item into the house that has an interesting smell that peaks their curiosity a bit.
You should also watch your cat’s eyes, if your cat stares at you and gives you slow blinks this is their way of communicating that they like and trust you. You can send the same message back by blinking slowly at them too!
Cats will also give you some very obvious body language signals such as rubbing their head against you, this shows affection and means they are feeling content and would like you to give them some fuss!
Rolling onto the Back
When your cats rolls over on its back next to you in an obvious attempt to get a good stroke this too indicates that you have one happy contented cat who enjoys getting attention from you!
Another ‘happy cat’ indicator to watch out for is when your cat kneads things. Kneading is the act of what appears to be giving a specific spot (maybe your leg or a blanket they like) a good massage, usually with their front paws.
It is not known for certain why cats knead things but it is believed to relate to the way in which kittens would knead their mother when nursing to help the milk flow, this is something which all cats will associate with the feeling of contentment and happiness
Signs of Stress
Even our feline friends encounter some stress in their lives , however hopefully your cat experiences less stress than his or her wild counterparts would have. Back then stress was a vital part of survival.
When a cat recognises danger or something that could be a threat this triggers the release of hormones which may result in erratic behaviour which often manifests itself in the form of the fight or flight response.
Most domestic cats will not experience quite the same level of stress as their wild ancestors however you will be able to tell if you cat is experiencing stress by watching out for a few tell tale pointers.
Flattened Ears and Dilated Pupils
If your cat shows any of the following body language; ears flat, crouching or dilated pupils then these are strong indicators that your cat is not feeling very happy.
You know your cat best and will be aware of the what your cat has experienced so you will quickly be able to work out whether the stress you cat is experiencing is because they are feeling nervous, fearful or angry.
If you have ever taken your cat to the vet then you probably know exactly how they respond when they are experiencing stress by the way they behave on the vets table.
The Hunting Instinct
It it worth noting that your cat may also flatten their ears when their hunting instinct kicks in, you may notice that if they are playing with a toy they will flatten their ears when they are gearing up to run and jump on it.
Understanding Your Cats Body Language is the Key to Having a Great Relationship With Your Cat
Knowing how your cat is feeling allows you to respond effectively to their behaviour and ensure their needs are met effectively.
This is turn will allow you to develop an understanding with your cat and will lead to them trusting you much more!