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Understanding cat body language

cat body language can be read

Take heed: cat’s can tell you when to stay and when to stay away

What does cat body language tell us

To understand what’s on your cat’s mind you could get a lot of clues from his or her body language – if you know what to look for.

Cats use a variety of facial expressions, body postures,  and noises to communicate their messages and ward off uncomfortable confrontations.

Learning to decipher these will lead you to deepening the bonds of affection you have with your pets – and prevent any unfortunate misunderstandings.

Displayed Tummy

Cat body language is much more nuanced than the equivalent in dogs. When your cat rolls over and exposes its tummy, you may find yourself being met with overt aggression if you attempt to stroke it.

You need to be aware that if your cat is relaxed and content, she may be  stretching out and rolling over in this flirtatious way. But there are also situations, when a cat feels cornered when this pose — accompanied by sharp teeth and fully extended claws – may indicate he or she is prepared to fight.

We need to work out the difference.

Fluttering Eyelids

In the cat world, closing eyes in another’s presence is the ultimate indication of trust. Watch your cat when it greets another with slow, languid blinks. It’s communicating affection. Similarly by you blinking slowly at your cat, he or she will understand you pose no threat and want to be friends.

Wagging Tails

Among the top barometers of your cat’s mood is his or her tail. Held high, it’s communicating confidence. Curled around your legs, it is a sign of friendship. Tucked away between its legs, it is a signal of anxiety.

A wagging cat tail most definitely doesn’t mean he or she is happy! It more likely means the cat is annoyed by something. The more frustrated a cat is, the more the tail will wag, so watch out!

Direct Eye Contact

Like dogs most cats find being stared at very threatening. Indeed in social settings, a cat will tend to move towards whoever is paying it least attention.

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Watch out for widening pupils too because these are an indication of rising fear levels. When a cat’s eyes are fully dilated, the pupils can take in as much information as possible so the cat can decide the best course of action to retreat or take action.

In an angry cat, the pupils may become constricted so the cat can focus on detail. But don’t read too much into just how your cat’s eyes look as they also respond to ambient lighting. You need to observe your cat’s body language as a whole, not just a single element.

I’m Going to Get You

Because cats are natural predators who are driven by stimuli even the most mild-mannered cat has the capacity to retaliate if feeling threatened or aroused by excess petting or play. They are hard-wired to give chase if they see anything like a cat toy, a human hand or a mouse move.

If you witness the warning signs of low twitching tail, flattened ears, and dilated pupils, the message is your cat wants you to back off and leave it alone.


Cats don’t meow to each other in the main. It’s probable that they have adapted their meows to help them manipulate people to meet their needs.

Your cat has a vocabulary which allows them to indicate they want their dinner or that they need help.

Purring can be a sign of contentment but also may indicate they want more comfort, perhaps because the cat is recovering from an illness.

Friendliness can be heralded by a high-pitched gurgling or chatting.

Growling, hissing, or spitting are warnings.

Cats threatened by other cats make an unmistakable, loud caterwauling guttural sound. Caterwauling is  common with deaf cats.