Let’s Talk in Cat Language

Everyone is always talking about a dog’s body language. But, what about cats? Cats have a language of their own, too. They’re clearly more independent than most dogs so they’re harder to understand. Paying attention to their small cues will help you understand your kitty more, though!

The Cat’s Tail: Wagging and More

Your cat’s tail alone can give you some insight on how she’s feeling.

If your cat’s tail is up, this generally indicates she’s feeling happy. She’s ready to be approached. Go ahead and walk up to her to show some love.

If your cat’s tail is down, you probably don’t want to approach. The tail down generally means your cat fears a certain something or is feeling threatened.

Like dogs, cats also wag their tails… but it’s not a good thing. If your cat is wagging his tail quickly back and forth, there’s a good possibility he’s extremely irritated.

If the tail wag is slow, your kitty is trying to figure out how she should feel about the situation she’s in. Her ‘mood’ can go any direction at this point.

Finally, if she’s rigid with her tail straight up (often known as the Halloween cat pose), she’s not in a fantastic mood. She could be on the verge of completely losing it and you don’t want her to ‘lose it’ on you. The Halloween pose is your cat’s way of making herself look bigger than she is to defend herself.

Paying Attention to the Ears

Your cat’s ears can tell you what’s going on in her mind, too (to an extent). If your cat’s ears are slightly forward, he’s feeling happy and could be waiting for your loving hand to run through her silky fur.

When your cat’s ears are ‘standing at attention’ straight up, she’s alert and paying close attention to her surroundings.

When his ears are turned back, this kitty isn’t in the mood to have anything to do with anyone. He’s feeling irritated, frustrated, and/or plain out angry.

This leads us to the next ear position… sideways ears (or back, still). Ears that are sideways or back can also mean your kitty is feeling anxious or nervous about something.

Finally, if her ears are flat against her head, she’s feeling scared and/or defensive. This ‘ear stance’ is also an indication of aggression in some cases.

Eyes Tell All

You look into your cat’s beautiful gazing eyes nearly every day. But, did you realize there is a TON of information that can be gained from the eyes of your kitty?

Take a look at her pupils.

If her pupils are dilated, your cat could be ready to play, scared, or surprised. If your cat’s pupils are constricted, this could be a sign of aggression.

Now, you’re probably asking how you know what your kitty is thinking based on her eyes. It’s important to remember that you need to look at body language as a whole.

Have you ever had your cat stare at you? We don’t mean look over quickly and look away again. We’re talking a full out stare contest. If you have noticed this behavior, you have been in a ‘challenge’ with your cat.

Sllllooowwww blinking. Your kitty is slow blinking… not staring you down. In this case, your cat feels safe in your company. This is one way of letting you know she trusts you and you’re her ‘safe place.’

If your cat’s eyes are half closed… well. What do you think that means? What does it mean when we (as humans) have our eyes half closed? Yes! Those droopy eyes show your cat is relaxed, trusting, and probably ready to take her nap.

Take a Step Back

Now that we’ve reviewed a cat’s body language, the next time you see your kitty, take a step outside of the box and observe her behavior. By paying close attention to your cat’s body language, you’ll develop a better relationship. You’ll start understanding her language and be able to better communicate with her.

Don’t panic if this seems extremely difficult at first. Understanding body language in dogs and cats takes quite a bit of practice in many cases. Most pet parents don’t immediately understand how to read their kitty especially.

Take the time. Be patient. You can even keep a journal!