Cat Talk: A Guide to Cat Body Language

by catfood

While some people find cats to be mysterious, others believe that understanding a cat is as simple as paying attention, watching the cat body language, and responding appropriately.

Cats express their emotions, needs, and desires in a variety of ways.

How Cats Use Their Tails to Communicate

A cat’s tail position is an excellent indicator of how the cat is feeling. Cat Fancy’s behaviorist and Certified Cat Behavior Consultant, Marilyn Krieger, explains what different tail positions mean in cat body gestures.

  • Tail up – This is a happy, cheerful cat who is probably approachable.
  • Tail down – This could indicate that the cat is scared or threatened.
  • Tail wagging back and forth quickly – A wagging tail in a cat is not the same as a happy tail wagging gesture in a dog. “A fast-thumping tail is an excellent indicator that a cat is agitated and should be left alone,” Krieger says.
  • Slowly moving the tail – When a cat is unsure what is going on, he may move his tail back and forth slowly as he decides how he feels.
  • Cats with Halloween-cat tails are truly terrifying! According to Krieger, a cat in this position is usually in a bad mood and is attempting to appear larger and scarier than he is.

How Cats Use Their Ears to Communicate

Another good way to gauge your cat’s mood is to pay attention to the position of your cat’s ears. The Humane Society of the United States shares tips for deciphering your cat’s ear positions.

  • Ears forward – A cat with ears slightly forward is likely feeling content or even playful.
  • Ears straight up – When a cat is alert, his ears are likely standing at attention as well.
  • Ears turned back – Watch out for this kitty! He might feel irritated over stimulated, so it’s probably a good idea to leave him alone.
  • Ears turned sideways or back – This cat is feeling nervous or anxious about something. Use caution around a cat whose ears are in this position.
  • Ears back and flat against head – This is a sure sign a cthet is scared and feeling defensive. Ears toned against the head may also indicate an angry or aggressive cat. Either way, ears against the head means don’t mess with this guy!

How Cats Use Their Eyes to Communicate

Take note of your cat’s ear position to get a sense of his or her mood. The Humane Society of the United States provides information on how to determine your cat’s ear position.

  • Ears that are slightly forward – A cat with slightly forward ears is likely to be content, if not playful.
  • Straight up ears – A cat’s ears are likely to be straight up when he is alert.
  • Be careful with this kitty’s ears! If he is overstimulated, he may become irritated, so it is best to leave him alone.
  • Ears turned to the side or back – This cat is worried about something. When approaching a cat with its ears in this position, proceed with caution.
  • Ears back and flat against the head – This indicates that the cthet is afraid and defensive. Toned ears against the head of an angry or aggressive cat If his ears are against his head, don’t mess with him!

A cat will frequently express his emotions through body language. You’ll be able to better decipher your cat’s moods and needs if you take the time to learn his various communication methods.

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