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Understanding Feline Behavior

Choose a topic below.

Tail movement
Each movement of your cat's tail reveals its mood and opinions as plainly as any words could.

Body Posture
How your cat moves expresses not only your cat's feelings, but it also predicts what it will do next.

Cat Talk
Purring is more that just a sign of affection.

Fight or Flight
When your cat comes across something which it deems a threat.

Body Language

Cat Communication Devices

 

Feline behavior is fascinating, and watching your cat or kitten can tell you much about what they are thinking and what they need to be relaxed, playful, and healthy. Feline body language offers clues you can learn to read, and understanding feline behavior can deepen your relationship with your companion.

Watch for these signs of your kitty’s current mood:

Showing the Belly

Cat Communicating with Tail

Stretching out and rolling over is often a sign of relaxed contentment and may be an invitation to pet the soft underfur, but this is also a defensive pose. If your cat rolls over during rough play, don’t be surprised to feel claws and teeth as the next move. Purring or growling will usually tell you what this feline body language is saying.

The Tail Tells a Tale

Cat Communicating with Tail

Cats may very slowly move their tail when focused on hunting, or when watching a tempting toy and planning to pounce. However, your cat may rapidly swish its tail when annoyed, aggressive, or if over-stimulated during play. This feline behavior is a warning to other cats and animals to back off, and the faster the swinging tail, and the more it resembles a bristle brush, the more annoyed or aggressive your cat feels.

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The Eyes Have It

Understanding Cats Body Posture

Cats close their eyes when relaxed and affectionate with another cat, pet, or person. The long slow blink is considered a sign of love and trust, and you can give a long slow blink in return to show that you return the feeling.

Wide open, dilated eyes and a direct stare conveys the opposite thought. Cats often combine a wide eyed, dilated pupil stare with their full defensive display, the “Halloween cat” pose with arched back and bristly tail. This is how cats say “don’t touch me.”

Ears the Rest of the Story

Cat Talk

When your cat is curious and interested, the ears will face forward and be fully open. As confidence fades or if your cat is distracted, the ears move back slightly, turning toward the sides. When your feline friend is alarmed or aggressive, they will fold their ears back in preparation for battle, to protect the delicate and vital hearing apparatus.

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Fortress of Solitude

Fight or Flight

Hiding away under the couch or inside a cat tree gives your cat a sense of security. Cats who lurk in caves are safe from unexpected attacks and can truly relax, or plan an ambush on the next unsuspecting prey or ankle that passes the entry. As long as your cat only spends part of the day in seclusion, this is normal feline behavior and there’s no need to worry.

What Your Cat Would Say

Understanding feline behavior will help you communicate your own trust and affection while knowing when your cat has had enough of the new kitten or that battery operated toy. Your cat will tell you clearly that living in a loving and stimulating environment with spaces for quiet reflection is good for felines and humans alike.

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