Feline Language: Do You Speak Cat?

Cats are very expressive animals and, contrary to common belief, are not so very hard to understand with a little attention and observation. Felines are intelligent and suspicious, but also playful by nature. By understanding their language correctly and adapting your interactions accordingly, you will build a great relationship with your animal.

Feline language decoded

Cats’ eyes are very expressive. If their pupils are dilated and they are staring at a specific point, they are usually frightened. When cats are happy and relaxed, their eyes are almond shaped.

The position and movement of the tail is probably the best indication of your cat’s emotions. For instance, your cat is relaxed and comfortable if their tail is “S” shaped and sways gently. Disgruntled or upset felines will warn you with their tails. Sudden movement (like tapping the ground or whipping the air) mean you had better back off and give them some space.

A cat’s posture is another good indication of their mood. If balled up and stiff, they are tense, nervous and unhappy, and it’s better to leave them alone. In contrast, a happy, relaxed cat stretches out and takes up a lot of space.

Cats use their claws for self-defence. When frightened, they bring their paws in close to their body, so they can better protect themselves if need be. If your cat stretches and yawns or kneads the ground, however, they are content and feel safe.

Your cat’s ears can tell you a lot about their mood. Pointy, forward-facing ears indicate a normal or attentive state. Ears turned down toward the side or back of the head though are a sign that something is wrong. This means your cat is scared or angry, and you should stop whatever it was you were doing.

Cats communicate also with their fur. When stressed or frightened, their fur stands on end to make them look bigger and more intimidating to an adversary.

Meowing can convey a positive or negative message so, to interpret it correctly, look to your cat’s entire body language. On the other hand, growling, hissing and spitting are very clear requests for an immediate change to the situation.

In closing, let’s add that you can overcome most feline behaviour issues just by paying closer attention to what your cat is communicating through their body language and adjusting your interactions accordingly. Remember that play, food and petting are good ways to reward a cat for improving their communication.

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