Cat body language: understanding what your cat is saying


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You only need to look at your cat to know if he is hungry, happy or sad, angry, anxious, stressed or afraid. The cat’s body language says a lot about how it feels. Ditto for its expressions and the meow that the cat modulates according to its mood. By being attentive to his little companion, the master can quickly understand what his cat is saying to him. It’s the secret of a long-lasting and complicit relationship between man and his pet.

Expressions of the cat: beware of misunderstandings

In order not to risk a scratch or bite, it is better to know how to decipher the different modes of expression of the cat. Man has the annoying tendency to attribute certain features of his own behavior to his pet. This is called anthropomorphism, which is the source of many misinterpretations.

For example, a cat laying down does not necessarily wait for it to be scratched. If he adopts this posture when he is relaxed, it is not an invitation to caresses. Besides, few cats appreciate having their stomachs touched.

Cat’s tail movements to be decoded urgently

Watching the movements of a cat’s tail is very informative. It is a part of the body that betrays many intentions or emotions. Depending on its position or the speed of its swing, it is easy to know if the tomcat is well disposed … or not. Besides, a cat’s tail even sends signals when the animal seems to be sleeping.

  • Nervousness: the cat’s tail whips the air.
  •  Imminent attack: the cat on the alert wiggles its tail or wraps it under its belly.
  • Aggression: the tail is well erected.
  • Awake: the relaxed cat has closed eyes but does not really sleep. Its tail hits the ground regularly.
  • In the middle of a dream: the cat sleeps deeply and its tail hits the ground.
  • In confidence: the tip of the tail is curved but the tail is straight.
  • Frightened: the cat draws up a spiky tail and braces itself.

Sometimes the position of the cat’s tail can be confusing. It is therefore better to also observe the position of the ears, the pupils or even the position of the legs so as not to misinterpret a message.

Attitudes that express affection

The cat is an independent animal but far from being devoid of feelings towards its masters and it shows it to them well, even if sometimes the message is difficult to decipher. It can just as easily:

  • Rubbing against the legs of people he loves and trusts (but sometimes it’s also a way to beg for food),
  • Lick his master,
  • Roll on your back,
  • Curl up against a family member,
  • Put his head or rub his nose on the neck or forehead of his master,
  • Nibble without hurting,
  • Knead his legs before his master’s thighs before settling in comfortably.

When the cat feels attachment to a person, it seeks through physical contact to impregnate the latter with its odor.

Angry cat body language

The tail is not the only part of the body that expresses an angry feeling in the cat. If in addition to stiffening it and rolling it up or keeping it straight, the cat crouches on the ground with its legs stretched out, nothing is going well. He folds his ears and straightens his whiskers: this is not the time to approach him. He is very angry, all the more if he has a big back, tries to appear more imposing by bristling the hair of his body and his tail. Her eyes also reveal anger. They are wide open, the pupils contract and his gaze is not tender at all, far from it. Finally, he growls and spits. He looks more like a beast than a cuddly little fur ball.

Signs of appeasement after the battle

When the anger has passed, the cat changes its attitude completely. He soon becomes again a sweet and affectionate little companion. His gaze is more tender, his eyes are half-closed, his vibrissae lower, the ears straighten. He displays a relaxed expression. After this adrenaline rush, many cats feel the need to yawn and stretch. The storm has gone well, and the fact that the cat is washing confirms it.

Learn to better understand the cat’s body language

The cat expresses its emotions instinctively. It is in the moment that he can totally change his attitude. When you have just welcomed a cat into your home that you do not yet know, it is important to note all the postures that it adopts depending on the situation: when it is fed, when it is petting or scolding him or as soon as he feels attacked by another cat in the neighborhood or he is afraid of a dog. You have to observe not only his body language but also to listen to his meows, his growls and his spitting.

If the cat regularly adopts excessive or ill-timed attitudes – such as expressing anger when its owner places food in its bowl – it is necessary to speak to the veterinarian about it. Extreme behavior usually indicates a problem. Has the cat been bullied or abused? Does he feel pain? If the animal cannot express the cause of a problem, its behavior speaks volumes about its consequences.

Behavioral problem: treating your cat cheaply

The body language of the cat is not always easy to decipher, the owner must be helped by a professional specialized in animal behavior. To get everything in order, it can take time and require a substantial budget. This is why it can be very useful to insure your cat with a mutual animal health insurance company in order to be reimbursed for the expenses incurred so that the cat finds the tranquility necessary for its physical and mental health. A quick tour through a pet insurance comparator allows you to find out in detail the different formulas offered and to choose the one that corresponds to the cat’s needs and the owner’s financial possibilities.


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