While you may not speak fluent feline, if you've ever wondered what your cat is trying to tell you, all you need to do is check out her body language. Learn more about the important messages your cat is trying to communicate with you so that you know when she's in the mood for cuddles and play or may need a little time alone. Better communication with your cat will help you bond with her and can improve your relationship. Read on to truly understand what that twitch of your kitty's tail or blink of her eye really means.
The Eyes are the Windows Into the (Cat's) Soul
Your cat's eyes can tell you a lot about what's going on in her furry head. If your cat slowly blinks at you, that means that she's relaxed and that she loves and trusts you. Try returning this slow blink yourself to let her know that you love her, too.
Unless she's been sitting in a sunny window, if your cat's pupils are small and constricted, it could mean that she's aroused or upset. Large, fully dilated pupils can also indicate that your cat is frightened or agitated. If her pupils are either very large or very small, give her a little space and wait until her eyes return to normal. When they do, she'll be friendly and calm with you.
The Tail Tells the Tale
That furry tail can tell you a lot about your cat's state of mind. If your cat approaches you with her tail standing upright or slightly curled, then it likely means she's in a friendly, happy mood. A cat who is anxious may tuck her tail downwards, between her back legs, while she walks. If you see that your cat's normally smooth tail suddenly looks like a bottle brush, all puffed up, then she is frightened or otherwise upset. A tail that is whipping back and forth incessantly means that your feline is highly aroused or agitated, so it's best to wait until she's a bit calmer before petting or playing with her.
The Ears Have It
Not only does your cat listen with her ears, she communicates with them, too. If your cat's ears are standing upright, it means that she is content or listening intently to something. Flattened ears typically indicate that your cat is angry or frightened. Don't approach her if those ears of hers are flat, especially if she pulls back her whiskers and hisses as well, which are also signs she may be upset.
The Fur Flies
Cats puff up their fur when they feel threatened to make themselves look bigger to potential predators. So if you notice that your cat is puffed up and has her back arched upwards, it can mean she's riled up in some way. Try to talk in a calm voice or see if something is scaring her. If her fur is flat, she's likely feeling just fine, especially if she exposes her belly to you and rolls around in front of you – all signs of trust.
A Gentle Massage
Young kittens knead on their mother with their little paws while nursing, which is a behavior that can sometimes continue into adulthood. A happy, contented cat may knead and massage you or other objects with her paws. If your cat starts kneading around you, it means that she's relaxed and likely up for a cuddle. To encourage this type of friendly behavior, give her a reward like some yummy treats. Also, make sure to feed her food with excellent nutrition and outstanding taste, like Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend.
The Head Marks the Spot
As a cat owner, you've probably experienced your cat rubbing her head against you. Your cat does this to mark you with special pheromones produced by the oil glands in her cheeks. These pheromones "mark" you as her own, a sign of love. While she marks you, she'll likely be in the mood for some snuggles and head scratches, too.
- The Humane Society of the United States: Cat Chat: Understanding Feline Language
- Cats Protection: A Cats Body Language
- WebMD: What Your Cat's Body Language Is Saying
- American Animal Hospital Association: Feline Body Language: Is Your Cat Trying to Tell You Something?
- VetStreet: 5 Keys to Decoding Your Cat’s Body Language
- Woman's Day: Decode Your Pet's Body Language
- VetStreet: 10 Ways Your Cat Shows You Love
- The Ohio State University: Reading Your Cat’s “Body Language”