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Understanding Cat Behaviour: Body Language and How to Read It?
No matter whether you are a first-time cat owner or an old feline friend, there will always be a time when you are not able to figure out your cat’s gesture. Although cats are hard to read, they depict a tell-tale. So, you can estimate by their facial expression, tail movement, vocalisation and body language that in what mood they are in.
So, read the below article to find out when your cat is happy, sad, angry, frustrated, relieved and more. This guide will be like your cat is speaking to you!
How to Understand Your Cat’s Behaviour?
The following is the guide that will help you read your cat’s body language and understand what they are trying to convey:
1. Neutral Cat Behaviour
This is the most common behaviour your furry friend will be in. The below signs will show it is calm, content and neutral:
Telltale Signs of Neutral Cat Behaviour
- When your cat is in a neutral mood, they will be lying down. They can be in a stretched-out position lying on their front with their paws tucked underneath or curled up as a ball.
- They will be blinking their eyes softly or may keep them closed.
- Their whiskers will be relaxed and away from the sides of their face. It will seem like they are smiling.
- Their body gesture will be relaxed without any signs of tension. It will be like they are ready to spring into action.
2. Focused Cat Behaviour
Another common behaviour noticed in cats is the focus. They are designed as the ultimate hunter, thus good at stalking and catching their prey. So, they need 100% focus to concentrate on small, something new or moving objects. However, when they are doing so they look more cute and fluffy. The signs are:
Telltale Signs of Focused Cat Behaviour
- Their pupils narrow down, and their eyes open up.
- The whiskers and ears will prick forwards. Moreover, their body will incline towards their object of focus.
- Their body will be closer to the ground with hind legs coiled under their body as if they are going to attack the prey.
- Their tail end will even start twitching, showing that they are about to pounce. In fact, this is the most definite sign that depicts a hunting mood.
3. Happy Cat Behaviour
Happy cat behaviour is the easiest to catch body language. Moreover, this is also the state in which you would want your cat to stay. This mood initiates quality time between you and your cat. The signs are:
Telltale Signs of Happy Cat Behaviour
- When happy, your cat’s ear will point and relax. They will face up and forward.
- While your furry friend lies down, they might tuck their paws underneath or stretch them out on the sides of their back. Also, both of their legs will spread outwards.
- They might snooze with their eyelids half opened or closed. They will look heavy-lidded and seem like they are daydreaming. Here, if you notice they are blinking at you, slowly blink them back to convey that you are calm too. It serves as a great way to bond with your cat.
- If you pet your cat they can close their eyes and gently purr showing a feeling of contentment.
- They will have relaxed whiskers and still tails or they may be held high having a slight curl.
4. Anxious Cat Behaviour
Cats are sensitive so it may take time for them to settle after an unexpected change. So, here it helps to know when your cat is anxious. The sooner you will provide your cat with a reassuring stroke, the faster they will recover. However, if it’s a big change you need to give two or three days for the cat to get accustomed to it. The signs of understanding kitten behaviour are:
Telltale Signs of Anxious Cat Behaviour
- Their head will tilt downwards with whiskers pulled back into the sides. Their expression will appear to be non-threatening or alert.
- If their anxiety level increases they might start cowering or arching up their back to prepare for a run.
- You will notice their ears changing their position in the forward direction to grab all the important information. In contrast, they might also flatten to the back of their head.
- Their eyes will be wide open with no signs of blinking. Also, their pupil will dilate into a circle or oval shape.
- The most important sign will be their tail sign. It will either be still or moving slowly from one side to another. So, if you see this sign make sure to reassure your cat for some comfort.
5. Fearful Cat Behaviour
When your feline is feeling scared or fearful it is easy to spot. Their bodily responses including trembling, hissing, shaking and guttural meowing will give you a prompt sign. This feeling will only get when they feel safe again so when you notice it try and comfort them. Also, remove the object of threat to them and if this sign persists take them to a vet. Symptoms to understand your cat’s behaviour are:
Telltale Signs of Fearful Cat Behaviour
- Ears may get flattened against their head. It will be at an angle gazed upwards.
- Your cat’s eyes will be wide open with their pupils fully dilated.
- Whiskers will be flattened or bristling.
- They may spit at close threats, strike with claws and growl.
- Cat’s body language is arched and tensed with erected fur. Also, they will be tightly bound with limbs tucked. In addition, some cats also straighten their front leg to make them look taller.
- Their tail will be puffed up and squished under their body. In contrast, it can slash vigorously from one side to another.
6. Frustrated Cat Behaviour
There are a lot of reasons which can make your cat frustrated like not being able to reach their favourite toy. However, if this frustrated mood continues for a long time it is a sign that they are approaching depression. So, it is advisable to consult a vet who will help you return your feline to a happier state of mind.
Telltale Signs of Frustrated Cat Behaviour
- Every sense of your cat will tune up like eyes wide open, whiskers forward and spread up, pupils dilated and ears facing front.
- A frustrated cat will put all their focus on their object of frustration and will do everything it can to achieve what they want.
- They may seem impatient until they get what they want.
- Remember this frustration can go on for a long time till the time they get what they want or give up. As a result, they may enter into long-term depression or other mental issues depending on the severity of the case.
- Cats who have long-term depression may feel lethargic, won’t play or interact with you and avoid food.
7. Angry Cat Behaviour
Learning to manage your angry cat is highly necessary to prevent it from scratching you up all the time. Angry behaviour is the most prominent behaviour to understand and if they show such signs avoid provoking them. Also, don’t stare at them or shout. Do not touch or comfort them as they might interpret it as a threat and lash out. Instead, remove all the objects of threat and give them some time and space to cool down.
Telltale Signs of Angry Cat Behaviour
- They will act highly unusual like hissing, growling, spitting or being silent.
- Their tail would be rigid, standing tall or curled up around the body.
- Their eyes will focus on a particular thing with pupils narrowed. However, some may also have round eyes without any blinking action.
- Their ears will be flat and tensed stretched back against their head. Whiskers will be stiff facing away from their face.
- They will look threatening with their front legs stiffed, furs erected and bodies crouching ready to take a jump.
8. Relieved Cat Behaviour
A relieved cat is when they are in a relaxed mood, cheerful or playful. At this time, there are no signs of anger, frustration, sadness or fright. The symptoms that will help you recognise this mood are as follows:
Telltale Signs of Relieved Cat Behaviour
- Every body part, including the head, eyes, tail, ear, etc., will be calm and composed.
- They may yawn, close their eyes halfway and turn away.
- Their whiskers will sit calmly away from the face while the head will face low.
- Your cat’s body posture will show signs of relief, like it will stretch its body without any tension.