Cat Sitting Positions and What They Mean

cat sitting positions

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Have you ever wondered what your cat wants to say with its behavior? Well, observing its sitting positions is a good way to start. They might be indicative of:

  • Observation
  • Happiness
  • Frustration
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Anger 

Cat Sitting Positions and What They Mean


Have you ever wondered what your cat wants to say with its behavior? You have surely witnessed more than a few instances of your furry friend acting strangely. Well, apart from trying to understand their language, we can also observe their actions and get an idea of what’s going on with them. And if you have a cat, you know that one of the species’ favorite “activities” is…sitting! So let’s dive deep into the matter of cat sitting positions and what they mean. 


Felines are extremely independent. They act like true royalty and do whatever they want, whenever they want. That’s why instances of a cat acting up are definitely not rare. But, as you can probably guess, not all of them are divas with a mind of their own, yet still, communicate their feelings mostly with their actions. That’s why understanding your cat’s body language is essential.


Top 6 Cat Sitting Positions and What They Mean


Generally, each common sitting position is associated with different emotions your kitty might be experiencing. So let’s have a look at the most common cat sitting positions and what they mean:

1. The Observer

Typical characteristics of an observing cat:

  • Your feline will stay upright, focusing on the object it’s interested in.
  • It will prick up its ears and slowly wag its tail.
  • It’ll be fully concentrated and stay still while observing.


Cats are curious by nature. They always want to know what’s going on around them, so it’s not surprising that one of their favorite positions is that of the “observer.” If you’re not sure what that looks like, just wait for your kitty to hop on your windowsill to see what your neighbors are up to.


If your cat spends extra time to see if everything under its reign is fine, don’t worry; that’s normal. However, you can try to squeeze more playtime in your schedule, so that your royal feline friend doesn’t get bored. 


2. The Happy Cat

Typical characteristics of a happy cat:

  • Your kitty’s body will be relaxed and upright.
  • It will be sitting with closed or half-closed eyes, and it’ll seem to be daydreaming.
  • It will purr when you stroke it.
  • Its tail and whiskers will be relaxed.
  • You’ll feel no tension when being around it.


A happy cat is easily recognizable. That’s the state you want your big-eyed ball of fluff to be in as often as possible


Aside from sitting with a dreamy look on their face, cats also tend to lie on their side, back, or stomach with their paws tucked underneath when they’re happy. That shows they are fully content.


Normally, cats get in a happy mood after they’ve eaten, gotten a treat, cuddled or played with you, etc. However, if your feline has neither touched its food bowl nor has it been relaxing on the couch all morning, and is sitting in the position I’ve outlined, you may want to check if everything in your kitchen is fine. Your feline might have decided you need a new set of glasses and could’ve helped you out by dropping some on the floor… 


Jokes aside, that’s the preferred mood you want to see your fluffy friend in, so whatever you’re doing, keep it up.


3. The Frustrated Cat

Typical characteristics of a frustrated cat:

  • Frustrated felines sit near the object of frustration with all their senses focused on it. 
  • They either maintain an upright position of the body with their ears pointing forward or lower down to the ground in what looks like a hunting position.
  • They might also pace impatiently around if they can’t reach what they want (e.g., their favorite toy that’s stuck behind the sofa, you if they want your attention, etc.)


You’ve surely seen a frustrated cat (and it’s definitely not a pretty sight). Sadly, some mistake frustration for naughtiness, or even aggression and bash their cats for “misbehaving,” when in reality that’s not the case. That is why it’s essential to be aware of the different cat sitting positions and what they mean. This way, you’ll always know what your cat is up to.


The sense of frustration may be short- or long-term, depending on the case. For example, your cat might not be able to catch the bird outside of the window — hence it’s irritated. However, the cause could be a lot more serious, like lack of attention, a new pet that your feline hates, even a newborn child that gets all the affection, etc. 


Regardless, you want to try to get your kitty out of that state as quickly as possible. If there is no obvious reason for the behavior, however, I’d suggest talking to your vet. They should be able to help.


If you spot any of the characteristics associated with a frustrated cat, see what you can do about it. You don’t want the frustration to turn into anything more serious, like depression, for example.


4. The Fearful Cat

Typical characteristics of a frightened cat:

  • Scared cats usually sit or stand still if running away is not possible.
  • They keep their eyes wide open with fully dilated pupils.
  • Extremely frightened felines may hiss, spit, or growl in an attempt to scare their target off.
  • They might even strike with claws out if the frightening subject gets closer.
  • Depending on the degree to which they are afraid, they either hold their tails under their bodies or vigorously move them around from side to side.
  • They flatten their ears against the back of their heads and don’t stop looking at the subject that causes the fear.


Most animals attack either out of fear or because they need food. If your cat is afraid of something (a loud noise, a new pet in the house, a child that doesn’t know how to play with it, etc.), then things are clear — you’ll have to do something about it! A simple stroke or a treat won’t suffice; you’ll need to eradicate the factor that causes the fear


When a cat is afraid, everything about it changes — it tries to look scary and gets in a position that will enable it to attack. However, don’t mistake that behavior for aggression. It’s a defense mechanism present in almost all animals, so it’s quite normal for your kitty to act that way. 


That’s why all cat owners should be aware of the different cat sitting positions and what they mean. Thus, no pets will be bashed for being aggressive when in reality they are simply afraid.


You’ll have to do everything possible to calm down your fluffy friend. It’s especially dangerous if it stays in a lowered position, ready to attack because then it’s hard to be spotted, and somebody could get hurt.


5. The Anxious Cat

Typical characteristics of an anxious cat:

  • Cats that experience anxiety normally distances themselves and even hide. That’s normal because the environment may be causing uncertainty and is why they try to cope with the problem themselves.
  • They sit in a slightly lowered position and seem extremely alert.
  • Their facial expressions are also indicative of the fact that they are worried — widely open eyes with dilated pupils, independently swiveling ears, etc.
  • The position and movement of the tail are also quite distinctive signs of anxiety. Anxious cats lower their tails and may either keep them still or slowly move them from side to side at the tip.


Cats are extremely sensitive creatures. They can feel the tension in the air and may become anxious if there is a lot of shouting around them, for example. Also, they are animals of habit. They like being able to predict what will happen next. 


However, if, say, you’ve recently moved or are in the process of moving to a new place, there is a good chance you’ve had to change your schedule, and hence your feline isn’t sure of what will follow. 


Or you might have a newborn to whom you dedicate all your time. Your cat might feel forgotten.


Regardless, countless things could’ve caused your fluffy friend to feel anxious, but one thing’s certain — you’ll have to fix that. Give your cat plenty of attention and don’t let it feel lonely. If nothing helps, though, I recommend consulting with your veterinarian. They will perform all the necessary testing and tell you if there is anything to worry about.


6. The Angry Cat

Typical characteristics of an angry cat:

  • Angry cats will lower their bodies to get ready to attack or run.
  • Their whiskers will be stiff and away from the face, and their ears will be flat against the back of their heads.
  • They usually hold their tails under their bodies and focus solely on their target.
  • Also, they will try to look large and scary. Their fur will erect, and they will stand in a threatening manner.


We’ve all seen an angry cat, and if the frustrated and fearful ones are intimidating, those bursting with anger are downright scary


The last thing you’d want to do is try to pet your cat while it’s in “devil mode.” You will not calm it down; trust me. On the contrary, it may interpret that as another threat, and you can probably guess what would happen next.


So, instead of trying to calm down the furry beast in front of you, slowly remove what may be causing the anger (if that’s safe to do) and get out of the room as quickly as possible. You don’t want to provoke your cat in any way, as that will only lead to more anger and loads of Band-Aids on your shopping list.


Of course, there are many other behavioral traits and sitting positions that have interesting explanations too. However, the goal of this article is to provide essential information on cat sitting positions and what they mean. Therefore, if you spot anything unusual with your cat’s behavior and this article doesn’t cover it, consult with your vet. 


To Sum Up


Cats are both independent animals and attention seekers. If they want something, they will do everything possible to get it. That’s why the occasional tantrum your kitty might throw shouldn’t be a cause for concern.


However, it’s immensely important to have some basic knowledge of cat sitting positions and what they mean, and now, having read this article, you surely do. So good luck, and have fun playing with your big-eyed, furry angel; I know you will.


Ultimate Cat Secrets revealed

If you want to know everything about your cat and the secrets they are hiding from you then just go over and have a look at my Cat Secrets Guide. It answers all of your questions and will improve the relationship you will have with your cat.



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