How to Understand Cat Body Language. A Helpful Guide

How Smart Is the Average House Cat?

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You have asked the question “How to Understand Cat Body Language” So, I will be answering what you need to know. Cats are probably the most social creatures that we have been able to adopt. Given that cats are initially wild animals, we have had to study cat behavior.

Well, since we have the ability to comprehend our pet’s behaviors, living with cats is one of the oldest human practices there is. However, domesticating a cat without prior knowledge about cat behavior is going to be tough for any pet lover.

Fortunately for us, we have been able to understand our cats through vocalization and also cat body language. Well, if you are planning to get a kitty, you must understand a few things among them cat communication. Well, this article is going to take you through some of the most common body talks in cats.


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Understanding cat body language for new cat owners


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We adopt kitties because we love them and we also want to give them a good home, right? However, this means that we are taking up another member of the family. And this time, a family member from another species. There is absolutely nothing easy about this, except that your willingness will determine your relationship with your cat. As a matter of fact, when you understand the nature of cats, you might end up having a best friend in your cat.

However, in order to be able to live under the same house peacefully, humankind has been able to study cat behavior. This way, we are now able to understand what our cats are telling us through their various body language cues.

However, this will require you to spend a favorable amount of time with your kitty. This way, you can be able to monitor him and observe his behavior in order to determine what different situations make your cat feel. Below, we are going to look at different cat body language as well as its meaning:


Well, just as you can see someone’s soul through their eyes, so can you with your cat. Your cat’s eyes are going to be a major component to focus on when you are looking to observe cat behavior. What does this really mean? You can be able to tell your cat’s emotional status if you look at his eyes.

His eyes will communicate emotions like anger, frustration, and even happiness and contentment. However, it is going to be up to you to decipher what your cat is trying to tell you.

Calm eyes with occasional slow links mean that your cat is doing okay and happy. In most cases, this will be the entire mood of your cat unless he is bothered. When a cat is blinking, it means that he trusts the surroundings which only means that he is content.

This, however, might change real quickly when your cat gets irritated. For instance, if the local dog comes around to poke your cat, he is definitely going to be alarmed. Due to irritation or fear, your cat will have wide-open eyes and he might also be aggressive.


Your cat’s ear positions will also play a large role when you are trying to determine what your cat is trying to tell you. Well, your cat may also position his ears in a certain way in order to communicate with other cats.

Either way, you should be able to understand cat ear talk so that you can identify what is going on with him. Just like with the eye talk, you will be able to tell quite a lot when you are observing your cat’s ear movement and positioning.

When your cat has his ears leaning forward slightly, he is probably relaxing#. You will also observe your cat’s eyes as indicated above, calm and might even give you a stare. It means that your cat is happy and content with the surroundings.

On the other hand, when your cat hears a strange noise or even footsteps approaching your doorstep, he might have his ears straight and upright. This is because they have a strong sense of hearing and also this ear talk means that your cat is alert. He is trying to figure out where the noise is coming from.

Agitated kitty

Now, when you have an agitated kitty, you will observe his ears leaning back on his head. At this point, all is not well and your cat feels very threatened. Some cats will have their ears falling sideways when they are angry. In the situation your cat is moving his head while his ears lean back, your cat is in an aggressive state. The best thing to do would be to get him out of the said situation.

The meaning of the ear talk will highly depend on the situation your cat is it. Therefore, it would not be fair to specifically suggest that the above ear positions mean the outlined. For instance, if your cat is relaxing at home with his ears down and to the side, this could mean that is relaxed and having a good time.

On the other hand, ears falling sideways could mean that your cat is treated. For instance, when you are running a multi-cat home, your bigger cat might feel a little threatened. Therefore, observe the situation as well as the ear movement to be able to understand what he is trying to say.


How to Understand Cat Body Language

Cat-tail talk

Just as with the above, your cat will also speak to you through his tail. In fact, mist cat owners are able to observe the tail and be able to understand cat body language. For instance, when your cat’s tail is hard and straight forward, it means that your cat is interested in something.

It could be that he is trying to figure a new item out. In addition, cats may also behave in such a way when they are feeling threatened by potential prey or a stray cat. Once again, it will depend on the situation at hand for you to be able to determine what your cat is trying to communicate using his tail.

On the other hand, when your cat’s tail is back or probably forming a gentle U, it means that your cat is doing okay. However, this is not the same when your cat thumps his tail on the ground or is actually wagging it. This is usually a sign of aggression or agitation. As a matter of fact, you should leave him alone or eliminate the reason for aggression. The same goes for when your cat has a Halloween cat tail.

Body Posture

You can also be able to tap into your cat’s emotional status when you observe his body posture. This is especially important for cat owners because cats are vulnerable to emotional vices such as boredom, loneliness, stress, and anxiety.

For instance, when your cat is relaxed and content, you will find him stretched out while lying on his side. This is when he feels that he is safe in the house and there are no possible threats likely to happen. In this position, your cat is the most comfortable at home.

Your cat’s body position should also help you identify when your cat is happy. However, your cat might use different positions to signify that he is happy. Well, he might sit upright while observing the surroundings, or even watching TV. In addition, your cat might also lie down while tucking his paws underneath his body. At this position, your cat will have his head facing forward with ears slightly forward.

When your cat is alert and focused, you will also be able to tell using his body movements. In most cases, your cat will be focused on when he wants to hunt. Be it a toy or even trying to figure a new item out, he will have his entire mind and body focused on catching it. You will notice that he will walk with his body low as he slowly approaches the target.

Fearful Cat body position

Cats are quite vulnerable to feelings of fear as well as anxiety. In most cases, when a cat is faced with a fear causing stress, he will try to make himself look bigger. In addition, he will have his far standing off his body. It could be that he has just spotted a potential threat in the neighborhood.

By arching his body, your cat is positioning himself in a defensive posture. Note that fear will arouse the fight or flight reflexes. And since he is in his safety zone, your cat will be brave enough to want to fight off the intruder.

In addition to the above, when your cat is anxious, it is possible that he will try to make himself into a tiny ball. New cats have the tendency of getting anxious especially when left alone in the house. You will have to spend some time with your kitty. This way, you can ensure that he feels safe and secure in your household.

How to Understand Cat Body Language

Other cat body language that you may need to understand


The above body language and gestures are the most commonly observed in the feline family. However, there are other gestures in cats that you may not notice even though they are equally important. These may include:

Kneading – when a cat is kneading at you, it means that he is content. This is learned in kittenhood whereby kittens may knead their mother for milk. Therefore, when you find your kitty kneading at you or someone else, it is a sign of a relaxed cat. He will do this when you are holding or petting him

Rubbing nose – Yeah, as disgusting as this is, cats have a tendency to rub noses with their owners as well as people they trust. They will do this to mark you because of their territorial nature. It is how your cat will engage with you when he is trying to bond. In other cases, nose rubbing might only be your cat greeting you. New cats will also rub his nose against yours to identify and mark you as his.

Flopping – When a cat is flopping against you, it is a kind gesture of him trying to show you that he does trust you. In addition to this, is your cat won’t stop arching his body against you, he is probably looking to get some attention from you.

Grooming – Your cat might also groom you every once in a while. Well, this is also a kind gesture that indicates you are part of his family. Cats would live in groups even in the wild. It is how they would protect their own and also engage in other activities. Therefore, don’t be surprised when your cat is grooming you as he is only trying to take care of you.


Vocalization as a means for communication in felines


While it is important to understand cat body language, we cannot forget to mention that vocalization will play a large role in feline-human communication. Therefore, it is important to always pay attention to these body language cues and at the same time listen to your cat.

Listen to him when he is demanding something and ensure that you provide it to him. This is why we insist on developing a routine for feeding as well as petting your kitty. This way, you can ensure that you have met your cat’s needs on time.

Note that cats specifically meow in efforts to communicate with us, the human species. Understanding cat vocalization, as well as his body language, will help you build a strong bond with your cat. Therefore, you should spend enough time with your cat so that you can get to know how he communicates.



In conclusion, you will need to spend a favorable amount of time with your kitty so that you can be able to observe his habits. This way, you are going to pick some of his most effective communication cues. Play with your cat more often as it will expose him to new environs as well as new experiences. Always make sure that you get home early enough to feed him as per the set routine.

New kitties may need more attention as you will have to learn how they communicate as well as other behaviors. Once you understand cat body language, you will be able to ensure that your cat is comfortable. Eliminate any element causing fear or anxiety in your cat.

This way, you will minimize the chances at which your cat might exhibit aggression. I hope you get to learn about your cat as you embrace this new and exciting experience with your companion. Understanding your cat is key to a strong and healthy bond between you and your cat.

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