Understanding Your Cat's Body Language
Did you ever wonder what your cat was thinking? Why do they always
rub their heads on things, especially you? We may not be able to ask
our kitty and get a verbal response but we can observe their body
language to see what they're thinking.
Let's start at the top-the ears. Cat's ears do more than hear, they
reflect the cat's emotions and impending actions. Ears perked up mean
she's curious and interested. Ears drawn back flat to the head mean
irritation, anger, and a possible fight is ahead. Ears forward mean
she's attentively engaged in what's going on.
Working our way down, the "eyebrow" whiskers, like all
the whiskers, help the cat with sensory perception like measuring
width or depth.
The cat's eyes, like human eyes, dilate and widen when excited and
scared. They narrow when angry and make deep eye contact when they
want to show they trust and love you.
Around the nose whiskers, cheek, chin, and chest area there are
glands that, when they rub on objects or people, secrete an oil
with a distinctive scent unique to your cat. This is one way they
mark their territory. So, when you think they're rubbing on you
to show affection, you're only partly right. They are also saying:
"I like you enough that I want to put my name on you and
call you 'mine'".
Cat's fur can also be a mood indicator. If you've ever seen an
angry or scared cat, you've seen their hair stand up. This gives
the illusion the cat is larger than it actually is which, ideally,
is supposed to help repel the object or your cat's distaste. It
can also fluff when they're cold which helps them to stay warmer
Cat's feet are useful items and not just for walking and body support.
For example, cat's paws knead when happy, or sometimes, if they're
really nervous. Kneading goes back to when they were happily nursing
close to their warm mothers. Their paws also are able to transfer
their scent when they knead or rub them on things. The pads on the
bottoms of their feet help to absorb the shock of landing after
jumps or falls. Claws extend to attack or can extend when they need
to be sharpened.
The hind legs will bend, supporting the body ready to attack or
jump, depending on the situation. Sometimes, you'll see your cat
crouch or squat and wiggle his bottom when he's ready to attack
prey-whether its toys, animals, or your feet.
Cat's tails provide balance. The tail will stand straight up when
being chased or doing the chasing. It will be flat when relaxed
and greatly fluff up when, as stated before, he's scared or angry.
Cats have different ways of vocalizing their needs and wants.
They purr to show contentment and happiness. They meow for different
reason such as: they want to find you, they're hungry, they want
in or out of somewhere or they want your attention. They growl to
show anger or dominance or when they're playing. Cat's voices, pitches
and indications as to what they are saying by meowing are as unique
Understanding their body language is fun and insightful. The longer
you're around your cat, the more you'll understand what they're
thinking. At times, it will almost seem as if they are talking to
you-just don't get caught meowing back to him when other people