Cat Body Language

| February 19, 2009 | 0 Comments

WhiskersDid 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 our cats’ 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.

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'”.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.

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.

CatCat’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 as humans.

Understanding cat 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 are around!

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Category: Cats, Pets

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