Understanding Your Cat’s Body Language

Ever wonder what your cat is trying to say to you? Perhaps you’re new to cat ownership and would like some insight on her body language. Read on below as a Jensen Beach vet helps you interpret your cat’s signals.


A happy or contented cat will keep her body relaxed, not tense or contracted. A defensive cat, however, will crouch in a low position with the eyes averted. A contracted body usually signals fear or intimidation.


The tail is one of the easiest ways to interpret your cat’s body language. A raised, slightly curled tail means your cat is in a relaxed or playful mood. Sudden whips of the tail could indicate a coming attack, and short whips back and forth usually mean great excitement. A submissive cat will put her tail between her legs, much like a dog.


If your cat stretches her legs out, it could mean one of two things: a sign of full self-confidence, or a preparation of attack. If your cat bends down with her front legs, she’s indication a desire to avoid conflict while simultaneously expressing that she’ll defend herself if necessary. If your cat bends both the front legs and the back legs, she’s in full defensive mode. This, accompanied with a slightly raised front paw, indicates a defensive mood.


You’ve probably seen your cat stretch her head forward, looking for petting or touching. This is signaling that your cat wants contact. If your cat lowers her head, turns it sideways, or pulls her chin in, she’s displaying her lack of interest. You may see this gesture utilized when your cat encounters another feline—they’re letting each other know they’re not interested in fighting.


Ears can be a tricky indicator of your cat’s body language. Pointed ears that face forward can mean interest or varying shades of tension. If a cat’s ears are help rigidly up and turned backwards a bit, she’s probably expecting an attack. This posture, accompanied by hissing, indicates that the cat is ready to attack any threats. A relaxed, playful, or hunting cat will hold her ears forward, open, and high.

Keep in mind that all cats are different, and may display different signs to mean different things. Ask your Jensen Beach veterinarian more about your cat’s body language to get more help interpreting her signals!


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