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Understanding Your Cat: Cat Body Language

Cats can communicate through body language. Learn how to decipher this language

Understanding Your Cat:
Cat Body Language

Have you ever tried to decipher your cat body language? It is difficult to learn the different meanings of "meow", but cats can definitely communicate with us through their body. For instance, unlike a dog, a cat wagging her tail is not a happy cat. Instead, she is telling you she is annoyed.

Cat body language is not this difficult to understand. Here are a few tips that will go a long way in improving communications with your cat.

When your cat is relaxed and happy

Cats who are relaxed and happy show it with their ears, their tail, their eyes and their general behaviour. The ears are held up and alert. The tail is not moving: it is either straight up, or relaxed. The more relaxed your cat is, the more relaxed her eyes will be. She will have a tendency to gaze at you with eyes slightly closed. If she closes her eyes slowly, she feels very safe and relaxed. If she kneads her paws, you can be sure she is really happy. This move seems to come from when she was a tiny baby and used to knead her mother for milk. So she definitely trusts you.

If your cat is showing her belly, either by liying down on her side or on her back, she trusts you and welcomes you if you want to pet her. Some cats love to be rubbed on their tummy, but not all of them. So watch her reaction. She will let you know either by moving back to her feet, or by a more aggressive reaction that you won't be able to miss! Respect her wishes.

When your cat is pleased to see you

When your cat is pleased to see you, she holds her tail straight up when greeting you. If she rubs her face against you, she is actually using the glands located in her forehead, whiskers and chin to spread her scent on you and mark you as her territory.

When your cat purrs

Surprisingly, if your cat is purring, it doesn't necessarily mean that she is content. Kittens learn to purr, as a way of communicating with their mother, when they are two days old. As they grow older, they continue to purr to indicate they are happy. However, it is good to know that cats also purr when they ae sick or anxious, as a form of self-soothing. Another use of purring is when a cat shows submission to another cat, or wants to express friendliness.

When your cat is curious, playing or hunting

When your cat is hunting, he tends to hold his boddy low, close to the ground. The tail is held down, with an occasional twitch of the tip. As he is about to pounce, he wiggles his behind.

When your cat is interested something, he holds his tail at halfway up and slowly moves it from side to side. When the tail is curved like a question mark, the cat is excited. It could be because he is hungry or ready to play.

When your cat wants something

When you cat wants something such as food, water, attention, affection or a clean litter , he tend to push himself against your legs telling you, in cat language: "Hey you, all the way up there, can you please give me what I need down there?"

When your cat is upset

You shouldn't have any trouble knowing when your cat starts being upset with your petting or anything else: his tail, moving side to side, will let you know. The more upset he is, the bigger the tail movement will be. And if the tail hits the floor or the furniture with a thump, watch out! Then growling, hissing, and swiping with the paw is the next level of cat upset. Get out of the way!

When your cat is fearful and aggressive

When your cat is afraid, he will attempt to make himself look smaller. For instance, he may tuck his tail close to his body and crouch into a ball before backing away. His ears will be held back sideways and his pupils will be very dilated.

If he is afraid but ready to react, he will bare his teeth and his claws as he faces the threat in a sideways stance.

Aggressive cats make themselves look as scary and intimidating. They make themselves appear as big as possible by arching their backs and puffing up the fur on their whole body. They also pull her whiskers back, with one paw is raised and ready to swat, while the tail is quickly moving from side to side. They may also hiss. When they are ready to jump, scratch or bite, they show their fangs and give a series of warning growls.

While thos behaviours are common to all cats, every cat has its own language and individual nuances. Take the time to observe your cat and his moods. Learn to recognize your cat body language and what he is trying to tell you. It will deepen your relationship with your kitty and, in the process, you will have a much happier cat.

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