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Cat Behavior And The Body Language

Cat behavior is often misunderstood due to our inability to read their body language. Cats, just like us humans, use body language to communicate and broadcast information about their feelings and moods, desires, likes and dislikes. Understanding the meaning of various body signals will help to gain more insight into cat's behavior, build a better relationship and even predict its behavior in the future.

Here are a few examples of cat body signals:

1. Face language

- ears up and pointed forward: "I'm alert and ready for action"

- ears forward and slightly outward: "I'm at ease but observing"

- ears up and pointed backwards: "I'm angry, confident and ready to fight"

- ears pulled back and molded against the skull: "I'm scared and prepared to defend myself"

- ears down and sideways: "I'm submissive"

- slowly blinking eyes: "I feel peaceful and relaxed"

- dilated pupils: "I'm scared", "I'm angry and scared" or "I'm excited"

- narrow pupils: "I'm confident and watchful"

- whiskers forward: "Interested"

- whiskers backwards: "Anxious"

2. Talking tails

- tail bent forward over the head: "I'm full of myself"

- tail lifted straight up: "Face">All is well, I am pleased"

- tail straight up and quivering: "I am so happy to see you!"

- tail straight up and waving gently: "I am curious, I want to explore"

- tail straight up, tail tip hooked: "I'd like to be friendly but not sure if everything is OK"

- tail straight up and bushy: "I'm angry, watch out"

- tail slightly up: "Not sure"

- tail mid up, whipping from side to side: "I'm irate and frustrated, get lost!"

- tail horizontal: "I'm ready to be friends"

- tail down, tail tip twitching: "I'm bit annoyed"

- tail down between the back legs: "I'm afraid"

3. Other body messages

- purring and relaxed: "I'm happy and content"

- purring and tense: "I'm nervous and frightened" or "I'm in pain"

- rubbing against your legs: "I love you and you are mine"

- kneading with the paws: "I feel good"

- shaking paws: "Yuk, disgusting"

- giving you head butts: "You're my buddy and I like you"

By misreading cat's body signals and by responding in the wrong way, cat could develop unpleasant behavior problems, it could become distrusting, timid, aggressive and unpredictable. Understanding cat body language is of vital importance for owners adopting a cat from shelters. These cats have often been abused and suffer emotional trauma. They need to be approached very gently and carefully observed for any signs of defensiveness or aggression as they may be confused and not know if new person plans to hurt them or not. Pinpointing the reasons and solving many cat behavior problems they may have, will require understanding attitude and lot of patience.

Submitted by:

Sara Williams

Sarah is a veterinarian with special interest in cat psychology and cat training. She owns http://www.catbehaviortraining.com website where people can find practical training tips & advice on cat behavior problems.




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