• Marcy Santos

Reading Your Cat’s Body Language

As first-time or even long-time cat owners, we may not realize what is going on with their bizarre behavior. It sometimes truly is a learning curve to try and understand your cat; these animals will exhibit body language that is much different than a dog or other pet.


Here are a few signs to look for while observing your feline friend:


Rubbing and Head Butting


These loving animals like to mark their scent by head butting or rubbing against their humans. This typical behavior is a classic sign of a kitty seeking attention. Whether they are needing food or just seeking affection, this is the time to enjoy petting and quality time with them.


Blinking Eyes and Bumping Noses


Notice how a cat will slowly blink his or her eyes while staring at you. This slow, blinking gesture sometimes is compared to blowing kisses. Unlike dogs, who like to jump on and lick their humans, cats exhibit affection with their eyes and noses. Although they may lick like a dog, nose bumping is another signal that they are expressing love.


Kneading the Dough


There are several possibilities as to why cats knead. One of them is an instinctual trait carried on from back when it was a nursing kitten. Cats will also knead their sleeping areas or on other places, including humans, in preparation for resting. This expression is a sign of contentment.


Showing the Belly


In the animal world, the tummy is a very vulnerable area to expose, so humans are actually quite peculiar because we stand straight up and expose our bellies all the time. For a cat to exhibit this behavior would indicate a strong sense of trust. Although our cat is in a happy place at this time, they may latch onto our hands with their mouth and claws resulting in injury. Approach this body language with caution as they can become overstimulated in this position and unintentionally harm us.


Watch the Pupils


Another way to read for a cat’s behavior is to pay attention to their eyes. If they present large dilated pupils, it is a sign of aggression, which means they are either aggravated, feel uncomfortable in some way, or just need to let out spare energy. These animals have an innate sense to hunt prey and need to express themselves daily. We should make time every day for playing with toys so our pets can wear off this aggressive energy.


On the other hand, if your cat’s eyes are narrow or have formed into slits, that means they are very much comfortable with you. Contrary to popular media, it does not mean they are angry!


Tail Signals


Cats are more likely to be in a friendly mood if the tail is up. If the tail is down, this may display a sense of fear or anxiety. On top of that, a wagging tail has a much different meaning for a dog than it does for a cat. If a cat’s tail wags, it may mean that they are irritated or annoyed—or about to pounce on their favorite toy or what they deem as prey. However, a slow wagging tail could mean that our cats are merely just being curious.


A cat will frequently use these kinds of body language to convey to us their emotions, so taking the time to understand these distinct ways of communicating with our pets will help us satisfy their wants and needs more clearly. Remember, each cat is an individual, and they may exhibit behavior that deviates from this. You know your pet best, so use this only as a guide.




The Right Fluff Pet Sitting offers dog walking, pet sitting, cat care, and overnight pet sitting in client's homes.  We service Rockville, Bethesda, and Potomac MD.

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