Cat Clues... Body Language and Your Cat
If only we knew what our cats were thinking! Actually body language gives us lots of clues if we pay attention. By learning how to decipher these feline postures, you can deepen the bonds of affection with your cat and prevent misunderstandings and potential aggression. Too many people take their knowledge of dogs and apply it to cats.
Tummy Display – Have you ever wondered why your cat's seemingly flirtatious behavior of rolling over to expose his belly may turn into aggression when you try to stroke her? When your cat is content and relaxed, she may stretch out and roll over. But in other situations, when your cat feels cornered, this pose can be highly defensive. She’s prepared to fight – with fully extended claws and sharp teeth. Be careful!
The Fluttering Blink – When a cat greets another cat or person with slow, languid blinks, it's communicating affection. In the feline world, to close one's eyes in the presence of another is the ultimate sign of trust. The next time your cat blinks at you, return the blink.You are telling her you are aware of her presence and pose no threat.
Tall Tales – One of the most telling barometers of a cat's mood is its tail. When held high, it communicates confidence. Curled around another cat's tail or human legs, it signals friendliness. Tucked below or between the legs, it signals insecurity or anxiousness. The upright bottle-brush tail is an unequivocal sign your cat is feeling threatened. When combined with the arched back, laid back ears and unsheathed claws, watch out!
The Direct Stare – Although people can use direct eye contact to show affection, cats find it threatening. That's why a cat usually gravitates toward the one person in the room who is trying to ignore it! The more fearful a cat becomes, the wider its pupils expand. When the eyes are dilated and wide open, the pupils take in as much visual information as possible.
Body postures, facial expressions and vocalizations convey lots of information on how your cat is feeling. Take it all in and respond accordingly!