How to understand what a cat wants: secrets of the body language of pets

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Cats have mastered the language of gestures perfectly

Cats, like any other animal, cannot speak. This is a disadvantage because it often seems, from the attentive expression on a cat's face, that they understand everything and are even able to give their human good advice. On the upside, over the millennia that these creatures have lived next to us, they have developed a whole system of gestures that can convey their feelings and emotions to us. But how do you understand a cat's body language?

The British animal protection foundation Cats Protection has compiled a "dictionary" of this language to help people communicate with their furry friends. All the basic gestures of the animal are divided into feelings. A separate section is devoted to purring.

Happiness and joy

What could be better than seeing a happy and contented cat? There are several signs that your cat is feeling great.

A straight but relaxed tail. If your cat walks towards you and its tail is straight and raised, but relaxed and flexible, it means that it is happy to see you and greets you. It is possible that even now she will gently rub her legs and stroke your tail.

Rubbing her head or body. Speaking of physical contact. If a cat rubs her head, cheeks, or sides against you, she is leaving her scent on you. This is also a gesture of welcome. You have just been accepted into the pack, which is a great honor, given that cats are solitary animals by nature.

Squinting eyes. If a cat is looking at you from under half-drooped eyelids, it feels relaxed. It doesn't need to hunt you or watch you, it just likes to know that you are there.

Slow blinking. 

Rolling onto the back. The belly is the most vulnerable part of the cat's body. So if a furry cat lies down in front of you, rolls onto its back or side, and shows you its belly, it is a sign of the highest trust. But do not assume that this is an invitation to pet the animal's belly. Not all cats like this kind of petting, and you can get a scolding with sharp claws instead. If you don't know how the cat will react to such familiarity, it's better to pat it on the head.

Bouncing. If your cat jumps up and down a little when it sees you, it is not just happy to see you, but also wants a little affection from you. It would be rude not to respond.

Anxiety and stress

Cats are not very trusting animals and feel anxious at the slightest change in the situation around them. There are several gestures that an animal can use to show its stress. Always pay attention to them.

The body pressed to the ground. A cat lies down with its whole body on the ground in a situation where it wants to hide but does not see a safe shelter nearby. Then it tries to merge with the surface, to become invisible. Do not disturb the animal - let it run away to a place where it will be calmer.

Ears pressed to the head. This is a sign of severe stress and even fright. Do not try to touch the cat showing it. It may react aggressively.

Dilated pupils. This can also be a sign of great interest. In any case, a cat whose pupils are dilated is experiencing strong emotions and is not interested in you.


Cats are not the most fearful of animals, but this does not mean that they are not aware of fear. They just react to it with aggression and can fight. So do not even try to approach the animal if it shows you one of the following gestures. Moreover, try not to look at the cat not only in the eyes, but even in its direction, so that it does not perceive you as a threat. And don't call him the usual "kitty, kitty, kitty" - in this case, he will perceive the sounds s, t, or sh as an aggressive hiss in response. It is better to leave the frightened cat alone, let it run away, hide, and calm down. You can talk to him later.

Arching back. If a cat stands on its outstretched legs and arches its back, it is trying to appear larger. He literally threatens his companion.

Tense tail. An absolutely straight, tense, and raised tail is also a sign of intense fear.

The hair stands up, the whiskers stand up. This is another defense mechanism by which the cat tries to appear larger and more intimidating. The whiskers are often pointed toward the object that frightens the cat. Often, such manifestations are accompanied by a loud scream. The next step is a strong paw strike.


We usually perceive a cat's purr as a sign of relaxation and happiness. And this is true if the body language confirms that the animal is calm and happy.

But purring can also be a manifestation of anxiety. If the cat is fussing while purring, pay attention to where it is leading you, what it wants to show you. She is clearly drawing your attention to something.

Sometimes felines purr to calm themselves in a stressful situation. So, if your pet purrs at the veterinary clinic, it doesn't mean that he is happy to see his doctor. It is a sign that the animal is very worried.

Another reason for purring is pain. Therefore, it is important to watch your cat's body language, as well as the context, as this is the best indicator of whether it is happy and comfortable.

Earlier, OBOZREVATEL published a list of foods that should not be fed to cats.

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