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Body Language of Cats: Tips for Understanding Cat Body Language

Cat Body Language: Eyes, Ears, and Tail

In this article, you will learn all about the unique body language of cats and kittens.

First, we will explain what your cat’s eyes are communicating. Next, we will review common tail angles and ear movements. Finally, we will talk about cat body positions and what they suggest.

Are you ready to understand what your crazy cat is really thinking?

Is your cat shy? Understand your cat by looking at its eyes.

Is your cat shy? Understand your cat by looking at its eyes.

Body Language of Cats’ Eyes

By looking into your cat’s eyes, you can get a better idea of what your furry feline thinks of you.

If your cat’s eye movements are slow and languid, then it’s a sign of trust. This is also an evident display of affection. Since your cat blinks slowly, it indicates that you are not threatening and your cat likely feels very comfortable around you.

From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes complete sense too. Could you imagine a cat blinking slowly when hunting or when being attacked in the jungle?

Likely not.

Wide Dilated Pupils vs. Small Narrow Pupils

When your cat is afraid, you will notice that its pupils are fully dilated and wide open. This allows their eyes to take in as much information from their visual field as possible. In this situation, they feel vulnerable and cautious.

When your cat is angry or excited, their pupils will likely become narrow and small in diameter. This lets them focus on precise details. However, just like people, if in a bright room or in sunlight, cats’ pupils tend to narrow as well -- no matter what they’re actually feeling emotionally.

The eyes are the windows to the soul, but the ears reveal something too!

The eyes are the windows to the soul, but the ears reveal something too!

Body Language of Cats’ Ears

Your cat’s ear positioning is sometimes harder to read than their eyes. Though, there are some common correlations worth noting.

For instance, if the ears are pointed upward, then your cat is likely excited and alert. If the ears point slightly forward, it suggests calmness or confidence. On the contrary, when the ears flatten down, it could represent anger or fear.

Body Language of Cats’ Tails

You can predict a lot about how your cat is feeling by looking at its tail position and angle relative to its body.

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90 Degrees

If the tail is straight up at a 90-degree angle from its body, then it is a sign of confidence, content, and friendliness. Also, if you see that it is jittering rapidly in this position, then your cat is probably feeling particularly lovable and affectionate.

120 to 180 Degrees

Bring the tail back to 120 degrees then it indicates that it feels non-threatened but perhaps slightly unsure. Then, bringing it back to a full 180 degrees shows that your cat feels somewhat amicable and curious.

270 Degrees to Between the Legs

As the tail drops down even further towards 270 degrees, it could be a sign of aggressive or defensive behavior.

However, when the tail continues to drop and curl up slightly between the legs, then it is likely feeling rather submissive. Then again, this could suggest shame, defeat, or embarrassment just like the old saying goes...

Remember not to get caught with your tail between your legs!

If cats could speak, this one would say, "Gimme some lovin'!"

If cats could speak, this one would say, "Gimme some lovin'!"

Body Position, Posture, and Size

Cats communicate various things from their body position and posture. They can also make themselves appear smaller or bigger depending on the situation.

Facing Directly vs. Sideways Position

When your cat is facing you with a normal body posture, it means that it is feeling confident and receptive.

However, when your cat is standing sideways with an arched spine, this could suggest that it is either afraid, angry, or aggressive. So remember to watch out for the “arch” and the triple-A threat!

Small vs. Big

One step further, whenever your cat huddles down into a ball, it could feel extremely anxious and fearful. In this position, they are likely attempting to protect themselves by making their body smaller and less exposed to attacks.

On the other hand, when your cat stands upright with its back arched and fur all puffed up, it means that it’s ready to defend itself and fight if necessary.

Exposing the Stomach

On a more positive note, when your cat lays down exposing its stomach, then it’s ready for some love and belly rubs.

Perhaps we aren’t much different from cats when it comes to body language after all!

Please participate in the cat poll below and leave a comment after watching the video that explains the unique body language of cats in more detail.

POLL: Body Language of Cats on Their Backs

VIDEO: Cat Body Language Explained

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