by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
You don’t have to be Dr. Doolittle understand what your cat’s saying. With a little knowledge of cat body language, you can “listen” better. All of us cat owners in Wisconsin can benefit from this! If you are traveling, our team of professional pet sitters already knows how to read feline behaviors.
“I’m deeply relaxed.” The cat sits or lies with her eyes shut or nearly shut, purring, ears forward, whiskers at ease.
“I’m excited.” The cat’s standing with her tail up and possibly curling it quickly. Her ears and whiskers are forward and eyes bright. Very excited, prowling kitties may chatter their teeth or growl, lash their tails and hunker down, ready to spring.
“I trust you.” The cat appears relaxed, and may show her belly and lie in an exposed area such as the middle of the floor. If she shows her belly and looks excited, beware. It’s playtime.
“You’re my friend.” The cat bumps or rubs her head and sides on you, then shows her backside, inviting you to take whiff like her cat pals. Pet her above the tail and she’ll turn around.
“I don’t like this.” The ears swivel to the sides. Her eyes are half closed, pupils are dilated and her whiskers may be pinned back against her cheeks.
“I’m scared.” The cat pins back her ears and whiskers (or moves her ears sideways, especially if aggressive), and her pupils dilate. She may growl, hiss, and unsheathe her claws. To look larger to attackers, she may puff her fur, especially the tail hair. She may stand on her hind legs, or arch like a Halloween decoration. Cats planning to pounce often switch their low-held tails. Extremely fearful, submissive cats tuck their tails and hunker down.
“I’m hurt.” The cat may appear afraid, but hide or hiss or growl if you touch a painful area. Cats frequently hide pain, so don’t rely on these signs as the only indicator of illness or injury.
Next time your kitty is displaying behaviors you are unfamiliar with, think of this as your first class in feline body language!