Cats express themselves through body postures, facial expressions and vocalizations. They use these as a means of communicating and avoiding unwelcomed confrontation. Learning and understanding their behaviour can help strengthen your bond with your feline and rule out misunderstanding and any potential aggression.
To understand cats, it is first important to understand their vocalizations and once you do that, body language is the next step. Once you understand their tell-tale signs through vocalizations, their body language will give you an insight of what your furry one’s mood is like.
Some of the common gestures used for communication include:
Most people use their knowledge of dogs and apply it to cats. For instance, if you feline has rolled over on her back and is exposing her tummy, it does not mean she needs a belly rub. A cat in that position signifies ready for a fight. This pose followed by fully extended claws and sharp teeth indicate readiness for a fight.
The Fluttering Blink
If you notice your cat fluttering her eyelids gently and slowly, it is a sign of affection. In feline communication, one furry one closing the eyes in the presence of another is a sign of trust. When you blink slowly, you are telling your cat you are aware of its presence and are relaxed. The next time your furry one blinks at you, you return the same gesture.
The basic judge of a cat’s mood is its tail. When it is straight up, it communicates confidence. Curled around another cat’s tail or human legs signifies friendliness. When you see it tucked below or in between the legs it tells you about insecurity or anxiousness. If it is held upright combined with an arched back, hair straight up along the spine and ready claws is a sign that you should steer out of its way.
The Dead Stare
Cat’s find direct eye contact threatening and intimidating. This is one of the reasons why in social settings, they are seen marching towards people who are ignoring them. The pupils of a cat dilate when they feel fearful. When dilated, the pupils extract as much visual information as possible. This signals that the cat is frightened and wants to go back. A cat’s eyes also respond to ambient lighting, so it is necessary to observe the body language as a whole.
A few tell-tale warning signs that tell you to stay away include: dilated pupils, low twitching tail, and flattened ears. These signs are gentle gestures asking you to back off and let your feline be. Do not even consider stroking your kitty when you see these signs and especially if he or she is in a defensive mode.
Cats’ meows are known to manipulate people in order to have their demands met. Some cats purr, they gurgle high-pitched, growl, hiss and caterwaul (loud guttural sounds made by cats). Caterwauling is common amongst deaf cats when they feel threatened by other cats. However, every cat is unique and nobody knows your cat like the way you do!