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A cat's body language

Just because your cat isn't miaowing doesn't mean that he's not talking to you and the other animals around him, in fact he is using body language.

Cats use lots of body positions and movements to show how they are feeling and if you watch carefully you will start understanding their moods. Below are ways that a cat uses different body parts to show you how they are feeling.


Tail up and relaxed

Body language

Tail in airTail up and relaxed, relaxed ears facing forwards, often walking towards you.

Cat's mood
Relaxed, friendly cat saying hello.

How to interact with your cat
Let him sniff your hand and if you are friends with your cat, you may want to stroke his head and along his back.



Roll onto side and show belly

Body language
Cat on it's backOften starts with a tail up to say hello, rubs his head and side of his body around your legs and sometimes may roll over onto his side to show his belly.

Cat's mood
Relaxed, friendly cat saying hello, often seen after you or the cat have been out of the house or not seen each other for a while.

How to interact with your cat
Cats that roll on to their side or back and show their belly are saying that they feel relaxed with you, enough to expose such a private area. The best response is to say “hello” maybe tickle him on the head rather than his tummy.


Lying outstretched

Body language
Lying outstretchedLying outstretched on her side with her paws stretched out in front of her, often with a sleepy look on her face as her eyes may be half closed or blinking.

Cat's mood
Relaxed, contented cat. Some cats may sleep in this position, especially if they have found a sunny spot!

How to interact with your cat
If she is awake, let her sniff your hand and then give her a quick stroke on the head. If she looks sleepy, then leave her to get some rest.


Scared cat

Body language
Cat licking lipsIn a crouched position with tail tucked around or under his body and tense muscles. His eyes may look large and be darting about and ears back or moving listening to sounds around him.  He may lick his nose to show that he is unhappy and or scared.

Cat's mood
Cat is scared and may be looking for a place to hide, to run away and get up high.

How to interact with your cat
Make sure he can easily run away and somewhere that he can hide and get up high if he wants to. It is best to leave him alone and not try to bother him.


Very fearful cat

Body language
Very fearfulArched back, bushy tail and fur standing up to make herself look bigger. Often her eyes may look huge as the black middle parts of the eyes (pupil) are big and ears are flattened against her head.

Cat's mood
A Very fearful cat that is scared or cannot run away to hide or get up high. She may hiss or spit as a warning to stay back. Be careful as she may try to scratch or bite you to protect herself because she doesn’t feel safe.

How to interact with your cat
Make sure she can easily run away and somewhere that she can hide and get up high if she wants to. Do not go near or touch a cat that looks like this because she is feeling very scared.