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 express how they are feeling. Tail up and relaxed Body language Tail up and relaxed, relaxed ears facing forwards, often walking towards you. Cat’s mood Relaxed, friendly cat showing greeting behaviour. How to interact with your cat Let him sniff your hand and if you are familiar with your cat, you may want to stroke his head and along his back.
Roll onto side and show belly. Body language Often starts with a tail up greeting, rubs its 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 showing greeting behaviour, often seen after a period of separation. 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 vulnerable area. The best response is to say “hello” to return the cat’s greeting rather than stroke or tickle his tummy.
Lying outstretched Body language Lying 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 brief stroke on the head. If she looks sleepy, then leave her to get some rest.
Scared cat Body language. In a crouched position with tail tucked around or under his body and muscles tense. His eyes may look large and be darting about and ears back or moving listening to sounds around him. He may lick his nose as a sign of stress. 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 interact with him.
Very fearful cat Body language. In the ‘Halloween cat’ stance with an arched back, bushy tail and fur standing up to make herself look bigger. Often her eyes may look huge as her pupils are dilated and ears are flattened against her head. Cat’s mood Very fearful cat that feels threatened or cannot escape. She may hiss or spit as a warning to stay back. Be careful as she may attack defensively as a last resort. 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 approach or touch a cat that is feeling very fearful.