Cats have a reputation for being difficult to understand. Yet your feline companion speaks with their tail, ears, whiskers, eyes, and body posture. Learn more about what signs to look for to decipher what they’re saying.

Signs of an anxious cat

An anxious cat will remain still to better evaluate the situation without attracting attention.     

  • When standing, their back will be lower than their front as they slink away from a troubling situation.
  • They will hold their tail low to the ground and may flick it rapidly back and forth as their anxiety mounts. 
  • Their eyes will widen, and their pupils dilate, as they remain alert for danger.
  • Their ears will begin to turn out to the side, shifting lower on the head, or begin to twitch.

Signs of an afraid cat

Cats who are afraid can become aggressive, at which point, it’s easy to identify their mood. Prior to them lashing out, you may notice the following fearful indicators in your cat:

  • A crouched body position that’s slightly arched, ready for a quick getaway or attack
  • Whiskers flat against their face
  • Their tail curled around their body
  • Dilated pupils
  • Lowered ears that are turned out

If the object of your cat’s fear moves closer, they will likely arch their back, raise their hair, and growl, hiss, and swat. At this point, you should back away and allow your cat to calm down.

Signs of an alert, happy cat

A happy cat seeking attention is often easy to identify, but inappropriate petting can change your cat’s mood quickly. When your feline friend is curious and interested in interaction, you’ll notice the following:

  • They will hold their ears high on their head, facing forward.
  • Their tail will be level with their back, or high in the air with a slight curl at the tip.
  • They will hold their head high.
  • Their whiskers will be held level with the sides of their mouth.

Happy cats often meow to seek attention, or they purr contentedly, occasionally offering a trill or chirp to garner petting and praise. 

If you’re not sure what your cat is trying to tell you, contact us to discuss your feline friend’s behavior.