Have you ever asked yourself why Garfield’s seemingly flirtatious behavior of rolling over while exposing his belly may be met with aggression when you try to stroke it? Though cats can’t speak the human language but they sure can communicate through their whole body. A very fearful cat might not only keep its tail down, but tuck it between its legs; this is done to present submissiveness to its aggressors. Meanwhile a high, puffed-out tail might indicate a cat trying to make itself bigger to intimidate their possible foes.

So it is important to take into mind about every detail: the cat’s posture, behaviour and of course the whole context of the situation in assessing the cat’s mood. Comprehend the big picture first but if you are still unsure, you can look to individual components of the cat’s body language and put the pieces together to figure out what your cat might be feeling. The more you know about a cat’s personality, the more you can understand their perspective. If you’re looking for an explanation for that cat behaviour here are some insights into the minds of furry felines and why they do what they do.

BODY SHAPE AND POSTURE

Lying on their back, belly exposed

An exposed belly is a sign of complete trust. They are comfortable enough to show its vulnerable area to you. But many people believe that this belly up or also known as “Venus Cat Trap” is an invitation for a belly rub; actually it’s a trap that few people can’t resist. There is a huge chance you’ll get latched onto their hand with claws and teeth.

Arched back

If a cat gets near you and arches their back, they’re trying to get you attention and tell you to pet them. But sometimes an arched back combines with bristled hair means your cat is frightened or angry. When a cat is fearful or angry to the point of being willing to fight, they’ll often make themselves as big as possible in various ways.

Rubbing against you

Most people believe that this means your kitty is showing affection, but the real reason for those cat rubs is to mark their territory. When cats rub against an object, they are transferring their scent as if they are claiming it as their ownership and belonging. So maybe it’s the other way around, you don’t own your cat but rather it owns you.

Arched back

A cat making biscuits means that she is happy and contented because it associates her kittenhood memories, the motion with the comforts of nursing and its mother. Cats knead only to those people she loves. So if this furry friend does this to you it means they love you.

Butt wiggling

This funny and cute butt means that it is connected to stalking its prey. They wiggle their hind ends back and forth to check their balance. It helps them determine if they have solid ground under their hind legs to pounce and also helps them determine if they will make the jump distance safely.

The curled up cat

This is the most common sleeping position in cats. It means that your cat feels calm and safe. Sleeping this way cats minimize their heat loss.

Licking you

Mother cat licks their kittens to establish them as belonging to her, and your cat does the same to tell the world you’re hers. Cats show great affection when they start licking you, considering you as an important part of the family group. They might do this while you show affection by petting her.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR CAT’S BEHAVIOR?

Neutral or Relaxed

1. When sitting, your cat’s position is relax and upright, ears are at an upright and forward position – although they could swivel around if your cat is listening towards familiar sounds like her owner’s voice.

2. When lying down, they may have their paws tucked beneath them, or be lying stretched out on their side or even on their back, with legs spread outwards, which shows that their living a life.

3. If she is blinking very slowly, mimic her behavior to show that you are relaxed – this is a great way to bond with your cat.

4. Whiskers are relaxed and their tail is still with a slight curl like a question mark.

5. If you stroke your cat, their eyes may close in contentment and they will gently purr.

1. Their eyes are open with constricted pupils.

2. Ears are in the straightly upright position while their whiskers prick forward.

3. Their body angled towards the focus of their attention or their body might be low to the ground with hind legs coiled under their body.

4. Your cat’s tail, along with their hindquarters, might be twitching which is one of the obvious signs of her concentration. Once you notice it, you’ll know they’re hunting!

5. If the object of their focus is you and then followed by the rubbing of their tail against you, it simply means that they’re trying to ask for food. So don’t mistake this snugs for affection — these hunters are still focused on their goal.

Focused

Happy

1. When sitting, your cat’s position is relax and upright, ears are at an upright and forward position – although they could swivel around if your cat is listening towards familiar sounds like her owner’s voice.

2. When lying down, they may have their paws tucked beneath them, or be lying stretched out on their side or even on their back, with legs spread outwards, which shows that their living a life.

3. If she is blinking very slowly, mimic her behavior to show that you are relaxed – this is a great way to bond with your cat.

4. Whiskers are relaxed and their tail is still with a slight curl like a question mark.

5. If you stroke your cat, their eyes may close in contentment and they will gently purr.

1. Eyes are open and not blinking, with dilated pupils.

2. Their ears might be swiveling around to perceive every sound she can collect or they may even flatten back to their head is she feels very anxious.

3. Their head lowers and their whiskers pull back to the side to appear non-threatening or may sweep forward for alert.

4. As anxiety escalates, your cat might start to cower, or their back might arch.

5. A still tail is signs of anxiety. If you see this distinctive cat tail sign, make sure to offer some reassurance.

Anxious

Fearful

1. The cat’s ears flatten back against their head while their whiskers flattened or bristling.

2. Eyes are widely open and pupils fully dilated

3. They may run away or crouch but some cats will straighten their front legs to make themselves look taller, or arch their backs and fluff themselves up to look bigger.

4. They may hiss or spit at close threats, growl or strike with claws out.

5. Their tail may be tucked under their body or be moving vigorously from side to side.

1. It focuses intently on their object of frustration. It will do everything just to get what they want.

2. Their senses are set onto their goal – eyes are widely open with pupils dilated, ears forward, and whiskers forward-pointing and spread.

3. They may stride impatiently if they can’t get to what they want.

Frustrated

Angry

1. A twitching, slapping tail or held low can indicate feline anger.

2. They could be silent, hissing, spitting or growling. These sounds are the closest to saying “Hey, back off!”

3. An angry cat tries to look large and threatening, displaying an arched back with fur erect or crouching in a threatening manner.

4. Their ears will lay flat back against their head, and whiskers will be stiff away from their face.

5. They will be giving you the unblinking stink-eye. Their pupils may either be dilated or constricted depends on the amount of light in the room, but with the other clues you can clearly hint a furious lion.

BODY PARTS

EARS

The cat ears speak the volume of her mood. It is interesting to decode the meaning of how one can communicate through the position of the ears.

• Slightly forward

The slightly forward positioning of the ears of a cat signifies that she is feeling confident and calm or sometimes it means that her mood is playful and engaged. It just depends on the context of the situation.

• Straight upright

Something had caught her attention. Cats have super-powered ears; the thirty-two individual muscles each ear allows for a kind of directional hearing. So if she is doing this, she is being very attentive, being alert and vigilant to every sound she can collect.

• Flattened sideways

This is referred to as “airplane ears”. The cat is feeling anxious and defensive. A cat who is in defensive mode typically lies its ears down flat in order to protect its ears. You can almost feel that they are afraid. So be careful if your cat’s ears are in this position.

• Pinned back, flat

Watch out for this kitty because they may be very angry. This ear gesture is associated with hissing or growling; it shows that the cat is extremely furious and aggressive. It is not a perfect time to get near her if she makes this kind of gesture.

EYES

Cats can see in near-darkness and their sharp eyes have the ability to detect motions of their prey. But aside from that, the eyes of this little fellow are literally the window of their souls; their eyes can give you hint to their emotional and physical state.

•Dilated pupils

A cat’s pupil may dilate when she feels surprised and scared. Dilated pupils are a sign of feline excitement. You can notice it when she is playing or preparing to viciously attack a toy. When the pupils dilate, they take in as much visual information as possible.

• Constricted pupils

This narrow, saucer-looking pupil signals an aroused cat. Anger, fear and primarily pleasure: these emotions can cause pupils to contacts into slits to focus more effectively on detail. But cats’ eyes also respond to ambient lighting therefore the body language as a whole should be considered.

• Slow eye blinks

This slow blinks are the air kisses of the feline world. It indicates their love and trust. No need to feel perplexed if your cat is doing this to you, return the show of affection with a slow blink to share the love.

• Stare

Though people use direct eye contact to show affection, most cats find it threatening. A dominant cat will stare into her opponent’s eyes, while a more submissive cat will look away meaning she has surrendered to the dominant opponent’s authority.

• Half-closed
Droopy lids indicate a sign of affection, relation and trust. You may also notice this expression when you tried to stroke her back, meaning she is really up to those.

TELL-TALE TAIL

Cats communicate with their body but one part probably tells it all. Tails are good indicator of a cat’s mood. Let us dive into the cat tail language so we can understand how this body language can tell so much on the cat’s emotion and situation.

• Tail up

One of the most reliable sign that a cat expresses her confidence and contentment is a tail that is lifted vertically. A tail that sticks straight upwards signals happiness, comfort, and openness. However, in certain context – like driving away an unfamiliar cat in her own territory and a willingness to attack, a cat’s upward tail signals negatively. It all depends on the context.

• Tail down

A lower tail is a very serious mood; it indicates a cat who is scared or threatened and shows that the cat may not sure of the situation. It could be a sign that they are aggressive.

• Tucked away

A tail curved beneath the body is a sign of anxiety and submission. When your cat experiences a new environment or meeting a new person, she may tuck away her tail, meaning something is making her nervous. She is in defense mode and is either expecting about a possible impending attack

• Puffed up

A fluffy, puffed up tail resembling a pipe cleaner may look adorable but this Halloween-cat tail is not a good mood; it means that your cat is terrified and is severely frightened. The frightened cat with a puffed tail is trying to appear larger to ward off danger.

• Curved like a question mark

If you notice a curve in her tail which is in a shape of a question mark, consider to play with her because this tabby signals a friendly mood and is up to share some fun time with you.

• Wagging tail

Unlike dogs, whose tail wagging simply means joy, when it comes to cat tail language, a cat’s wagging tail is much more complex. A tail that slaps back-and-fourth indicates fear and aggression. Watch out, because they might scratch the hell out of you.

• Swishing tail

A slowly moving tail swaying back and forth usually means that the cat is focusing on something. It is fascinated on a particular object and is trying to concentrate. He may move her tail while deciphering the situation.