In our part 2 series of decoding your cat’s gestures and behaviour, we decipher the meaning behind their body postures and vocal cues. Hopefully, this will help you understand your precious pet better and foster the bond that you both share…
Pay attention to your cat’s body postures.
- If your cat’s back is arched and fur completely flat, it can mean he/she is open to your touch. But if the fur is raised in this position, your pet can be angry or scared.
- If your cat is on her back and purring, it is indicative of a relaxed mood. But be careful when he/she in this position is growling. It can mean your pet is upset or angry and can attack in some way. Anyway, a growling cat in any position is not a happy one! So better to back away until he/she calms down.
Rubbing against your body
When cats rub their bodies or chin against humans, it can mean a display of love and affection. It actually means a marking of their territory. Through this gesture, they indicate something they like or love and want for themselves including their human companions. In terms of cat language, it can mean an expression of love or interest in something or someone.
Displaying the tummy
A happy cat may roll and display her tummy. But when this posture is accompanied by a display of teeth and extended claws, it can be a defensive pose. If the cat is on her back and not able to run away when threatened, this posture may be asking someone to back off.
Cats knead a soft surface including their human companions (shoulders perhaps) when they are happy. It is a behaviour trait from their time as kittens when they nursed. Nursing is always reminiscent of happy and contented times.
Cats also use various audio cues to express their emotions.
- Purring means a happy and contented cat. Through purring, your pet may also be telling you to comfort her.
- If your cat is making spitting or hissing noises, he/she may be angry about something. It can also mean your pet is scared of something. In such instances, give your cat space to calm down.
- Gurgling noises can be a friendly gesture.
- Chattering noises from a cat silently watching birds or other small animals can be expressions, which they make during hunting in a natural environment.
- A howl can mean your pet is in pain or distress. In senior cats, this can also indicate dementia. In unsprayed and unneutered cats, this can be a mating signal.
Animal behavioural experts who have studied cats can only provide general guidelines for their behaviour. Each animal is unique. You probably know your cat the best.