You’ve likely noticed the different physical cues your cat gives in different situations. But do you know what they mean? When you familiarize yourself with what signs to look for, you can start to learn what your cat is communicating. Here’s a guide to the signs of when a cat is happy, anxious, and afraid.
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:
- She will hold her head high.
- Her whiskers will be held level with the sides of her mouth.
- She will hold her ears high on her head, facing forward.
- Her tail will be level with her back, or high in the air with a slight curl at the tip.
Happy cats often meow to seek attention, or they purr contentedly, occasionally offering a trill or chirp to garner petting and praise.
Signs of an anxious cat
An anxious cat will remain still to better evaluate the situation without attracting attention.
- When standing, her back will be lower than her front, as she slinks away from a troubling situation.
- Her eyes will widen, and her pupils dilate as she remains alert for danger.
- Her ears will begin to turn out to the side, shifting lower on the head, or begin to twitch.
- She will hold her tail low to the ground and may flick it rapidly back and forth as her anxiety mounts.
Signs of an afraid cat
Cats who are afraid can become aggressive, at which point, it’s easy to identify her mood. Prior to her 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
- Dilated pupils
- Lowered ears that are turned out
- Whiskers flat against her face
- Her tail curled around her body
If the object of your cat’s fear moves closer, she will likely arch her back, raise her hair, and growl, hiss, and swat. At this point, you should back away and allow your cat to calm down.
Questions or concerns about your cat’s behavior? Contact us for help.