Cats might seem hard to read at first, but once you know what physical cues to look for, you can start to identify what they’re feeling. We at Island Pet Veterinary Hospital want to share this list of signs so you can learn what your cat is saying through body language.

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

Signs of an anxious cat

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

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

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:

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

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.

If you have any questions or concerns about your feline companion’s behavior, please do not hesitate to contact us.