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Your Cat's Body Language

Aug 17, 2007
There is so much that can be told about a cat's mood by observing his body language. A happy cat will have his ears held high and a tall, straight tail. Ears that are slightly swiveled to the side, or a tail held high but bent over at the tip towards his back show that the cat is very happy. A tail that is carried horizontally means that the cat is feeling average; a drooping tail means that he is unhappy or unwell. A bottle-brush looking tail means that a cat is ready for battle or is very frightened.

A mother cat will usually allow her young kittens to play with her tail, but when she gets tired of this it will thrash wildly, and teach them to leave it alone. Therefore, the thrashing tail indicates that a cat is about to lose his temper, while a slowly wagging tail means alertness.

Fear or anxiousness is also displayed by lip-licking and possibly purring. Rapid blinking can show anxiety, a sign that a cat has friendly intentions and does not pose a threat to another cat. Half-closed eyes or slow blinking display contentment, and many owners believe that blinking at their cat , if the blink is returned, is the feline equivalent of giving and receiving a kiss. Large pupils indicate interest, while smaller ones mean that the cat is not so alert.

The whiskers drawn forward displays a sign of pleasurable anticipation. When a cat is about to be fed, or when he catches a prey animal, then they will be almost wrapped around the body. Whiskers are drawn back tightly against the face to emphasize the snarl when two cats confront one another. And in the cat world yawning is not a rude behavior, but rather a sign of reassurance.

You may be infuriated when your cat refuses to use his cat flap, and instead, calls for you to open the door. However, this too is a valuable survival technique. A cat will not enter or leave a room unless he can see his way clear, and that no larger predators are lying in wait for him. For this reason, he prefers his owner to open doors wide so he has a clear view of what lies ahead. He will wait a moment or two, checking out the territory, before going through the open door.

Cat flaps do not allow for this because as soon as a cat begins to go through the flap, he is committed. He cannot turn around and get back in because he will be trapped by the flap. This, and the fact that flaps have to be opened by pushing the head against them, accounts for the reluctance of most cats to use them. And if it is raining at the front door, chances are your cat will ask to be let out the back door, thinking that it might not be raining at the other side of the house!
About the Author
Tristan Andrews writes useful articles about cats and kittens. Discover and explore the feline world. Find out how to better care for, train and live with your cat at http://www.i-love-cats.com
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