Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Feline behaviour explained – cat body language

In the first of a three-part series of visual guides about cat behaviour, we’re examining common cat body language and postures.

Learning to understand your cat by reading their body language is a fascinating part of owning a cat and it can improve the relationship between you. Cats can be very subtle in their body language and can be difficult to ‘read’ as they have not evolved the many visual communication signals that are seen in social species, like dogs. Spend time watching your cat – see how they move and interacts with their environment, their facial expressions, body postures and vocalisations in different situations – and you can start to build a picture of how your cat is feeling. Here are a few common body postures to give you clues about your cat’s mood:

Cat body language guide

Should you have any concerns about your cat’s health or behaviour, consult your vet.

Please do print this visual guide for a handy reference or share it with friends who may find it useful!

To find out more about feline behaviour, read our Essential Guide leaflet: Understanding your cat’s behaviour or access our free online e-learning course: Understanding Feline Origins.

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  1. Ahhh, the Social Roll. We call that the Trust as all vulnerable areas are exposed. When our cat does it we say she is 'Trusting'.

    1. Yeah, you're right. When a cat does this, she/he trusts you. There's also another sign of trust which was not included in the article. It's when a cat greets you with their tail and ears facing upwards. I wonder why it was not included.

    2. We have some more information about cat body language here: https://www.cats.org.uk/help-and-advice/cat-body-language and a new video on this topic here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXl5FToQDPA

  2. Hi. I'm seriously worried. My 3 yr old moggy was neutered last Friday, by Monday she was in very bad way, I just knew it wasn't right. Took bk to get and she had temp. He said swelling was normal etc and gave intravenous antibiotics. She seemed to be on the mend but still now is walking with difficulty where she is in pain. She is eating but barely drinking. Swelling has got bigger, about the size of 50p coin. Has anybody any help or advice please, as taking her back to the vet really stresses her!
    Please help

    1. Hi Clare, we would strongly advise that you do take your cat back to the vet as they will be able to advise you what to do next based on the cat's current condition. Paws crossed she gets better soon!