Learn the Language of Cats

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Many people think of cats as mysterious creatures, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Cats communicate everything you ever need to know about them just with their body language.

By simply paying attention to a cat’s movements, you can learn everything there is to know about a particular cat. From their tails to their ears to their eyes, cats’ bodies tell you everything about their wants, needs, and even feelings.


The way a cat’s tail is positioned or moving is a great indicator of how they are feeling at that moment. Here are what different tail positions can mean based on the cat’s body language:

  • Up: A tail positioned up means the cat is happy and probably approachable!
  • Down: When a cat’s tail is pointed down, the cat is more than likely threatened or scared by something.
  • Moving Back and Forth Quickly: While dogs wag their tails to indicate happiness, it does not mean the same things for cats. When cats start moving their tail back and forth quickly, it usually means they are agitated. In that case, leave them alone.
  • Moving Back and Forth Slowly: When a cat’s tail is moving back and forth but slowly, it usually means they are trying to decide how they feel about a certain situation.
  • Bushed-Up: If a cat bushes up their tail in the typical Halloween-cat fashion, they are definitely not in a good mood. They do this to look bigger and scarier than they normally are, probably to scare something they deem as a threat.


Cat’s ears are also good indicators of their current moods, just like their tails. Here are the different meanings of the various ways they hold their ears:

  • Forward: When cats have their ears forward ever-so-slightly, that means they are probably feeling content, maybe even a little playful.
  • Straight Up: If you see a cat’s ears straight up, they are at attention and alert.
  • Turned Back: Ears that are turned back mean that the cat is either over-stimulated or irritated over something, so leave that cat be.
  • Turned Sideways or Back: A cat that has sideways ears is usually feeling anxious or nervous about something. Be careful with this cat.
  • Back and Flat Against Their Head: This position means the cat is definitely feeling defensive. They probably also feel scared, angry, and maybe even aggressive. If you encounter a cat with ears like this, don’t bother them.


We can all agree cats have beautiful eyes, but did you know that they are also great ways to understand them? Just like humans, cats’ eyes can be windows to the soul. Here are what different looks in a cat’s eyes mean:

  • Dilated pupils: Dilated pupils can mean different things. If you see dilated pupils on a cat, they are either stimulated, scared, or surprised.
  • Constricted pupils: If a cat’s pupils are constricted, they could be feelings aggressive or possibly tense. However, this all depends on how much light is available at the time you are peering into their eyes as the light will always affect their pupils.
  • Starring: When cats start starring without blinking, this tends to mean the cat is challenging you. To what? It’s anyone's guess.
  • Slow blinking: This is the opposite of starring. Slow blinking is a sign that the cat is comfortable and relaxed. It also means that they feel safe with you and trust you.
  • Half closed: If you see a cat with half-closed, droopy eyes, that means they are relaxed and probably trusting if they are in that state around you.

Cats use all kinds of different combinations of these body languages to communicate their feelings and needs. Taking the time to pay attention to a cat and the signs they are displaying will not only help you understand the cat but will also help the cat feel safe and secure with you.

Plus, the more you practice understanding your cat’s body langue, the better you will get at it and the better you will be at providing for your cat!