Cats are very expressive and their body language can give you a lot of information about what they’re feeling. Here’s how to read your cat’s body language and get the most out of your furry friend.

The cat body language chart pdf is a document that shows the different types of body language cats use. It also includes information on what to expect from your cat.

Cats are enigmatic animals. It’s not always simple to tell if your cat is relaxed or agitated, but knowing the subtleties of feline body language offers you an advantage.

Dr. Alison Gerken, a clinical behavioral medicine resident at Florida Veterinary Behavior Service in West Palm Beach, believes cats have complex body language. “They use their ears, tails, whiskers, and bodies to convey their feelings, as well as altering their facial expressions and wiggling their tails. We frequently go undetected by these changes since they are so subtle.”

The notion that a cat is being “mean, nasty, or vengeful” when the cat is really frightened, according to Dr. Gerken, is a frequent misunderstanding of cat body language. She claims that by the time cats start growling, hissing, lunging, swatting, or biting, they are terrified and panicked.

It’s tempting to think that if you miss a cat’s early signs, the cat has suddenly become violent, but such behaviors typically take a long time to develop. The goal is to become proficient at reading these signals.

Early Warning Signs

When cats are frightened for the first time, they show signs. Though frightened body language may be subtle, it’s not difficult to tell when your cat is concerned.

Dr. Terri A. Derr, creator of Veterinary Behavior Options of Minnesota’s Twin Cities metro region, notes that licking of the lips (when not connected with feeding) and tucking the tail beneath the body may both signal anxiety. “A cat staring attentively at something may mean it’s concerned about it.

Body Language for Cats

Our behaviorists deconstruct some of the most frequent symptoms of fear in cats.


Mary Swift | Getty Images; GlobalP

The “Halloween cat” stance is well-known, with the cat standing tall with an arched back, bowed head, and fur sticking straight up away from the body (piloerect).

“When cats are frightened or surprised, their sympathetic nervous system — the ‘fight, flight, or flee’ response — is activated,” Dr. Gerken explains. “By adopting this stance, they may seem larger to the imagined danger. This is an indication that the cat is not interested in interacting.”


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The ears of a calm cat face forward in a neutral posture. Pay attention if a cat flattens her ears against her head. Dr. Derr half-jokes, “You better run.” “At the very least, avoid touching this cat. The life of a cat with totally flattened ears is in jeopardy.”


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The shape of your cat’s eyes may vary depending on how she’s feeling, giving you some insight into her emotional condition. A calm cat will have open eyes and a gentle look. A frightened cat’s pupils may be dilated and her eyes may squint or narrow. Squinting and dilated pupils may be indications of a medical issue, so get your cat examined if these symptoms persist.


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The position and movement of your cat’s tail may reveal a lot about how she’s feeling. When cats are furious, agitated, or annoyed, they may thrash or beat their tails on the ground, according to Dr. Gerken. “This is a request for the engagement to come to a halt. When cats feel protective, scared, in pain, or ill, they may wrap their tails firmly around their bodies.”

If you see your cat sitting or laying with her tail firmly wrapped around her body but no obvious cause for her to be frightened or agitated, she may be ill. If the behavior continues, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Some cats, on the other hand, may turn away from anything that makes them frightened. Twitch your tail or draw your whiskers back flat against your face if you’re scared. Dr. Gerken adds that cats may also flip on their sides and show their stomachs. “Many people mistake this for a request for a belly massage, only to be shocked when the cat attacks or bites them. This body position indicates that cats are frightened.”

Cats, according to Dr. Derr, prefer to get out of a frightening environment. “That’s why so many cats vanish when guests arrive,” she explains.

Allow your cat to flee to a quiet, safe location if she makes an effort. If she’s frightened, don’t make her remain and engage with new people. This will almost always backfire. Respect your cat’s urge to hide and let her come out on her own time to explore.

If a cat can’t get away from the object she’s frightened of, she may become uneasy, agitated, and even frantic. The cat’s body language is typically loud and obvious at this stage.

Dr. Derr explains, “A frightened cat gets protective; she attempts to make herself smaller.” “She crouches and pins her ears back with her tail wrapped under or around her body. The farther back her ears are pushed, the more terrified she becomes.”

Fearful cats may tilt to one side and strike out with their claws, or vocalize “Go away!” with a hiss or yowl.

If Your Cat Is Scared

Assess your cat’s surroundings for potential stressors and remove or enable your cat to withdraw from them if she starts to show frightened body language. For example, if your cat becomes agitated when guests or employees arrive at the home, put her in a quiet area until they go.

1632154713_631_How-To-Read-Your-Cats-Body-Language@ImogenTheKitten/Casey Christopher/Instagram

“It’s OK to soothe your cat if you can’t eliminate the stressors,” Dr. Gerken adds. “This may be caressing, playing, or grooming. If your cat displays frightened body language while you’re conversing, it’s time to put the phone down and give him some space.”

According to Dr. Derr, there are instances when doing nothing is the greatest thing you can do to assist your anxious or scared cat. “Leave them alone and make sure they have a safe place to go, which is typically somewhere high up where they can readily monitor their surroundings,” she advises. “They don’t want to be consoled; they just want to feel secure. They’ll de-escalate on their own and resume regular, loving interactions.”

Do you want to learn how to read Kitty’s body language?

Hanover Square Press released The Secret Language of Cats: How to Understand Your Cat for a Better, Happier Relationship (2018). Paperback, $12.47

Collins & Brown released Cat Body Language: 100 Ways to Read Their Signals (2017). Paperback, $8.95

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Decoding Your Cat: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Cat Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Behaviors (2020). Paperback, $16.99

Available on Google Play, the Cat Body Language app.

The how to slow blink at your cat is a technique that you can use when interacting with your cat. It helps to calm them down and shows them that you are not in any way threatening.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you read a cats body language?


How do you tell if your cat loves you?

Its not easy to tell if your cat loves you. Cats are very independent creatures and they do not share their feelings with anyone unless they want to.

Do cats understand body language?

Yes, cats are very in tune with their owners body language. They can pick up on subtle cues that humans might not be able to.

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