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Body Language: What Your Cat Is Saying

Cats may not be able to talk to us, but their body language can speak volumes. You can learn how to read your cat’s moods simply by observing her.

When your cat is alert and wanting to be noticed, she’ll flick her tail excitedly and her ears will be up. She may be looking for a treat, a little playtime, or even just your attention. When she’s hungry and reminding you that it’s dinner time, she’ll likely meow and may even run to her food bowl. She may even act like this in between meals if she’s looking for a treat. When your cat’s in a loving or contented mood, she’ll swish her tail slowly, purr softly, and her eyes will be half-closed. She may rub up against your legs or stare at your for a minute before exposing her belly to you to show her trust.

It’s often easy to tell when your cat’s feeling playful. She’s sure to swat at just about anything, a dust bunny, the bedspread, a pillow. When she’s hunting, which is similar to playing and cats will do even when they’re well-fed, she’ll crouch low to the ground and move very slowly. Her ears will tilt forward to listen for her prey and she’ll pounce without warning. If your cat is feeling scared, threatened or defensive, her back will arch, her ears will be flattened and her tail tucked in, and her eyes dilated. If she looks like this, it’s best to leave her alone.