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How To Understand Your Cat

  • Post category:How-To / Behavior
  • Post last modified:April 13, 2020
  • Reading time:6 mins read
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Are you trying desperately to understand your cat? If you own a feline companion, then you already know that cats sometimes seem like mysterious creatures that love their solitude. You may have also wondered what your cat may be trying to tell you

Cats have a tendency to express their emotions without even making any sounds at all. In fact, the most common way that a cat may communicate with you is by their body language.

And likewise, cats also use their bodies to communicate with other cats. 

A cat will use everything from their tail to their whiskers to even their facial expressions to convey messages to humans, other cats, and also your dog.


A cat that is scared or is in hunting mode will usually have dilated pupils.  For example, when I play with my cats using their laser light, their pupils tend to become pretty big and dilated. 

Another way a cat uses its eyes to communicate is when they look at you while they are slowly blinking. This usually means that they are expressing their love and devotion to you. 

When a cat stares at you for a prolonged period of time, and they aren’t slowly blinking, it usually means “Watch Out”. If it looks like they are about to pounce at you, they probably are about to so be extra careful.


Whiskers can tell a lot about a cat’s state of mind, and most people completely overlook this method of feline communication.

If your cat’s whiskers are pointing forward, it likely means that they are highly alert and ready for a good hunt. 

If your cat’s whiskers seem like they are squished to the side of their face, then this usually means that they are scared or fearful of something. This may happen if they get into a fight with another cat. 

And if your cat is in a normal and relaxed state, their whiskers will most likely be situated in a normal position on the side of their face.


Another part of your cat’s body that they normally use for communication is their tail.

For example, a tail that is in a straight-up position with a little bit of movement usually means that your cat is content. In other words, they are probably in a friendly mood. 

If the tail on your cat is lowered and seems to be lashing back and forth, this indicated that they are starting to become irritated or angry with their surrounding environment. 


One of the most noticeable ways that cats express their feelings is through their posture

If your cat’s back is positioned in that infamous arch that we often see on those funny cat videos, it obviously means that they are frightened by something. This could be anything from another cat they may not like to an innocent cucumber that you have put on your kitchen cupboard.

Another way that cat’s use their posture to talk to you is when they rub up against your leg. This is a sign that your cat is in a great mood and they want to be petted. Do them and yourself a favor – pet them please!


Ears are a very telling way to determine your feline companion’s mood. For example, when their ears are at a normal upright position, it usually means that they are content with their surroundings. 

However, when your cat’s ears are laid back in an almost flattened position, it normally means that they are about to defend themselves. This is common when two cats are about to get into a fight with each other.

When a cat’s ears are pointed forward, it means they are alert. Something has caught their interest such as a laser light, a mouse, or a creepy spider.


understand your cat

When your cat appears to use their paws in a back and forth motion similar to that of kneading bread dough, this is called kneading.

For the most part, this form of communication is your cat’s way of showing you affection.

If you want to know more about why your cat may be kneading you, I’ve written an entire article dedicated to this subject here.

Final Thoughts

If you really want to know the various moods your cat happens to be in at any given time, you need to be able to read your cat’s body language.

Cats may seem like mysterious creatures, but they’re really not. In my opinion, they are extremely easy to read. 

By being able to read your cat’s body language, you will be able to understand your cat much more, and may be able to detect any signs of unhappiness or lethargy in your cat.