Cat Body Language

Understanding cat body language can tell a cat owner a lot about what their cat is trying to communicate to them. While cats can voice their vocal opinion, most of the language that cats use is displayed through the movements and the attributes of their bodies. Being aware of cat body language is important because it conveys many of the needs, wants and feelings of a cat.

Cat Eye Language

The eyes of a cat can tell you many things about what he's thinking or how he's feeling. Generally, the direction that a cat is looking will tell the owner what's on the cat's mind - be it food or play. A better way to decipher what a cat is feeling or thinking is to look at the shape of the pupils.

The pupils will dilate and constrict for various different reasons. When a cat's pupils are constricted or barely noticeable, it usually means he's sleeping or calm. By constricting the pupils, a cat shuts out a good portion of light from his eyes, usually indicating that he's tired and doesn't want the light in his eyes. 

When the pupils are fully dilated and appear to consume their entire eye, it usually means that a cat is ready to pounce on something, is intrigued by something or is ready to fight. By opening the pupils entirely to light, a cat has more visibility to conquer what he is after.

Direction of the Ears

Ears are a very important part of cat body language. Ears are much easier to read than the eyes. When a cat's ears perk up, it means that he's alert to a sound, commotion or a voice that he's listening to.

A cat will sometimes slick his ears straight backwards when he's ready to fight or he's angry. Just because the ears are laid back doesn't always mean that a cat is ready to fight. It can simply mean that he's annoyed with the touching of his ears or finds a particular human behavior offensive.

Arched Back

When a cat is mellow and relaxed, there will be no change in the arch of the back. The normal arch of a cat's back is slight only in definition of the complete physique, and is hardly noticeable. But when a cat is on the hunt, playing or ready to fight, the position and arch of the back will change.

A cat that is pouncing after prey will hunch his back down so as to become as level with the ground as possible. Cats do this to make themselves less noticeable to their prey, and to enhance their chances of catching it. If a cat is simply in a playful mood or startled by something, you may notice that the arch of the back will become extremely high and the hair across the spine may stand up on end.

When a cat is angry or ready to fight, the arch of the back will usually remain low and a cat will stay low to the ground. The noticeable difference between being eager to fight and playfulness will be in the fact that the hair along the spine is standing straight up, and the back will be in a crouching position. This change in the arch of the back, combined with the ears slicked back, can signal that a cat is ready to fight.