7 Ways To Read Your Cat’s Mood

While decoding a cat’s speech may sometimes seem impossible (why twist your tail? what is this reflection?), cats are actually very good at giving us clues about what they think and feel.

Understanding a cat’s behavior or mood can be difficult, but with some basic knowledge of feline natural history, body language recognition, and personal experience, owners can become aware of what their cat can communicate, explains Melissa J. Sigala, behavioral and training specialist for spcaLA.

Here are some common behaviors your cat is likely to exhibit, and what this probably means when he adopts them.

1.Affectionate cat

7 Ways To Read Your Cat's Mood

What it looks like: Cats show that they are in a loving mood in various ways, and we tend to miss them because they are generally not as open as foals,” says Johnson-Bennet.

“The condition can manifest itself through head bunting, social grooming, slow blinking eyes, purring and being physically close,” she says. “The cat may choose to lie next to you, but with his back to you. It may seem insulting to us that the cat turns his back, but it is actually a compliment and a sign of trust.”

Cats show that they are in a loving mood in many ways, and many of them are missed because they are not usually as open as cuddles,” says Johnson-Bennet.

“The condition can manifest itself as a bunting on the head, social grooming, a slow blink of the eye, purring and the simple fact of being physically close,” she says. “The cat may choose to lie next to you, but with his back to you. It may seem insulting to us that the cat turns his back, but it is actually a compliment and a sign of trust.”

2. Hungry/Needy Cat

7 Ways To Read Your Cat's Mood

What it looks like: A cat who is hungry or would like something else from his master can wake you up from your sleep or become very vocal with repeated, high and short meows, although Sigala warns that each cat has different meows for them. “He can also sit near his feeding area or accompany you to the object you need, such as his food, water or litter box.”

3. Aggressive Cat

7 Ways To Read Your Cat's Mood

What it’s like: Aggressive cats are in all probability the simplest to identify. Closed pupils, grunts, slits, and blows are all signs of aggression, as well as a stiff body with erect claws, bare teeth or removed ears. “This can lead to fighting with another cat or an attack on an owner,” Sigla explains.

4. Restless/bored cat

7 Ways To Read Your Cat's Mood

What it looks like: Fast-moving tails and loud, long vocalizations are all signs of restlessness or boredom, Sigala says. “Your cat can walk away or leave completely and he can also hit with his paws and give a warning bite to make it clear that he is upset.” This bite won’t usually damage the skin.

A tailbeat is also a sure bet that your cat is agitated about something, adds Johnson-Bennet “The position of your cat’s ear will also communicate his mood because the flag (or the outer part of the ear) will be on the side or even in the full position of the plane’s wings.

5. Anxious cat

7 Ways To Read Your Cat's Mood

What it looks like: Anxious cats can bite or scratch inanimate objects like blankets and shoes.
They may also chase after each other and bite their tails or be unable to stay still.

“Acat can bite the hands and feet of its owner when he has not asked for any interaction,” says Sigala. “In addition, his tail will probably be low or retracted and he can hide when guests are around or walk along the edges of the room rather than through the middle.”

While cats are known for their tedious grooming habits, an anxious cat can take this grooming behavior to a new and higher level. “An anxious cat can also show changes in daily habits such as eating, using litter or scratching,” Johnson-Bennet warns, “so watch for these signs.

6. Happy Cat

7 Ways To Read Your Cat's Mood

What it looks like: Happy cats often have soft or calm body language, including raised tails that are curved at the tip, straight (but not stiff) ears and soft eyes with slow blinks.

“Pupils can dilate when excited, such as during a favorite treat or game, and you can also hear a faint purring,” says Sigla. A happy cat can also knead around you or directly on you with its legs.
“Cats usually groom each other to show affection and help, so grooming their owner can be a way to show affection,” says Sigala.

7. Scared cat

7 Ways To Read Your Cat's Mood

What it looks like: Frightened cats can drag their ears back, express their fear with whistles or growls, or even run away and hide. His eyes can widen with dilated pupils, and his wrists can rise as he stands on his toes with an arched back, says Sigala.

A scared cat can also try to look as small and non-threatening as possible, says Pam Johnson-Bennet, a certified feline behavior consultant. “He can perch his legs underneath and his tail wrapped around his body and he can also avoid looking at you as a way of saying he prefers not to get involved,” she says. “A frightened cat may also not engage in typical daily activities such as eating, using the litter box or playing.