Here’s how to decipher your cat’s language

If you’re the proud owner of a cat, you’ve probably wondered at some point, “Why is it doing this?” or “Why is it making that face?”. Your furball has a species-specific way of communicating, including through its body language and the sounds it makes. In this article, you will finally be able to learn how to decipher it!

1. The tail

To analyze your cat’s behavior, pay close attention to the way it holds its tail. If it is :

  • Standing upside down (a kind of bridge), your cat is excited, it wants to play.
  • Drooping, your cat is indifferent to what surrounds it.
  • Drooping but swinging from left to right, your cat is irritated.
  • Erect, slightly broken on the back, your cat is happy, satisfied.
  • Rolled up between its paws with bristly hair, your cat is scared, puts itself in a defensive position.
  • Erect with bristly hair, your cat feels threatened.
  • Erect, turned backwards, your cat wants to go on the offensive.

2. Ears

The ears are also an essential part of the body language of the cat. Ears:

  • Straight, express your cat’s indifference.
  • Erect, turned to the sides, shows that your cat is angry.
  • Lowered means your cat is in a fighting relationship, likely to be aggressive.
  • Open, forward, show your cat’s joy, that it is happy.

3. Eyes

Just as the tail is the ears, the eyes, especially the pupils, can express your cat’s mood. When the pupils are:

  • Fine, your cat is in hunter mode.
  • Very dilated, your cat is excited or alert.
  • “Normal”, your cat is indifferent, neutral.

4. Sounds

The meows

Cats mainly meow to communicate with human beings (stray cats meow very little to each other). This is one of the consequences of the domestication of the cat. Know that a cat does not necessarily expect a response from you when it meows. Like our grumbles and hums, meows do not necessarily express a need. Indeed your cat can meow to express to itself their joy or their boredom.

The purr

A cat’s purr can express pleasure, pain or stress. If you believe that your cat is purring next to you on the sofa because you are tickling them and suddenly it bites you, it is because their purrs did not express their well-being but rather their discomfort.

The growls

You don’t need to be a great behaviorist to know that when your cat growls or growls, it’s upset or even angry. A cat may growl when you hold it down to groom it or when it encounters another cat. The growl rather expresses your cat’s desire not to be approached, to be quiet, but it is not a sign of aggression.

The trill

The trill is a rather particular means of expression. It looks like a kind of little cooing, like a little cuckoo (yes yes it exists)!

The cackling

Cackling is similar to a quick chatter of teeth. You may hear your cat cackling when looking at a bird it doesn’t have access to, such as through the window.


Screaming usually manifests intense pain. A fighting or struggling cat is also likely to howl. To create a diversion when two cats are fighting, do not interfere. Instead, make a very loud noise to distract them.

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