Understanding Cat Body Language: The Ultimate Guide 2024

Comprende el Lenguaje Corporal de Gatos: Guía Definitiva 2023

We all have a language through which we communicate with others and our cats are no exception. Yes, they are our pets, but they also look for a way to communicate with us through a set of body signals, sounds, some facial gestures and even smells.

It's very interesting, right? At Waggy's we consider it important to provide this information in order to help you better understand your pet and its needs. Stay reading this article and together, let's learn more about this topic. Let's get to it!

Characteristics of your body language

As it is a complicated language to understand, we must not only look at the signals separately, but we must learn to interpret the combination of them. We can consider the language of our cats as one of the most subtle, complex and above all bodily rich.

A common mistake is trying to compare the language of cats to that of dogs. Cats have the ability to completely inhibit some emotions, so it is more difficult to notice some signs of illness.

Tips for Understanding Cat Body Language

The best advice we can give you is observation. Observing and being aware of the body language of our pets is the key to deciphering them, understanding them and even anticipating some of their movements.

On the other hand, learning about the function or symbolism of your cat's body language will be a necessary basis for everything else. This is why we will tell you below what your cats could be communicating to you through their actions.

What can cat body language communicate?


Purring is a vibration emitted by cats and generally indicates that they are happy, relaxed and comfortable. They also purr when they are looking for attention or when they feel safe and calm.


Cats have scent glands on their heads and bodies, so they rub against objects, people, or other animals to mark their territory. This behavior is also a way to show affection and establish social bonds.


Kneading is when cats move their front paws over a smooth surface, as if they were kneading dough. This behavior originates from when they are kittens and is related to sucking and comfort. Kneading is a sign of relaxation, comfort, and happiness.


Cats are animals that need their own safe space, so it's common for them to hide in places like boxes, closets, or under furniture. This behavior indicates that they are feeling insecure, stressed, or simply seeking privacy.

Game and hunt

Cats have a highly developed hunting instinct. They like to chase and catch moving objects, such as toys or imaginary prey. Play is a form of exercise, mental stimulation, and energy release for cats.


Cats groom themselves regularly and lick their fur to keep it clean and tidy. If a cat is licking excessively or pulling at its hair, it is a sign of stress, anxiety, or health problems, and consultation with a veterinarian is recommended.

Tail held high

When a cat holds its tail high, it generally indicates confidence, security, and well-being. They also raise their tail as a greeting signal or when they are excited.

Back arch

A cat that arches its back and ruffles its fur is displaying a defensive or fear response. This behavior is seen when the cat feels threatened or uncomfortable.


Cats use different types of meows to communicate with humans. They may meow to ask for food, attention, show frustration, or just to express themselves. Pay attention to the tone and intensity of the meow, as they can indicate different needs.


When a cat crouches on the ground with its front legs extended and its hind legs compressed, it is usually in a hunting stance. They may do so when they see something interesting, such as potential prey, a toy, or even a fly. This posture indicates that they are ready to jump and catch.

Kick with the paws

Sometimes cats may strike with their front paws, as if they were delivering a swift strike. This can happen during play or as a warning sign when they are upset or agitated. It's important to pay attention to context and additional body cues to understand your mood.

Loud purr

While purring generally indicates comfort and relaxation, some cats may purr louder in situations of stress or discomfort. This is known as the comforting purr and can be your way of calming yourself down in difficult times.

Narrowed eyes

When a cat squints its eyes, it often means that it is enjoying a quiet, confident moment. It can also be a sign that they feel comfortable and safe in their environment.

Lick other cats or people

Cats lick other cats or even their owners as a way of showing affection and establishing social bonds. This behavior is similar to the grooming behavior they have with themselves.

Lip licking and yawning

Cats sometimes lick their lips and yawn in situations of stress or anxiety. These behaviors can be signs of discomfort and may indicate that the cat is trying to calm down or show submission.

Parts of your body that communicate


A high tail indicates trust and well-being, while a low tail can indicate submission or insecurity. A tail that is flicking back and forth can be a sign of agitation or excitement, while a bristly tail indicates fear or aggression.


Pricked, forward-facing ears indicate attentiveness and curiosity. If the ears are slightly back, it may be a sign of discomfort or fear. If the ears are pulled back and flat against the head, it may be a sign of aggression or defense.

Body posture

A relaxed and comfortable cat will have a relaxed posture, with a loose body and relaxed muscles. If the cat exhibits any fear or submission symptoms, it will probably cower or crouch. On the other hand, if the cat arches and stands on end, it will be a sign of aggression or threat.


A cat's eyes can tell a lot about its mood. A relaxed cat will have wide, blinking eyes. If the eyes are wide open and fixed, it could be a sign of alertness or tension. Also, direct eye contact will be interpreted as a challenge in the feline world.


Soft, meowing meows usually indicate a request for attention or friendly communication. Conversely, loud meows, growls, and snorts are signs of discomfort, frustration, or aggression.

Defensive postures

When a cat feels threatened or uncomfortable, it usually adopts defensive postures. This includes arching the back, ruffling the hair, turning in profile, hissing, or growling. These postures indicate that the cat is feeling intimidated and is trying to appear bigger and scare off the potential threat.


Cats make moving movements when they are uncomfortable or agitated. This includes excessive licking, excessive scratching, or moving around without a clear purpose. These behaviors are a way to release pent-up energy or stress. It is important that you do not confuse licking with cat grooming .

Interaction tolerance

Some cats enjoy physical contact and seek petting and cuddling, while others are more reserved or even reject contact. Respect your cat's individual boundaries and don't force her to interact if she shows signs of discomfort, such as avoidance movements, growling, or attempts to escape.

What does the cat language tell us with its body?

Everything, they really communicate everything to us with their body. They can be very simple things like “I'm hungry” to “I'm fed up and I need my space”. Also, with their body language they can inform us of any discomfort or disease that is attacking them. Examples of diseases that usually attack michis are: feline leukemia , feline panleukopenia , toxoplasmosis in cats , ringworm in cats , among others.

How to know if my cat is playing?

You have to pay attention to his body language. Beyond and together with all the points that we previously developed to identify certain situations, you know your pet. You know certain gestures, sounds or acts that he performs to warn you of something.

Normally if they are playing, as we saw before, their ears will be up, their tail relaxed and the meows they emit will be unique, very soft and short. Also, you can be more observant and pay attention to whether they are sticking out their claws or the way they are biting each other, since a bad bite can be the cause of starting a fight.


We can conclude with this blog that much of the learning relies on observation. By living daily with our feline pets, we learn to know them and put ourselves before their needs, however, there is information that is generic to their species, such as their body language, and that we often do not know.

It is important that we pay attention to their body language because it is the only way they have to communicate their emotions or illnesses to us.

At Waggy's we are interested in the good of our pets and that is why we recommend Waggy's calming Cats and Waggy's Oil cats to help your pet cope with the famous stress situations in cats , anxiety, aggressive behavior, hyperactivity and more that often affect cats.

These products are made with CBD for cats . To understand more about the subject, I recommend that you read the article Benefits of CBD in Cats , as well as visit the product catalog.

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