Cat Behaviour

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By Minty

Reading Feline Behaviour

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but the cat takes second place to no one.

Often accused of being aloof and uncommunicative, in reality the cat has a complete arsenal of gestures, movements, habits and body language that can speak volumes.

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Just ask a cat lover.

Many of them can read every word of their tabby’s special language.

Body Language is the cat’s primary means of speaking to us.

Rubbing themselves against your legs is your cat’s way of saying “I love you and your worthy of my love”. During play, kittens, in particular will raise the fur on arched backs, but when this happens in an adult cat, best beware! It’s usually a sure sign your cat just wants to be left alone. If this is accompanied by a growl, the wise owner heeds the signs.

Ear movements are also extremely expressive. When at ease, the ears are usually slightly forward and outward to allow the cat the greatest range to hear sounds. When an interesting sound is heard, the ears will become fully erect, pointing forward. If forced to fight, a cat will lay their ears flat against the head as a means of protecting the vulnerable soft tissue of the neck. When the ears are in motion, twitching, it usually shows the cat is upset or agitated about something.

The tail also expresses a cats mood. If twitching, its means the cat is excited or curious about something, possibly another animal or something interesting in its yard.

However if this becomes a sweeping side to side action (swishing) the excitement has progressed to annoyance or even anger. To show submission or fear, the tail will be either tucked against the hind quarters or lowered. When frightened, the flattened tail is often accompanied by growling, flattened ears and dilated pupils. Let the wise beware. This pussy may well strike if agitated.

Vocal Expressions Although not as vocal as Rover, cats have a greater repertoire of sounds. Best of course is the purring we hear so often when your cat is happy and relaxed. But cats will growlhowlsnarl and wail when in battle. 

Hissing and spitting are sure signs of anger and a warning that tabby is best left alone for now.

soft meow is usually a call for attention. .And of course, everyone who has owned a cat during ovulation recognizes the yowling that accompanies this time. Note that the traditional purr can have many meanings, besides contentment. Some felines will purr when in pain or fear or extreme discomfort.

The astute owner will recognize these differences. Cats will, at times, display a sulking expression when they are withdrawing, possibly from a more dominant cat or even a human who stares at a cat.

The cat will turn away and surrender, giving the appearance of sulking. Scratching is often done to hone the claws and remove old layers of claws.

But cats will often scratch a means of marking territory, much as a dog will urinate. Rolling over and displaying her tummy is the ultimate sign of trust and contentment – also not a bad way to get a luxurious rub. When in a playful mood the feline will often lay low, crawling on the ground as she prepares to attack your feet or the sock you left dangling. Warning signs – if your cat displays any of these symptoms, illness or disease may be the problem.

A quick trip to the vet should be considered: Difficulty breathing, Excessive scratching Refusing to eat Repeated sneezing Shunning interaction with household occupants Neglecting her grooming Difficulty urinating