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Body Language in Cats


Hi, I’m Nicky Trevorrow and I work at Cats Protection. Today we are going to look at some behaviours of these lovely animals here, cats and see why they are actually quite
complicated and quite subtle in their behaviours, much more so than social species such as ourselves and dogs. So, let’s have a look at the cats and see what you think is going on. When a cat comes towards you with their tail up, usually pointing at the top, it’s a sign of a greeting in cats. This is a lovely behaviour to say that,
usually, they’re greeting you when they’re coming home or they’re soliciting attention. The best
thing to do with these behaviours is to acknowledge their greeting and you
should give them a bit of fuss like a head rub, for example. When cats are rubbing round ourselves or
other objects in the environment, usually corners of things, they’re often using parts of their body like their cheeks and up here and their sides – they’re actually depositing scent. While this looks like a really cautious
behaviour, where they’re sort of smooching these areas, it is in fact scent-marking. We often see
these behaviours, particularly when we first arrive home for example, when
they’re rubbing around our legs. It is a greeting behaviour as well, but
primarily because we smell a bit funny where we’ve been out and they’re trying to make us smell more familiar. The slow blink is one of my favourite behaviours – this is where you slow blink at a cat, so really slowly closing your eyes and then perfect cat etiquette, just turning your head slowly to the side. This is showing the cat that you’re nice and relaxed in their presence and that you’re not threatening at all. And if you’re really lucky, the cat will slow blink you back. When cats have got their ears flattened – either to the side or back – this can be a sign of stress, that they’re quite frightened. What’s really important for cats that
are feeling stressed and frightened is to give them a place to hide and the
opportunity to get up high. You know when you return home and the cat throws itself on its side and shows you its belly? Often, many people misinterpret this behaviour and think it wants it tummy rubbed. Now unfortunately, those people that will have tried this behaviour will unfortunately get a grab round the hand and maybe the cat will bite them as well. That’s because what this cat is really doing is showing a greeting behaviour and also that it feels relaxed in your
presence. It trusts you and it’s almost an abuse of that trust to go and stroke their tummy. What the cat would rather you do is just to give them a slight head rub and that’s it. Lip-licking can occur for a variety of different reasons, for example if they’ve just had something to
eat, then you’ll notice them doing a really big lick. However it can also be a sign of nausea –
and in this particular cat, it’s a sign of stress. So when cats are stressed, it’s really important to give them a
place to hide and the opportunity to get up high. Purring is one of those behaviours that’s familiar to all cat owners. It often shows a cat that’s content, often soliciting attention, but sometimes it can actually be a sign that the cat is in pain. I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at these cat behaviours and found them interesting. Hopefully when you go home today you’ll look at your cat in a whole new light and hopefully it’ll improve your relationship with them as well.

100 Replies to “Body Language in Cats”

  • Nice video. Even though it is quite old I would like to ask you what cats mean by scratching various things like the door, chair legs etc. My cousin's cat keeps doing it, I think it could mean she wants food or is impatient but I would like to hear your opinion.

  • My cat loves it when I rub his belly – he curls his toes and kneads his front paws and purrs loudly when I pet him there.

  • When my cat rolls onto his belly I usually start rubbing his belly and he's fine with it and he will usually start purring

  • thank you so much.. i have 2 cats and last week we rescued a stray dog and now my older cat is walking his way to my dog and rolling aound exposing his belly ..its a good sign after you told me but my dog is frightened he cant look at my older cat its been a week ..my youngest cat is 2 years old she is scared she hides all the time she can only go closer when the dog is sleeping she is a rescue too and the former owner said the cat is used to dogs cuz they have dogs in their house.. my rescued dog looks like a greyhound and base on the internet its not good around the cats or small pets its like a prey to them..but i hope it will both work out i dont want my rescue dog to be in a shelter and be euthanize cuz no one will want her cuz she is 9 y.o ..hmm sad life for my dog.. but were giving her full love and making her safe and making her tummy full all the time hehehe

  • My cat never attacks me when I touch his abdomen. Does that mean that he 100% trusts me or that he is too frightened to fight back? He doesn't run away or hide from me though

  • This is a really good video. We got one of our cats from cats protection…very good place to get a cat from! One of ours tends to screech as loud as possible (Bengal cross) as soon as she sees me, I tend to 'meow' back at her and then she replies and the conversation has started. She only does this with me though….just wondering what this could actually mean? is it just another way of greeting? Another thing she loves to do is grab your hand with her claws if you happen to ignore or not noticed her request for a 3 hour long fuss haha

  • What does it mean if the cat is on all it's 4 paws, but has his ears pointed outwards/to the side. Even if they give you head rubs, purr, scent mark your legs and expose their belly sometimes. There are 2 cats in the area the have grown to like me (and I do too) but I find it sometimes hard to pet them when they are exposing their tummy. Or when both of them are around me at the same time, they are rivals. No clue what the gender is of the both of them.
    Also, if their tails keeps sweeping side ways like a dog when it's laying on it's side or back, does that mean anything?

  • Why do cats like to crouch sit, as in sit low on all fours? It looks kind of tiring to sit like that, yet my cat gets very relaxed doing it.

  • my cat will roll over on it's back and expose it's belly. She also let's us rub it though. After a while she will use to back legs to push our hand away

  • Thank you. Recently my cat who sadly didn't get socialized, except for me, not that I didn't ask for help, I did ; has been licking her lips. Not after eating. My first thought was that she is thirsty. She's almost one year old and has had very little contact w people a few which stressed her and of course looking out the window. She has high places and hiding places. I had a tough time getting her the eat regular dry food and drinking water. She will always have wet food bc of dehydration issues. She was always curious when I was drinking my water so I would drop a dollop of it in her bowl to encourage her. It seems to have helped. I know I don't want her to have my germs but I needed her to drink. I researched and still am. She was only about 3 weeks old when SHE found me. Yeah. She's a good kitty. My girl.

  • Nice vide the best cat body language video I have seen.. I've recently got 2 kittens brother and sister 3 weeks ago. I'm still trying to work them both out. I've seen a few videos and it's hard to understand them. This is very simple. Please do more as in my opinion u have only covered the basics cats thanks

  • Nicky, can I disagree regarding the exposed belly? My four cats do it all the time and each does it differently… little Monkey does it in the morning and not only wants a belly rub, but an entire body massage. Lucky does it when playing and he then grabs my hand and play-fights with it- no claws or teeth and generally lots of licks. Brandy- she just randomly does it and just as randomly wants a belly rub or to eat my hand… and Biggles- well, he's out flying off to another adventure most days.
    Great video- thanks for being a cat person.

  • i like everything your saying. but you should try to slow down a little bit.it is a 3 minute clip and it took me about 10 minutes to see it all because of how fast you are explaining everything.im sorry if i sound rude.just giving you some feed back.. good video though for sure… 🙂 🙂

  • I would love if you could come teach me more with my wild outside cat… Thanks for your time and help. It explains alot bout Abby's attitude.. lol my cat

  • Y’all are are talkin’ bout’ her accent ,this video is about cats!!😂

    I know a cat that loves belly rubs tho…?

  • I more of a dog person having grown up with them my whole life. But this was very interesting and insightful and glad i watched it.

  • I am trying to tame a street kitten……sometimes when she comes she often does that blinking part and turns her head towards the left…but when i try to go closer she runs away 😂😂…..so what should i do to tame her…any help??

  • I might get a Russian mail order bride. I LOOOOVE Russian females! That chick Aida😍😍😍😍 great video btw lol my kitty Zoey follows me everywhere I go and every single night she lays on my chest with her face right in mine. She just jumped up to lay on my lap😄

  • Wow I didn't know that when the flop down and expose their belly, it wasn't for a belly rub. I always lead down and rub my cats belly but she has never bit me or acted irritated. She either closes her eyes and starts purring or abruptly gets up and walks away as soon as I touch the belly. Now I know why the second option happens!

  • My cat loves getting his tummy rubbed. He will always just lay there and start purring when we rub his tummy. If we stop he paws at our hands to get us to keep going lol

  • body language is marked among humans as well, however with spoken language most do not learn to read it

  • The whole tummy rub thing really depends on the cat. My friend has a cat who he raised from kittenhood. She just loves belly rubs!

  • Oh my God that's the most beautiful voice i have ever heard i could just listen to your sweet voice for hours, #be proud of it

  • Came for the cats, stayed for the accent <3 very good video as well.she should start an ASMR channel…with cats ^_^

  • I sometimes need the restroom at, say, 3 in the morning. As I attempt to get there, the cat falls adoringly at my feet, then rubs my ankles as I desperately try to break free. What is she trying to say?

  • Thank you for confirming what i believed my cats to be saying. Glad i was right in my reading of their intentions and subtle desires. Waiting to pick my new baby girl up at end of week. Little rescue named milly. Shes my early birthday present to myself.

  • Жили-были Два Кота. 8 лапок. 2 Хвоста! Подрались между Собой Серые Коты, Поднялись у них Трубой Наглые Хвосты! I остались от Котов?чччч

  • I didn’t know that belly rubs abused the trust!!! My cat fought with me last night because I tried to belly rub. Thank you so much for making this. 🙂

  • thank you for this insight as we have two males one a tuxedo and the other a big ginger and white with a fox tail

  • Another behavior. Butt in face=Ha Ha. Both my cats love belly rubs when exposed. My fat headed one will even allow raspberries most of the time.

  • I just watched this because I don’t want my friend’s cats to attack me because I did something wrong

  • I‘m getting to know a cat for the first time. How do I behave to make the cat feel comfortable with me quickly?

  • 1:24 I knew about slow blinking but I didn’t know turning your head to the side was part of it as well. I’ll be sure to add that part when first meeting a cat.

  • Hello! I'm writing with a problem we're having with one of our 3 months old kittens. He is not burying his poop 🙁 It seems he wants to but can't figure it out. He scrapes the sides of the box but not the litter itself. We're been trying to show him with his paw but he always runs away. Our second kitten has been burying it for him and sometimes showing him as well but no luck. We have 3 litter boxes around the house. We've tried different litter types. No effect. We hope you can help us!

  • Damn, I held my childhood cat as he died. She was purring loudly at the time. I always thought she was purring because she was happy to be in my arms for the final time. It turns out she was just in pain. Bummer.

  • The slow blink sometimes is dangerous depends what cat how it is what sucks is mine barley purrs idk why but he plays with me and greets me and everything else but not purr why?

  • Great video,,thanks so much for making & sharing. I will share it on other platforms for other animal lovers, as too many folks don't quite understand cats body language. My 2 cats are my best friends in the whole world. I rescued them in 2008 as 12 week old kitten sisters,, it's been 1 of the best things I've ever done. They've saved my life! Our love for each other is unconditional & seriously I'd not be alive if t'wasn't for my 2 gorgeous cats!! Blessings to all,, especially cat parents, carers & guardians 🐈😻🐾🐱💚

  • Great videos. I'm trying to domesticate a feral, else he's doomed. I did the blink thing, but didn't know to turn my head, he finally did blink back. BTW, love the English language spoken with a British accent!

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