|Cats communicated with their owners
and other cats through body posture, facial expressions and vocalization.
Some behavior is instinctive and other is learned. We are even able
to train our cats similar to dogs and rewards go a long way. It is
important to keep in mind that cats have minds of their own and many
times will only cooperate when they are in the mood.
never mask their feelings and are always open and honest with us.
Cat’s Body Language
The main purpose of your cat’s body language
is really to communicate with other cats. You can take these signals
and use to understand and communicate with your kitten or cat.
• Tail Position-Will indicate what mood they
Horizontal Tail-Stressed or unsure
• Hissing-When your cat hisses he is feeling
• Vocalizing-Your cat will emit different pitches
of sound based upon their moods. High pitched wail for distress,
low growl for “stay away” and purring for contentment
• Kneading-When a kitten performs this they
are looking for mother’s milk. In an adult cat, they are secure
• Nose Touching-This is a common greeting among
cats who are friendly with one another. This is their way of gathering
information about one another through scent. Take this as a compliment
if you cat does this to you.
• Rolling over onto their back-This is common
when a cat is being submissive. It’s their way of backing
down of a confrontation with another cat. When they do this around
their owners, it is a way of saying “you’re the boss
and I trust you”
• Face Grimace-Your cat is detecting subtle
odors or smells and is checking it out. The lips are curled back,
the nose is wrinkled and the mouth is open for breathing. They are
using the special organ in the roof of their mouth to detect scents.
• Ears-When threatened or angry your cat will
flatten his ears. To send an invitation to play, they will pull
them down and back up again.
• Eyes-Dilated pupils indicate that your cat
is angry, excited, or frightened. He will also be blinking rapidly.
Once everything is back to a normal state, his pupils will not be
dilated and blinking will slow down. Prior to a confrontation or
hunt, your cat will have a fixed stare and will not blink.
• Body Posture-A fluffed up tail and arched
back are signs that your cat is afraid. If your cat is stalking,
his body will be close to the ground and tail flat.
• Signaling with feces or urination in inappropriate
spots-This is to let you know that he is there and wants more attention
from you. It can also indicate that you have brought an unwanted
visitor into his territory and want them out. This can happen many
times when the owner introduces a new spouse into the household.
• Legg Rubbing-When your cat is rubbing your
leg, he is saying that he is please to see you and marking you as
his property. It signals affection and acceptance.
Aggression and Fighting
While cats tend to avoid fighting, sometimes it is
the only way that they can remain the dominant cat within their
territory. Kittens will play fight with siblings to practice these
skills for hunting and self defense. These are the natural inbred
Some of the signs of aggression include:
• Body posture-tail lowered, back arched reading
• Vocalization-low growling or hissing
If your cat is an indoor outdoor cat, fights usually
occur at night. To avoid injuries, responsible owners should keep
their cats indoor at night.
Common Behavioral Problems
In order to train your cat not to do certain behaviors, you
first must understand why they do it in the first place. Some problems
can be resolved rather quickly, others take time and patience.
Because scratching is a natural way of marking
territory or trimming their claws, best solution is to provide a
scratching post. Encourage him to use it by placing it next to where
they are already scratching. Rub some catnip on the post to make
it inviting. Cover any furniture with plastic or aluminum foil until
the transfer has occurred to the post.
Some cats that were not socialized at kittens can bite while being
petted. Take it slow and let your cat come and go upon your lap
until he feels secure. May take time and some cats never become
lap cats. If your cat is biting you, the minute they start blow
a small puff of air in their face to stop behavior.
When a cat is stressed they tend to groom over
and over again. Distract him with play and try to make him feel
more secure. If this type of behavior persists, a vet may be able
to prescribe a tranquilizer to help cope.
Cats tend to see new pet additions to the household as rivals for
their attention. They will snarl and hiss at the new addition to
make them feel unwanted. The best way to solve this is to slowly
introduce the new pet into the family. Separate your cat from the
new pet and limit their contact. Gradually introduce them to one
another. You can place your new pet in a small cage within your
cat’s favorite spot a few times a day until they are used
to one another. Always maintain separate feeding and litter boxes
if you have two cats. If you new pet is a kitten, your older cat
will accept and may even take on the roll of protector.
To avoid this behavior, don’t leave food unattended. If you
catch him in the act, a load noise or water spray should deter this
in the future.
Territory Marking (Spraying
Although these are natural behaviors, it can cause annoyance to
cat owners. This is the way cats make claim to their territories
and send the message to others to “keep out”.
To discourage Spraying and Soiling, clean the area thoroughly and
do not use products with chlorine or ammonia. These two products
have a strong pungent scent like urine. Use sheets or plastic over
the area that has been soiled until your cat goes back to its litter
box. Feed your cat in this area for a couple of days to discourage
the behavior. Cats, like dogs, do not like to soil close to where
they eat. If this behavior persists, consult your vet for possible
There are four ways in which a cat does this:
A cat will stand stiffly with tail erect and send a stream of urine
over the object they want to mark as either their own or send a
message to stay away.
“Fixed” cats tend not to spray as often
as unaltered cats. And males always spray more than females.
This may indicate that your cat is ill or constipated. He also may
not like the brand of litter you are using and wish to send a message.
It can also indicate stress over a situation.
Rubbing the side of their head on corners or walls