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Cats use a variety of body postures to communicate. From a stiff, twitchy tail, to ears pinned back, it can be hard to identify what kitty is trying to tell you. But before you go scratching that fuzzy belly that’s being presented to you, you may want to brush up on your cat’s lingo!

Here are a few common postures and what they mean:

Body
Relaxed/Trusting: Moves about in a relaxed manner. May lay on her back with belly exposed. Be careful when it comes to kitty’s belly, it may not be an invitation for a belly rub, but instead she could be displaying a defensive position.

Stressed/Agitated: Rigid or stiff. A sign she may be ready to flee.

Scared: Pace slows. Fur may be puffed out and the body is arched to appear larger. Lowering or curling up the body is also a sign of being scared.

Face
Relaxed: Whiskers are relaxed and sticking out sideways.

Interest: Whiskers are stiff and moved out from the face.

Uneasy/Nervous: May be licking her lips or excessively grooming.

Eyes
Relaxed: Pupils appear normal and the eyes are opened. If she’s really relaxed, they may be slightly closed.

At Ease/Trusting: Blinking slowly. Although, I heard that a slow blink means kitty loves you!

Fixed Gaze: She may be ready to strike, such as when she sees a bird or another cat.

Fearful: Avoiding eye contact or eyes are darting.

Ears
Relaxed: Held forward and slightly to the side.

Nervous: Fast twitching.

Fearful: Pinned back or turned sideways.

Alert: Straight up.

Tail
Content: Held loosely behind her. If it’s held straight up, she may be feeling confident.

Happy: Held high with a possible twitch or curl.
Interest: Slightly twitching, moving, or wagging. Often exhibited when she sees a bird or squirrel in the yard, or when she’s playing with her favorite toy.

Agitated/Stressed: Tail moves quickly behind her. If she’s scared, it may bush or puff out.

After reviewing the list, kitty doesn’t seem so complicated after all! But you still might want to proceed with caution before you go in for that belly rub!

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