Do you want to be able to understand your cat? Learning to read your cat’s behavior and body language can tell you a lot about what kind of mood he is in.
To understand a cat’s behavior it is important to look at its wild relatives. Wild cats like the tiger, panther and puma, are nocturnal and solitary creatures. This means that they are more active at night and tend to spend a lot of time on their own. Although your pet cat is naturally nocturnal and solitary, they do enjoy spending time with their owners and other cats and can adapt to being more active during the day.
Your cat, like wild cats, will stalk, pounce and climb when playing. A good way to get your cat to exercise is to play games with toys, such as fishing poles with feathers and mouse toys. Try not to play too rough as this can promote play biting and scratching.
Unlike dogs, cats have very sharp claws. In the wild these are important to help them climb trees and to catch prey. Because your cat does not use its claws as much, he needs scratching posts to help maintain his claws. There are many types of scratching posts that provide a good alternative to the carpet or couch.
To avoid being scratched you will need to know how to read your cat’s body language. The cat’s body position, tail, ears, and eyes can tell you a lot about its mood.
- Gently swaying tail
- Relaxed head
- Relaxed ears
- Relaxed mouth
- Hairs on the back may stand up
- Stiff tail
- Arched back
- Ears laid back
- Wrinkled nose
- Flicking or thrashing tail
- Straight back
- Ears back
- Whiskers forward
Cat’s can change their mood very quickly, so it is important that you read the signs to know when to leave them alone. Not all cats like to be pet or picked up. Avoid stroking the ears, mouth, feet, tail or stomach, as some cats do not like to be tickled there. If your cat doesn’t mind being held, always sit down when holding them, try not to squeeze too tight, and support them by placing one hand under the chest and one hand under its back legs.
Being able to understand your cat’s cries is as important as it is for you to read your cat’s body language. Cat’s can use their voice to meow, purr, hiss or growl. A meow may mean that they want something – play with me, hold me, feed me. A loud constant meow may indicate stress or boredom. Cats tend to growl when they feel threatened from a dog or another cat. Hissing can be a sign of aggression and can occur when cats are protecting their territory or home.