How is my cat feeling?

How is my cat feeling?

Wondering if your cat is happy? Nervous? Ready to rumble? Cat body-language may not be as easy to read as that of humans or dogs, but there are a few key things you can observe to determine your cat’s mood.

Content: Sitting or lying down, eyes half-closed, pupils narrowed, tail mostly still, ears forward and purring. A really happy cat will often knead on a soft surface or slowly close and re-open his eyes.


Playful: Ears forward, tail up, whiskers forward and pupils dilated— your cat may then crouch down with their rear end raised, wiggle his butt, and then… pounce! Your cat will grab their “prey”, bite it, wrestle it the floor and kick it with their hind feet: Their toy is now dead. R.I.P.


Nervous or Anxious: Ears sideways or back, pupils dilated and tail low or tucked between legs. Your cat may slink through the house close to the floor, looking for somewhere to hide. When really stressed, he may turn his face to the wall to eliminate stimuli.


Frightened or Startled: Ears back and flat against his head, whiskers back, back arched, fur standing on end and tail puffed up like a bristle brush. Many cats yowl, growl, hiss, and spit, or make noises that don’t seem like they could possibly come from a cat.


Defensive: Crouched, ears flattened, whiskers back, tail between his legs or wrapped around his body, and pupils dilated. Cats may meow loudly, growl, hiss, and spit when in this state.


Angry or Aggressive: Ears back, pupils constricted, and tail may be up or down with the fur standing on end. He will also maintain eye contact with whatever has elicited his ire, and may growl or moan. Cats will often stare each other down in this posture for a long time before fighting, hoping that the other cat will walk away instead of calling their bluff.