How to Read Your Cat’s Body Language

Sep 5, 2022Cat Articles

Cats have always been stereotyped as independent and mysterious creatures. 

Their eyes might not be as expressive as a dog’s but if you are a true cat paw-rent, you would know that all it takes is to pay close attention to your catto’s body language to understand what they’re feeling. 

In fact, cats can be expressive if you know what to look for in their fluffy, small bodies! From tail swishes, to ear twitches — cats have a variety of gestures to convey their feelings and desires.

Here at Maxime, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you learn more about your cat’s body language.


Happy & relaxed

A happy and relaxed catto can appear neutral and calm. Their body movements will be fluid and loose, and their head will be still instead of constantly turning or looking around. Generally speaking, you will often find a happy & relaxed cat in either a loaf or sitting position. 

  • Ears: Upright and in a neutral position. These could swivel when they hear a noise.
  • Eyes: Almond-shaped, silver-slit pupils, and might be blinking slowly.
  • Body: Loose and curved. If your cat is lying on its side or back and showing their belly, it’s a telltale sign that they feel safe and comfortable.
  • Tail: Extended and lie flat.


Focused & playful

A focused & playful cat might appear different from a relaxed cat, simply because a playful cat takes on their hunting stance when playing. A cat’s pupils might dilate and appear really wide. Their tail might also twitch from side to side, which indicates that they’re interested in their prey (or in the case of our domestic cattos — their toys). While playing, you would often see your catto stalking, chasing, jumping, and pouncing on their toys.

  • Ears: Upright and forward.
  • Eyes: Pupils are dilated. Your cat will look especially alert.
  • Body: Your cat will stalk their prey or toy. They might crouch low with their hind end raised. They might also do a funny wiggle — your catto will often wiggle their rear to prepare their hind legs before they pounce.
  • Tail: Some cats will raise their tail before they pounce. Others generally have their tails swishing or flicking around.



When they’re in an affectionate mood, cats would often rub themselves against you or circle around you, often in little figures of eights. Head butts and chin rubs are the easiest signs that your cat loves you because they are transferring their scent from their cheeks. When a cat transfers their scent on you, it means they are claiming ownership or marking you as their own.

  • Ears: Upright and in a neutral position.
  • Eyes: Almond-shaped and silver-slit pupils.
  • Body: Arched-back. When your catto wants to be petted or in a loving mood, they will rub their cheeks and body against you. They might also purr while being petted, which is a definite sign that your cat welcomes the affection.
  • Tail: Your cat’s tail might swish from side to side


Angry, fearful, or anxious

A cat who’s fearful or angry will show definite signs compared to a happy or neutral cat. Their ears might be tucked back to or lie flat on the sides (airplane ears). Their pupils might appear dilated and seem especially alert.

At high levels of fear or aggression, a cat will stretch up to their toes and arch on their back to make themselves appear larger. 

  • Ears: Tucked backwards or lie flat on the sides (airplane ears)
  • Eyes: Dilated
  • Body: Fur stands on end, might arch its back or crouch low
  • Tail: Puffed up and quick swishing and/or tucked under their body


Aside from their adorable purrs and meows, cats often express their feelings or mood through their body language too! Take the time to observe your cat closely to properly gauge their behavior. Don’t forget to provide them proper nourishment and care by feeding them Maxime Cat to help you #LiveTheBestLifeTogether with your catto!



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A Guide To Cat Body Language,