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Last month we discussed body language in dogs. This month we will go over the exciting world of body language in cats. Just like dogs, cats use body language to communicate. As pet owners and veterinary professionals it serves us well to receive the message and respond accordingly. While there are different levels of intensity there are 3 general messages: 1) Happy cat 2) Scared cat and 3) Angry cat. (There is a bit of an overlap between scared and angry).

See examples below (I also find the similarity between human and feline body language amusing).

HAPPY CAT      

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HAPPY PERSON

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SCARED CAT

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SCARED PERSON

scared20woman

ANGRY CAT

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ANGRY PERSON

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Ok, so you get my 2 points; cats can exhibit their emotional state via body language and cat body language is similar to human body language. As I mentioned before this simple information is very useful for pet owners. For example if your cat frequently appears scared or angry then you may want to take some steps to decrease her stress level. Stressed cats are not happy and are more likely to bite. Some causes of stress are visual disturbances like seeing stray cats walking in the yard, auditory stresses like a barking dog in the neighborhood or a combination of both like another pet or child in the house. Medical issues like urinary tract infections and thyroid disease can make cats irritable also. If you notice changes in your cats behavior and body language we recommend contacting your veterinarian and setting up an appointment for a physical exam and any tests that may be indicated.