Cat Body Language Translated

Oh… you’re not fluent in catspeak? I put together this glossary of cat body language, so you can understand what your cat’s saying to you. 

This yawning cat isn't being rude. In cat body language, yawning means the cat is relaxed.

When your cat yawns, he’s not bored or being rude.

What does yawning mean in cat body language, Thomasina? When I have friends over, my cat yawns at them. Why is he so rude? They think he’s bored with them!

— Embarrassed 

Hey, Embarrassed…

I don’t think your cat’s bored. Most of us love watching humans. Some of the things you do are just so funny and cute. If we had cell phones, we’d be snapping pictures and posting them on Facebook and Instagram all day!

While humans communicate with words, we communicate mostly with body language. Cat body language isn’t that hard to understand when you know what you’re looking for. 

Cats yawn when they’re relaxed. Yawning sends a reassuring, non-threatening message. It’s one of the ways we say we’re comfortable with you and don’t want to fight. So your friends should be happy when your cat yawns at them. Would they yawn back? He’d be surprised and pleased that they speak his language. 

More Cat Body Language Translated

    • Blinking slowly is our way of saying we trust you and want to be friends.
    •  Raising our tail is a greeting and means we’re happy to see you. Rubbing against you also means we’re happy to be with you and want to mingle our scent with yours. 
    • Purring means we’re contented, but you already know that. What you may not know is that we might also purr when we’re in pain and need to reassure ourselves. 

  • Meow means we want something. You already know that, too, but did you know that we meow at humans but rarely meow to other cats? That’s because we communicate with each other mostly with body language. Since mother cats and kittens are the only ones who meow at each other, a meow sounds like baby talk to an adult cat
  • Flattened ears mean we’re really angry or very scared, and it’s best to stay out of our way. Those ears can be even more of a warning than a hiss or growl. When I’m really mad, I do all three! 

Our human wrote a whole article on cat body language. Check it out. It’s pretty interesting.


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I guess it's true that some cats hate being petted.…