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Cats speak to us with their body: the keys to learning to understand them better

Cats do not have submissive or reconciling behavior, so they will always try to avoid a conflict.
All dogs speak to us with their body, these are some of the essential keys to understand them better.
Chart with the key gestures to understand cats. Chart with the key gestures to understand cats.

Although cats don’t have the reputation of being as social as dogs, the reality is that, in their own way, they also enjoy our company and also communicate with us to let us know when they are happy and when they are not. However, as their communication skills have evolved more as a result of their domestication, it is not so easy for humans and cats to understand each other, something that does happen with dogs.

Mireia Berenguer, specialist in feline behavior by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) and canine educator in Kireba explains that “due to their evolution from Felis Silvestris Lybica, a solitary species, cats do not have behavior of submission or reconciliation, therefore, their intention in the face of a conflict will always be to avoid it by fleeing”.

“If this isn’t effective, they will signal for threats to increase distance (body language and vocalizations), using fighting as a last resort,” she details. “Even when they seem aggressive they’re really just trying to push their threat away and avoid conflict.”

What signs tell us that the cat wants distance

To better understand what our cats want to tell us, we must know their body language and its meaning. To signal another animal or person to move away, the cat will try to appear larger. “He will do it by arching his back, stretching his legs and showing only one side of his body. He will also tilt his ears back, dilate his pupils and make his hair stand on end,” says Berenguer.

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“If this does not work, the cat will increase the intensity, adding agonistic vocalizations such as snorts, growls or screams, among others,” adds the expert in feline behavior.

If the above has not worked and the being it considers a threat is closer, the cat will launch a blow with its paw, it may or may not show its nails, and even do so accompanied by vocalizations again, according to Berenguer.

“If the threat continues, the cat may feel fear and therefore adopt a more crouched posture, with the legs in contact with the ground to be able to get out quickly if necessary,” explains the specialist. “His gaze will be focused on the threat and his pupils will remain dilated. The tail will also be close to the body and the ears, in this case, will be flattened.”

Another of the cases that we can find is the typical one of going to caress him and that he does not want to. “When we touch them too much, in places they don’t like or in a very intense way, the animal will get irritated and frustrated,” says Berenguer. “He will show us signs like wagging his tail from side to side, he will look at the hand we are touching him with, he will contract his skin. If we don’t give up, he will bite us out of frustration.”

What signs tell us that the cat wants to interact

On the contrary, although many people think that cats are surly animals, these felines also often ask for pampering and want to interact with other cats as well as with us and they have body gestures with which they will let us know.

For example, if a cat approaches us relaxed, with its tail raised and, in some cases, with its tip curved, it means that it wants to interact with us. In addition, it can also emit some sound such as trills or meows, according to Berenguer.

Cats also rub against us, other cats and other beings in their social nucleus to interact, as the expert affirms: “They rub the face, then the head, then the body and finally they intertwine their tails; something they also do with us and even with the furniture near us when they are comfortable”.

“One way they have to greet us or encourage us to play is to roll or show us their guts”
“Not only is it for group cohesiveness, but it’s also a way of leaving its own pheromones to create a community scent,” she adds.

Other signs that indicate that the cat is comfortable in our presence is when they blink slowly, rest near or even on top of us or when they knead near or on top of us too. “Also, a way they have of greeting us or inciting us to play

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