Keene Estates, Missouri
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Columbia, MO 65201

A Guide to Understanding Your Cat’s Body Language March 19, 2019

Keene Estates, Columbia
A Guide to Understanding Your Cat’s Body Language, Columbia, Missouri

Cats may not seem as communicative as other animals because they’re so quiet; however, that doesn’t mean they’re not talking to you. Most cats speak with their body language, and it’s important to understand common signals. They may simply be showing affection or letting you know something is wrong. Recognizing common ones will ensure you take them to a veterinarian if needed.

Understanding Feline Body Language

Why It’s Important

veterinarian-rolling-hills-veterinary-hospitalCats use every part of their body to communicate. Their tail can let you know if they’re happy or frightened, their eyes can indicate aggression or submission, and their ears can show attentiveness or relaxation. These can translate to a number of personal and environmental factors alongside vocalizations. They may indicate pain or need or be symptoms of more serious health issues that require a veterinarian.

Common Cues

  • Arched Back: An arched back often means your cat is either scared or angry. However, when accompanied by purring or meowing, it may mean they want attention and to be touched. If they’re lying on their back, they’re often relaxed. If they growl, though, they may be aggressive and preparing to attack.
  • Ear Movements: Cats have a similar range of hearing as humans and will often swivel their ears to address sounds. It may be a mouse, which is concerning or exciting, or a loud bang, which can be frightening. To show fear, they’ll move their ears back, sideways, or lay them flat; to show alertness and pleasure, they’ll point them forward. If you notice they’re often back, your cat may be suffering from anxiety or dealing with too much stress at home.
  • Active Tail: The tail is one of the most powerful tools for communication. The faster it goes back and forth, the angrier and more aggressive your cat is. If they hold it low or between their legs, they’re uncomfortable or anxious. A straight, flat tail signifies happiness and curiosity. If your cat is highly inactive, both with their tail and overall, they may be dealing with health issues.


Familiarizing yourself with your cat’s language will improve your bond and ensure they always have the care they need. If they’re overdue for a trip to the veterinarian, turn to Rolling Hills Veterinary Hospital of Columbia, MO. Their skilled team offers a number of services, including general and pet emergency care, boarding, and pet grooming that you can explore on their website. Call (573) 449-7387 to schedule an exam at their Keene Estates or Oak Forest location.

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