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Video: How Do Cats Talk With Their Bodies?
When we talk, some of our messages are transmitted in a non-verbal way, that is, not in a speech way, but through changes in facial expression, gestures, posture and gaze. Cats also rely heavily on these non-verbal cues, which perfectly convey their feelings.
The tail is firmly lifted up, with a sharp and quick movement. This is a welcome signal that can apply to both humans and other cats; it is usually accompanied by a slightly arched back and a welcoming purr: "mrrrr" or "rrrrn".
The tail is overhead. Occasionally, you can see a cat dangling around the neighborhood with its tail lifted up over its head. This is a dominance signal telling the neighbour's cats that the most important cat in the neighborhood is coming, while also warning weaker cats out of trouble.
Waving tail. The most frequently observed signal, it consists of rapid back and forth movements and indicates irritation. It is usually accompanied by other annoyance signals, as well as angry or angry howls.
Chaotically moving tail. The erratic whipping and circular motions that usually occur when the cat is resting indicate that although the cat is relaxed, it is still alert and ready for action. When the cat begins to doze, the movement of the tail becomes less intense and eventually stops - she falls asleep. The more alert the cat, the more abrupt the movements of its tail and the wider their amplitude.
Ears close to the head. Another familiar signal that is often accompanied by a circular movement of the tail; this is a sign of obvious irritation.
Twitching ears. If your cat twitches its ears back and forth quickly a few times, this indicates anxiety. You will probably notice this signal after you scold your cat.
Licking lips. Another sign of some anxiety or interest, especially when the cat quickly licks its lips exactly twice and at the same time looks warily at the person or object that is bothering her. Other types of lip licking - for example, after a cat has eaten - are more pronounced and should never be confused with the anxiety signal described above.
Welcome dance. The greeting that cats give when they approach someone they love. They lift their two front legs off the ground and quickly put them back - while the legs are perfectly straight and tense. After that, very often the cat rubs against the legs of the person whom she thus greeted.
Head shaking. Another welcome signal applies almost exclusively to other cats. The head quickly tilts back and forth, as if greeting the monarch, while at the same time it can turn slightly from side to side.
Raise a relaxed foot. Occasionally, you may notice the cat suddenly stop and lift one of its front paws, while relaxing its lower part so that it hangs weakly. After that, the entire appearance of the animal indicates that it has completely focused its attention on something, for example, on smell. The signal indicates that something unexpected or perplexing has attracted the cat's attention and she is trying to determine what it is, while trying not to betray her interest with any awkward movement. This is roughly equivalent to our: "Damn it, what is this ?!"
Demonstration of the abdomen by the cat. When directed at a human or other cats, it is an unmistakable signal of friendship and trust.
Usually, in any situation, a cat aggressively protects its belly, this you will quickly find when you try to touch it without the cat's permission. The answer to such familiarity is a claw and a bite. This is not a sign of anger, but just an instinctive reflex left over from ancient times, when a wild cat guarded the most vulnerable part of its body.
If you and your cat completely and unconditionally trust each other, she will substitute her belly for you. Inviting to petting, the cat rolls over on its back, throws back its front paws, and their pads hang in a relaxed state. This means that you are invited to gently stroke the abdomen and even pat it lightly. But be careful and careful if such an invitation comes from an unfamiliar cat (very often cats turn over on their back to scratch it, as many animals do) - it can release its claws in response to your gullibility.
Facial expression. The great ethologist Konrad Lorenz wrote that "some animals show their mood by the expression of the muzzle, but none of them have succeeded in this art as well as cats." One of Lorenz's equally famous colleagues, Professor Paul Leuhausen, explored in detail the entire extensive repertoire of cat expressions and found that cats are unique: they are able to demonstrate two completely opposite emotions - fear and aggressiveness - simultaneously.
A cat can also express irritation along with fear, and in the range from very mild to extremely intense. Likewise, a cat can show real horror, accompanied by pronounced on the face, complete submission and incredible aggressiveness. This information allows you to evaluate and interpret the full range of feline emotions shown in the illustration.
Let's start with the normal expression of the face in the extreme left corner of the table: to the right there is an increase in the threat of an attack, downwards - an increase in the defensive reaction. Examining the left column, you will notice that the position of the cat's ears changes from sticking straight up when the animal is almost unafraid, to almost pinned to the head with the tips curved up when the cat is most frightened.
Ears look different when aggressiveness increases (from left to right in different columns): their curl disappears and they are pressed more tightly to the head. This indicates that the cat is ready to defend its territory, fight for the possession of the female, protect the offspring, and so on.
Pay attention also to the fact that the pupils of the eyes increase both in the case of fear and aggression, and their maximum expansion is seen in the lower right square, when both emotions merge into one, very powerful. The same proportion of fear and aggressiveness is found in the position of the cat's body.
Pupil dilation is an important signal in both cats and humans, but it doesn't necessarily have to do with attack or defense. You can usually tell with a high degree of certainty that your cat is alert or how much she likes a toy or a tidbit, all of which can be seen by the size of her pupils. The larger they are, the more alert the cat and the more interested she is in your offer. In the upper figures, widened eyes are combined with a lowered head: if your cat assumes this position and at the same time is constantly looking at something - at a person or at another animal - this means that it expresses a decisive threat, as if to say: “Do not meddle me, otherwise there will be trouble …"
Semi-closed eyes, on the other hand, indicate a friendly disposition - this is a signal of trust and affection. You can easily use it yourself when talking to your cat. By covering your eyes, you will further strengthen your mutual love and friendship.
Source: H. Nepomniachtchi "What's on a cat's mind?"