Cat Language: 7 Signals You Should Know

Do you want to understand your velvet paw better? It’s not that difficult: learn to interpret these 7 signals correctly and soon there will be no more misunderstandings between you.\

Eye contact

Just like with humans, eye contact is an important signal for our purring friends. If your cat is in a familiar situation, eye contact usually means that your darling is attentive or curious and is therefore looking for contact with you.

If there is a negative mood or your velvet paw is unsettled, she is more likely to turn her head away and look down to show that she is not looking for a conflict.

On the other hand, staring too intensely can also be understood as a threatening gesture, which is why you should not look into the eyes of strange cats all the time.

Ear posture

You may have noticed that cats like to move their ears a lot. This isn’t just done to eavesdrop, it’s also an important part of body language that you really need to learn to understand.

For example, if your darling is particularly relaxed, the ears will point forward, because in this case, your cat doesn’t have to concentrate on noticing a potential threat. If your cat sees something interesting, it literally pricks up its ears and pricks up your ears.

If the ear position is changing rapidly and the cat is jerking it back and forth, it is usually nervous or tense.

If the ears are fully laid, it is usually genuine fear or enormous insecurity. This occurs mainly in unfamiliar situations. New Year’s Eve is a real classic of the causes of anxiety. We have tips for you on how to scare your cat on New Year’s Eve.

Sometimes the ears can even move completely differently: If only the ear opening is angled, but the ear is still erect, this is to be understood as a threatening gesture. This is your cat’s signal that it is ready to attack. The potential victim should then take cover quickly.

Tail pose

The tail is also an important part of the non-verbal communication of our favorite furballs. Your velvet paw is completely relaxed when the tail is lying horizontally or slightly curved.

If the tail is erect, this expresses joyful excitement, for example when you come home in the evening and your wide-eyed darling greets you.

If your cat is excited or tense, the tip of the tail may be bent or tremble slightly.

Incidentally, tail wagging is not a sign of happiness like it is with a dog: Your velvet paw uses it to express indecisiveness, for example when you are not sure how to deal with a certain situation.

If the tail really whips back and forth, this can also indicate strong excitement or aggressiveness. A tucked-in tail is a gesture, like that of a dog, that expresses submission.


Of course, our little house tigers are not mute and can also articulate themselves with their little voices. You’re probably wondering what the classic mewing or meowing means.

Although some cats will still meow later, the primary purpose of vocalization is to communicate with kittens who are not yet able to interpret body language correctly. The mother cat draws attention to things, warns, or reprimands.

Meowing is also used with people to get attention, for example, if your cat wants something to eat.

Our darlings manage amazingly well to convey their current mood via the lute. And that’s despite the fact that they don’t really talk to each other that much. As humans, we can almost feel honored that our proud velvet paws even adapt to us.


Luckily, the purr is very easy to interpret: if your darling rattles like a small lawnmower, then he’s fine and relaxed. At the same time, your cat is also showing that it wants to build trust and is actively showing you its affection.

It is similar to when your velvet paw rubs its head against you or strokes your legs. In this way she spreads her scent over you and shows, so to speak, that you belong to her.

There are several theories as to why cats purr and how they do it, four of which you can read about in our article on the subject. In any case, the purr is a positive signal that you can be happy about.


It is less nice when your house tiger hisses or growls. This is often a sign of discomfort, fear, or aggression. What applies in the individual case can usually be inferred from the rest of the body language.

In this case, you should first keep your distance and not try to calm your cat down. After all, you don’t know what is upsetting or unsettling you at this moment and you may only get a few angry claws.

So leave your velvet paw alone and act relaxed so that your cat knows there is nothing to worry about.

Bristling fur

Yes, even your kitty’s hair can stand on end sometimes. If your cat’s fur bristles, if its whiskers stand up and if it bucks its back, it’s clearly in an attacking position. A conspecific or the preferred prey of your house tiger should then take to its heels as quickly as possible.

Fluffy fur alone can also indicate general discomfort, for example, if your cat is sick or cold. Fear can also be a trigger that makes your darling want to disappear into his thick fur very quickly.

We hope that our tips will help you to better understand your little darling. We wish you a wonderful time with your cat!

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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