Understanding your cat

Do you ever wonder what your cat might be thinking? While they may have a lot to tell us, cats can be quite mysterious when it comes to communication. From showing their behinds to jumping into cardboard boxes, cats often surprise us with their interesting antics.

In addition to vocal sounds, our feline friends express themselves through a wide range of subtle body language and quirky behaviours. Important signals for how your cat might be feeling include slight movement of the eyes, tail and ear position. Deciphering all of this is not a straightforward task, and it can be quite easy to misread or misinterpret what they’re trying to tell you.

If you know what to look out for, you’ll see that your cat is constantly communicating with you. Whether you’re a new cat owner or have some feline experience, taking time to understand your cat can help you bond with your pet and could even prevent a potential misunderstanding.

To help you better understand your fickle feline, check out this fun guide from the Sainsbury’s Bank Money Matters blog. The animated visual explains the meaning behind some common behaviours, so you can interpret what your cat might be trying to tell you.


CAT BEHAVIOURS EXPLAINED

Just what is your cat trying to tell you?

Rubbing against your legs or furniture

This is my home, and I scent things to find my way around.

Showing you its behind

Don't be offended, I'm just being friendly. We cats say hello to each other by sniffing tails, just like dogs.

Ears forward

I'm pleased to see you. If you hold out your hand, I might give it a bump to say hello (or a sniff if I'm shy).

Slow closing of eyes/blinking

You're getting a kiss. If you copy me, I might just do it again. If I'm in the mood.

Ears upright, sitting
up and alert

I'm listening intently. Was it a bird or a mouse? I'm not sure, but I'm off to find out.

Kneading

I'm getting comfy. Kneading you makes me feel good, as I think about how I used to knead my mum.

Rolling on back to expose stomach

I trust you, but watch your fingers if you decide to give me a tickle; I might be in the mood to play.

Back hunched up with tail and fur on end

I'm being defensive. I'm puffing my hair out to make myself look bigger, so whatever I'm scared of leaves me alone.

Cat in a box/bag

This might look silly to you, but it makes me feel safe; I can see you, but you can't see me!

Cat in a box/bag

This might look silly to you, but it makes me feel safe; I can see you, but you can't see me!

Cat 'gift'

I've brought you a mouse to try and teach you how to hunt. See what a good hunter I am.

It's your turn now.

Purring

I purr because of most things (dinner, strokes, sitting in sunshine), but mainly because you've given me some form of 'contact' and I like it.

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