As cat owners, we're often wondering what exactly our feline friends are thinking. Well, lucky for us, scientists and pet behaviourists have cracked the code! It's all in the way our cats present themselves, i.e. their body language! From a swishing tail to the zoomies, there's a reason for the way our cats behave. Here is our easy guide to reading your cats emotions based on their body language...
A Tapping Tail
If your cat is often tapping their tail, here are a few things it could mean! If your cat is napping and tapping their tail, that often means they are relaxed overall but paying attention to something happening around them such as a sound or movement. If your cat is fast asleep, a tapping tail could mean that they are dreaming - how cute! A fast, whipping tail signals that your cat is on alert, which could mean they are potentially nervous or uncomfortable with the current situation. It is best not to approach or touch a cat that is displaying this kind of behaviour as it could lead to aggression. If your cat is calm and has their tail straight up with a hooked tip that means they are pleased to see you and are saying "hello!"
Katy Prudic, an entomologist at the University of Arizona, has been researching why cats suddenly jump up and run out of or around the room. These short bursts of energy, otherwise known as the zoomies, are thought to be outlets for pent up emotions your cat is feeling. This could be anything from frustration to fear to boredom. Cats need a lot of enrichment and entertainment, especially indoor cats who aren't climbing trees and chasing birds. Cats are hunters and naturally enjoy a faster pace of life (with plenty of cat-naps in between!) so if your cat is often doing zoomies then they may need some new forms of enrichment.
Laying on their back
Does your cat often lay on their back with their belly exposed? This can be a tricky behaviour! On the one side, cats often present themselves in more vulnerable positions when they feel safe and comfortable around you. This may lead you to thinking that it’s safe to rub or pet the cat’s belly. Whilst the cat's exposed belly is a sign of comfort and trust, it is not necessarily an invitation for a belly rub. Many cats in this position will either bite or claw at you if you do proceed to touch their belly, so why is this? It all comes down to personality - some cats really do enjoy having their belly rubbed, whilst others see this form of contact as a breech of the trust they have shown you. Some behaviourists even believe that this body language is actually an aggressive stance since this position allows for the claws to be ready and waiting, as well as the teeth. Getting to know your cat is the best way to know what this behaviour really means to them.