How to Read a Cat's Body Language

When you see a cat lying somewhat lazily, but with the tail twitching and the ears flattened down, what you are looking at is a cat that is rather annoyed with your presence. If the cat is looking at you, that is. If the cat’s tail’s a-twitching, but the cat is not looking at, you might want to fasten your gaze upon the object of the cat’s gaze

because what you see might well tick you off as well.

A cat that is rolling over onto its back (as our cat Virtue does just about any time she’s not doing something else) and shows off her belly, that’s usually a sign that they are happy and ready for play. Look closely to see if the cat is blinking its eyes. That means they are ready for serious play.

A cat that is standing still and has a tail that sticks straight up in the air (Manx cats would be just standing still) and the ears are propped forward? That is body language of a cat that states, “Hey, I’m alert to what’s going down. Don’t you eat that container of ice cream. I’m onto you, pally.” An alert cat standing still like this may soon become a cat in motion as they chase anything from a dragon fly to an invisible dragon.

About that invisible dragon. Some cats appear to suddenly slip into stalking mode for no apparent reason. They may chase after something that you don’t see. I don’t believe in ghosts myself, but some believe that animals are aware of the presence of spirits that humans are not aware. Doubting the veracity of this claim still leaves open for discussion the topic of why cats do suddenly seem to be reacting to an entity that isn’t there.

Watching a cat stalk prey is one of the most fascinating things you can do with a cat. I mean, you know, since they aren’t very good at playing fetch and make really lousy company when you are fonduing. The cat crouches down low and you have never seen such strict attention in a pair of eyes. There is truly something zen-like about a cat ready to pounce. Keep watching and get your video camera because most cats have a tell when they are ready to strike. The tail switches and those big pupils inside a cat’s eyes grow so small they are almost impossible to see. Keep the video camera rolling because some cats are so quick that you won’t even see the instant death of the prey. Of course, since cats are kind of sadistic and seem to enjoy torturing their victims even more than Ann Coulter, you probably won’t miss the kill if you want long enough.