7 common cat behaviours explained

Posted by Coco Dolci. June 17th 2014.

Nearly 8.5 million cats occupy the hearts of 19% of the UK. This fascinating companion can be a pleasure to live with, providing hours of entertainment, but at the same time they can frustrate their owners with their mysterious cat behaviours.

As with any relationship, communication is key – but for those who don’t speak fluent feline it’s easier said than done.

Here are the seven most common cat behaviours explained to help you communicate with your precious kitty.

Young woman and cat

1. The Happy head-butt

It would come as a surprise to many cat owners that a head-butt from a cat isn’t a sign of aggression, but instead one of affection. The technical term is bunting and is a way of your cat saying: “you are my human!”

With scent glands all over their heads, rubbing and head-butting is a way of leaving their scent behind to mark what is most precious to them and what is their territory – all so that other cats know not to interfere!

2. A slow blink is a kiss from a cat

No, as many Internet memes would suggest (probably created by dogs), it’s not a sign that your cat is plotting something evil against you. Rather, it’s a sign that they trust you. Squinty eyes and slow blinking suggests a content kitty.

3. Cats ‘knead’ a lot of love

Kneading is a sign that your cat is very happy, very content and very relaxed. It’s a behaviour that comes from their kitten stage, where kneading the mothers teats produced milk flow. When a cat does this to you it means they’re very relaxed with you – much like a kitten with its mother!

4. Tell ‘tail’ signs

The cat’s tail expressions can tell a lot about how the cat is feeling. For example, a swishy tail means they are extremely aroused or angry and are probably ready to pounce, so leave them alone or make sure they have toys to relieve some stress!

If a cat comes towards you with its tail up, they are greeting you and giving you a warm welcome. The tail stands upright like a flagpole because they want you to notice them.

When your cat lifts it bottom in the air, its asking you to scratch that harder to reach area at the base of the tail and is a sign of great trust since they have put themselves in a vulnerable position.

5. Cat on its back

If your cat is on its back, it’s most usually a sign of trust and contentment. But it is important to take into consideration all of your cats behaviours, if kitty’s ears are down and eyes are wide, it can mean they feel threatened rather than happy.

cat 2

6. A cute little ball of fluff

It can be charming, cute and utterly adorable when your cat tucks itself into a little ball but once again the reason for this is completely dependent on its other behaviours. It can be an indication that your cat is afraid or that it is content and safe. It has also been suggested that it is a way of your cat conserving heat.

7. Anti-social

It’s a common misconception that cats are independent creatures who want to spend time alone – they’re actually very social creatures. If your cat suddenly starts avoiding people, this can be a cause for concern.

An owner will know their own cat’s usual behaviours so if they show any sudden change then you should take them to a vet for a check-up. If they are physically healthy, look for a change in their environment that could be causing stress.

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