6 Body Postures & What They Mean
As part of understanding your cat, it’s important to identify the different body postures your cat may exhibit and to be able to understand what they mean. This enables you to have a better understanding of how your cat may be thinking/feeling. The good thing is that many of these, you’re probably picking up on already without even knowing! Also, it is worth paying attention to the tail position and head postures, in particular the eyes, whiskers, and ears. Let’s take a look at the following body postures:
May be lying on their side, curled up in a ball, sitting, paws tucked in, or in “loaf” position
Cats can be sitting or lying down and may have paws tucked underneath. A very happy cat may even stretch out on their side or back and show you their belly. This is the ultimate level of trust as the belly is their most vulnerable area. It isn’t an invitation to have their belly rubbed though. Most cats don’t like this area touched and doing so can be a breach of their trust.
Most often seen when hunting. The back will be horizontal and if they’re hunting, they may keep low to the ground. The whole body is directed to the object of focus.
If the cat is standing/moving, you may notice “slinking” where the back of the cat is lower than the front. As anxiety increases the cat may arch their back in preparation for escape.
Fearful cats often have their body low to the ground, for example in a crouched position. If escape isn’t possible, they may stand very still and even shake.
You will notice bristled fur on back and tail to make themselves look bigger. Will often hiss/growl