We at West Ballantyne Animal Hospital know that understanding cats may be difficult, even to cat owners. For example, one moment, your cat may be peacefully sleeping on your lap, but they may suddenly pop up and sprint towards the window to watch a bird outside. However, we know that understanding your cat’s behavior is actually as simple as watching their body language and knowing what it means. We are here today to tell you how cats communicate their emotions and their needs.


A cat’s tail is an excellent way to tell how a cat is feeling or what he may be thinking:

  • When the tail is up: This means that the cat is feeling happy, cheerful, and is likely willing to be approached.
  • When the tail is down: Your cat may be feeling scared or threatened by either a person or the surroundings.
  • When the tail is whipping back and forth: This means that the cat is probably irritated and would like to be left alone.
  • When the tail is gently moving from side to side: This means the cat may be confused as to how it is feeling about a situation.
  • When the cat tail is poofed: The cat is scared and is likely trying to make itself seem larger and scarier than it normally is to threaten away predators.


A cat’s ears are just as good of an indication of its feelings as the tail is:

  • Ears are forward: This is a cat who is feeling content or even playful.
  • Ears straight up: This means your cat is paying attention and is feeling alert.
  • Ears turned back: These cats are irritated and might be feeling too stimulated.
  • Ears flat against head: This cat is angry, scared, or defensive. No matter what you do, don’t try to interact with this cat!


Cats’ eyes can offer all sorts of signs that might tell us how the cat is feeling at any given point:

  • Dilated pupils: Cats’ pupils widen as they experience fear, surprise, or stimulation
  • Constricted pupils: These pupils mean that your cat is feeling aggressive or tense, but keep the light in the room as a factor as well.
  • Stare: If your cat is glaring at you, it is likely a challenge.
  • Slow blinking: If your cat is gently blinking, it usually means that he feels safe, welcome, and happy.
  • Half closed: When the eyes aren’t fully closed, it means that your cat is feeling relaxed and trusting.

Your cat may be using a combination of these signs, so keep your eyes peeled for any mixed signals and how your cat behaves afterward. Each cat is unique, but with close attention, you can start to decipher his moods and attitudes without much thought!

Contact Us

If you are in need of cat care, there is no better choice than West Ballantyne Animal Hospital. Call us today and let us know how we can help you! We look forward to taking care of both you and your cat.