Have you ever noticed that when you pet your cat, it will raise its head up to expose an area of its neck – indicating it wants to be stroked there? This is your cat saying that it loves you and wants to share its pheromones with you. The neck is one of the areas of a cat’s body where pheromones – a chemical factor that triggers a social response – are present. The pheromones are also present in the chin and cheek pouches, and again, when your cat rubs its cheek against you, it is a gesture of affection.
Another way of showing friendship is head-butting. When cats are friendly towards each other, they will often touch noses or butt heads together gently. If your cat butts its head against you, it is feeling friendly towards you… perhaps in approval of the treats you are dishing out!
With over 20 muscles controlling your cat’s ears, it is no wonder they carry so much expression. Literally able to turn through 180 degrees, a cat’s positioning of its ears is a very good indication of its mood.
When your cat’s ears are straight up, slightly facing forward in tandem with relaxed whiskers, it is generally happy and alert. Sometimes, you will see one ear tilted forward while the other stays back. This usually means the cat is in a casual mood, nonchalant and ambivalent about its surroundings.
When you see your cat’s ears start moving sideways and its whiskers tilt downwards, this is a sign that it is feeling nervous. If it is downright angry or frightened, expect to see its ears facing sideways or all the way back, flattened against its head. This is like an early warning system when a cat is faced with a threat.
Expressions aside, remember that the first and foremost job of the ears is to listen. Thus, those radar-like ears will naturally turn towards the incoming sound to get a better reception. Sometimes, you’ll even notice one or both ears rotating like satellite dishes in attempt to find the source of the sound!
While the general signs are the same in most cats, each individual will of course have its own little quirks. Only by observing and interacting with your cat often will you gain enlightenment. By mastering an understanding of your beloved cat’s body language, you can enjoy a more harmonious and affectionate relationship with your feline friend.