Your pet might not have a voice, but his or her behavior speaks volumes.
Cat: Even when cats are silent, they’re always giving off signals of their current moods. Is your cat feeling playful? Does she want to be approached? Is she fearful? Read below to help understand some of your cat’s non-verbal communication cues.
- Friendly: A friendly cat’s eyes will be alert and blinking, and her ears will be pointed forward while she holds her head up and fans out her whiskers. You can also listen to a cat for signs of friendliness — meowing may indicate that she wants to interact. Keep in mind that how you interact should be based on the personality of the cat and the context of the situation.
- Fearful: You may have to look closely for indications of fear in your cat, because while her posture may appear calm, a closer look at her face and tail might show distress. A fearful cat may have dilated pupils and flattened ears, and her tail might be downward, close to her body, while she flattens her whiskers and presses them against her face.
- Playful: A playful cat will stand with her tail curled with ears pointed forward, rolling side to side or belly up. This likely means your cat is looking for contact and play. Be sure not to touch her on the stomach as this will elicit a defensive or predatory behavior that might make her bite your hand.
- Relaxed: Her ears will be pointed forward and her tail will be visible rather than tucked or curled, while her whiskers will remain slightly fanned out, rather than pulled back against her face
- Negative: When a cat shows negative body language, she is most likely not open to contact. Her pupils may be dilated, and her ears will be flattened against her head. She may arch her back and the hair on her back and tail may be raised. It is best not to approach or pick up the cat in this state.
Dog: It’s easy to interpret a dog’s behavior the same way you might interpret a friend’s. But it’s important to remember that dogs and humans aren’t the same, and it’s worth getting to know the way dogs communicate.
- Friendly: A dog is in a friendly mood when his ears are relaxed, his tail is flat, with plenty of wagging, and he makes gentle eye contact.
Fearful: A fearful dog will crouch with his tail between his legs. He will also avoid looking you in the eye. He might roll over on his back or urinate while lying down. Be careful as a fearful dog might bite if he feels threatened.
- Assertive: A dog shows assertion by staring intently with his ears and tail standing up. He may put his paws on another dog’s back or be pushy with the dog or owner.
- Playful: When a dog pushes his chest to the ground and holds his rear and tail in the air, he is trying to initiate play.
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