Have you ever wondered what your cat thinks and wished they could tell you?
Whilst some cats are more vocal than others, their non-verbal communication tells us the most about their mood - the way they hold their ears or tail, for example.
Check out our advice on how to read feline body language so you can understand your cat better.
A cat will tell their owner how they feel about a situation, so you must understand and acknowledge these signs.
For example, if your cat is approached and stroked by a stranger, you should be able to tell if your pet is enjoying the attention, putting up with it, or is about to scratch or bite.
If your cat knows you’ll respond when they’re unhappy or frightened, they’ll learn to trust you, and you’ll develop a stronger bond.
A study by the University of Sussex  found that slow blinking in cats is used in the same way as smiling is by humans. Give it a go and see if you get a response from your cat.
Never stare directly at them as they’ll find this threatening, but instead glance slightly to the side and blink slowly.
A cat that’s pleased to see you might roll on its back in front of you as a sign of greeting and trust; this may not mean it's offering its tummy to be touched.
You can tell a cat is happy when its:
The most common causes of cat anxiety are conflicts with other cats or changes in their territory, like people moving furniture or the introduction of new, strong scents.
If your cat continues to show signs of anxiety without any obvious cause, consult your vet, who can refer you to a feline behaviourist.
An anxious cat will:
To learn more, read our article on how to treat a pet with anxiety.
A threatened cat will show similar body language to an anxious one.
Depression in cats can be a result of long-term stress, so if you don’t realise that your cat is stressed, it could become depressed later on.
A depressed cat might:
It’s worth consistently checking if your cat is happy indoors or needs some outside time. Read our indoor cat guide to learn more.
Aggression in cats usually comes from fear, anxiety, social pressures, frustration, illness or pain.
A cat will only attack a person if you ignore their body language.
Don’t try to stroke a cat if its:
If your cat shows signs of being aggressive regularly, get them checked over by your vet to rule out any illness or pain your pet might be experiencing.
If your vet can’t find a medical reason for your cat’s behaviour, they may suggest a referral to a feline behaviourist.
I’ve spent 20 years writing about pets and exploring the wonderful relationships they have with their owners. I started as a staff writer on Dogs Today magazine, working my way up to become deputy editor in 2008. In 2010, I left the office to pursue a freelance career, relocated to north Norfolk and started a family.
Over the years I’ve contributed thoughtful human-interest features, celebrity interviews and investigative news stories to publications including The Sunday Times, Dogs Today, Dogs Monthly and Your Cat. I’ve also ghost-written veterinary books and press releases for the pet industry.
When I’m not writing, I enjoy long walks in the Norfolk countryside with my rescue lurcher Popsie. These are always followed by tea and cake.