What is your cat trying to tell you?

According to scientific studies, feline body language has six main forms of emotional response. Cats have specific types of posturing that indicate emotions like fear, anger, happiness and excitement.  So what is your cat really trying to tell you?

  • I’m Relaxed
    Sitting or lying down with a loose tail and extended legs; normal pupil dilation and ear position.
  • I’m Alert
    Sitting or lying down with tail and legs close to body; ears and whiskers may twitch to detect disturbances.
  • I’m Tense
    Sitting or “slinking” down with a tense tail; partially dilated pupils and erect ears.


  • I’m Anxious
    Lying down or “slinking” with a curled or twitching tail; dilated pupils and partially flattened ears.
  • I’m Fearful
    Lying on belly or “hovering” over paws, possibly trembling; fully dilated pupils and flattened ears.
  • I’m Terrified
    Crouched “hovering” over paws, shaking, with fluffed-up fur; fully dilated pupils and flattened ears.


Recognize common cat “postures.”
Image copyright ©2015 Lili Chin at doggiedrawings.net
These postures are not universal to all cats, but are the general behaviors felines exhibit while experiencing the above emotions.