What the ears, eyes and tail reveal about the temperament of animals

Ouch! When a cat scratches, the wound burns badly. So some people feel uncomfortable with animals. It seems to them that the cat attacks suddenly and without warning. But this is not true. Just like dogs, cats show how they are in many ways — and when you shouldn’t pet them (anymore).

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Anyone who knows how to interpret behavior and react correctly can avoid the vast majority of scratches. The cat’s physical cues to look out for – from head to tail.

What do cat ears reveal?

Cats’ ears are very flexible. Animals not only hear it, but also show their temperament. If cats raise their ears back toward their heads, this indicates fear. The angry animal has erect ears that go back. “The steeper they are and the more the back appears from the front, the greater the desire to attack,” explains Helga Hoffmann in her book 300 Questions About Cat Behavior (Graefe and Unzer Verlag, €12.99). Now the rule is: get your hands off the fur!

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A curious or relaxed cat usually has pricked ears that point forward.

This cat is not in a good mood.

What does a cat’s mouth reveal?

If a cat is licking a human, this is a sign of intense affection – unless the leftover fried chicken is stuck to your fingers. Only animals that love each other the most take care of each other.

Cats growl or hiss when they are startled or threatened. Some cats also grumble when they pick up their favorite toy, but they let the owner take it away without any problems. But if you don’t know the animal very well, you should keep your distance as soon as it makes threatening sounds or even ducks. As a rule, the cat then runs away instead of fighting.

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What do cat eyes reveal?

Slow blinking is a good way to communicate with an exotic cat. If the animal blinks again, this means: I am not dangerous and I hope you are not. It’s a friendly gesture, author Hoffman wrote, that “satisfies and expresses your hurt.” Cats blink to discourage aggressive behaviour. Closing your eyes for a moment interrupts eye contact. Comfortable cats often fall asleep with half-closed eyelids.

The opposite is the so-called threatening stare. This is how cats try to intimidate their peers. Sometimes, peer staring is used to (re)determine the order. Whoever looks away first loses. Humans should stop staring at cats, too. This has a threatening effect on animals – in the worst case, they attack.

This cat is afraid.

This cat is afraid.

The pupils of cats show how the animal feels. If it is too dilated, then the cats are afraid. Sometimes they shed their fur a little. Trapped pupils are a sign of an aggressive mood – or that the cat has just stared at the sun.

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What does the position of the cat reveal?

If a cat rolls on its back and shows its stomach, then this indicates trust towards a person. But only the smallest animals can scratch on their stomachs. It is a very weak part of the body.

On the other hand, if the cat shows a hump with ruffled fur and a thick tail, this should be understood as a threatening gesture. Some cats also develop a bushy tail when startled.

If the cat reacts indifferently to petting rather than cuddling your hand, it is also best to leave it alone. The animal indicates that it does not want to be petted. If humans don’t leave it, it will eventually defend itself with its claws. Anyway: catching a cat’s fur suddenly is not a good idea. It’s best to slowly bring your hand toward your face first. If the animal sniffs her or snuggles her, you can cuddle her carefully.

What does a cat’s tail reveal?

If the tail is erect, then the cat is happy to see someone. If the tail is drooping, relaxed, then the animal feels comfortable and safe.

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If the cat wags its tail, this is not a sign of happiness. Tail twitching indicates increased excitement, hesitation, or anger. If the animal is not familiar to you, it is best to keep your distance. The more the cat moves its tail, the more nervous it will be.

What do cat claws reveal?

There is a situation where cats use their claws but they mean it in a very friendly way. That is, when he “kicks”, that is, he harmoniously steps on the lap of a person or a blanket with his front paws and stretches his claws.

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Many cats extend their claws when they “kick”.

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This movement is known as the “Milk Kick”. Because as a baby, the cat used kicking to stimulate the flow of milk from the mother cat. Expert Hoffman writes in her book: “The cat shows through the behavior of her child that she feels good. So you should not let her down, push her away or even scold her.”

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