Cat Body Language
Spring is here and you know what that means…yep, time to adopt a new cat into your family! Knowing that the transition from newcomer to treasured family member can take a bit of time, I’m here to help you read the signals your cat is giving to make the transition more smooth.
Let’s start with some body language cues to look for that demonstrate when your cat is happy and comfortable in your home. A Pet Column several months ago discussed the way cats communicate with their eyes, using slow blinks to show love and contentment. But there are more signs we give, in addition to our happy sounds of purring, “conversational meows” and chirping.
The simple act of grooming in front of you shows we are relaxed (would you take a bath in front of a stranger?), and you will know we are enjoying a good petting session when we arch our backs. Other behaviors like greeting you at the door upon your return or putting our head down and rolling over also show our bliss. You can feel really good about your bond when your cat stretches out long and vulnerable revealing their stomach.
Generally speaking- a tail held up and smooth is happy and relaxed. A tail in a lowered position or tucked between the legs indicates that the cat is uncertain about a situation or is stressed. Cats may thrash their tails or thump their tails on the ground when they are angry, irritated or annoyed. Tails wrapped tightly around the body indicates they are defensive, frightened, painful or sick.
One common misconception is that a cat is being mean, when in most cases she is afraid. By the time cats are growling, hissing, lunging, swatting, or biting, they are so scared that they are panicking. If you miss a cat’s early signals, it’s easy to assume the cat suddenly flipped a switch and became aggressive, but there is usually a long ramping up to such behaviors.
Most cats prefer to remove themselves from a scary situation, that’s why many cats disappear when visitors first arrive. If your cat attempts to move away to a quiet, safe place, let her go. Don’t force her to stay and interact with new people if she’s feeling nervous, as this will almost always backfire. Respect your cat’s desire to retreat and let her come out again to investigate on her own terms.
No kitty wants to be adopted and then returned back to the shelter because “they didn’t warm up to me”. Please just be patient with us and give us time to adjust to our new life. We will make it worth your time with lots of purrs and belly flops.
My name is Aurora. Don't let my average tabby looks fool you! Like the light display in the skies of my namesake, I have super cool markings. My ring finger is white while the rest of that foot is brown. I also have unique black lynx tips on my ears. But my best feature is my eyes which are uniquely expressive. I get along well with others and love to play with string toys. I'll also rub against you looking for cuddles and treats.
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 28 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.