August 03, 2022 — Andreea Cristina Stochita

Understanding a Cat’s Behaviour

By now we’ve covered quite some subjects in our Cat 101 articles, from what plants your furry friend should stay away from, to teaching you how to fluently speak MEOW and why cats have this inherent need of scratching everything. So now that you have grasped the fundamentals of cat behaviour you should be able to understand your feline’s feelings, needs, behaviour, likes and dislikes, right? Even though we’re sure you got this, a little refresher never hurt nobody, so here we go!

Neutral & Relaxed Behaviour

Most of the time this is the state your feline is going to be in - neutral and relaxed. Signs that easily hint at this type of behaviour are:
  • Softly blinking or closed eyes
  • The cat is lying down, stretched out or curled like a ball or lying with her paws tucked underneath her, indicating she is safe & comfortable 
  • Relaxed whiskers and overall body position with no tension palpable

Focused Behaviour

You can immediately see when your feline is engaged in this behaviour because her entire body enters a focused state, easily recognisable:
  • Her eyes open up and pupils narrow down
  • The ears and whiskers are pricked forwards
  • Her body position will be a focused one, closer to the ground as she gets ready to attack
  • The end of the tail might even start twitching

Happy Behaviour 

If you pay enough attention, you can easily learn if your furry friend is happy or not only judging by their body language. A happy cat is a strong cat and one that is eager to play, and wants to be loved. 
  • Her ears are more relaxed and pointed up and forward
  • While lying down, her paws are tucked under her body
  • Relaxed whiskers and a still tail are also sign of a happy and relaxed cat

Anxious Behaviour

Normally, cats get anxious or stressed when introduced to a new environment or a new person. Something they are not at all familiar with will tigger their anxiety and, of course, you can see that in their behaviour:
  • Focused and opened eyes, barely blinking
  • May have larger eyes than usual
  • Head is in a lower position, with their whiskers pulled back to the sides
  • May have their back arched, as they are ready to run at any second
  • Her tail might be still or move very slowly as she prepares her next move

Fearful Behaviour 

There are numerous things that can scare your feline. When this happenes, just like with any other feeling and situation, you’ll be able to tell is she is scared from her behaviour and body language. When in this state, it is important to try and avoid touching your feline as she might get irritated by this.
  • Ears flattened back, against the head
  • Open and wide eyes with pupils fully dilated
  • They might hiss or spit

Angry Behaviour 

Understanding when a cat is angry will be extremely beneficial for you, trust us. Otherwise, you might end up all scratched up so make sure you’re aware of the following feline behaviour in order to prevent this:
  • A rigid, stiff and and tall tail
  • The feline can be silent but she can also hiss, spit or growl to announce her angry state
  • Ears will be more tense and in a flat back position against the head
  • Eyes will be big and focused

Relieved Behaviour 

A relieved cat is a relaxed cat, much more cool, less rigid and in a playful mood with you or her toys. Here are some other stress relief indicating actions from your feline:
  • Long stretches of the body to release tension
  • The eyes, ears, head and body are in a relaxed position
  • Whiskers return to a more calm position
  • Your cat may yawn, or nap around more as a sign of being relaxed


Understanding a cat’s behaviour is extremely important not only for their own good, but also for yours and the relationship you have together. And no worries if you haven’t got it all figured out just yet, we’ve got your back!

Until next time, happy Purring together!