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How to Interpret a Cat's Body Language

How to Interpret a Cat's Body Language

  • Cats, those ubiquitous animals on the internet, are often portrayed as mysterious creatures prone to weird feats and freakishly bizarre behavior. But it turns out there's at least some signal in the noise of their antics, and there's actually a lot you can learn about a cat's mood and disposition based on its body language. As Nicky Trevorrow, a behavior manager at the UK's Cats Protection organization, explains, when cats come toward you with their tails up and pointed at the top, "it's a sign of greeting," often seeking to solicit attention. And a cat's ears being pressed flat against their skull or against their back is a signal that they're stressed and you should give them a place to hide or seek high ground.

  • Simon Owens is a journalist living in Washington, DC. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Email him at [email protected]

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