Are you celebrating one of the National Cat Holiday? This page will help make all your celebrations a fun experience for both you and your cat!
Cats communicate a variety of messages using cat body language
"Examples include arching their backs as a signal of fear or aggression, and slowly blinking to signal relaxation. As is the case with dogs, the tail is often used as a signaling mechanism. A twitch can indicate minor irritation, and a tail held high suggests confidence. In addition, a cat's tail may "wag" or move rapidly to express a state of conflict. A cat who chooses to lie with its stomach and chest exposed conveys happiness, trust, and comfort (this is also typical of overweight cats, as it is more comfortable for them); however, a cat may also roll on its side/back to be able to defend itself with all four sets of claws. Usually other signs (like ears and whiskers folded backwards) give an indication of the cat's overall humour. A cat with tail held high and twitching shows excitement, but this is often mistaken for anger. Flattened ears mean that the cat feels threatened, and may attack. Mouth open and no teeth exposed suggests a feeling of playfulness."
"Cats will twitch the tips of their tails when hunting or angry, while larger twitching indicates displeasure. They may also twitch their tails when playing. A tail held high is a sign of happiness, or can be used as a greeting towards humans or other cats (usually close relatives) while half-raised shows less pleasure, and unhappiness is indicated with a tail held low. A scared or surprised cat may puff up its tail, and the hair along its back may stand straight up and the cat turn its body sideways to a threat, in order to increase its apparent size. Tailless cats, such as the Manx, who possess only a small stub of a tail move the stub around as though they possessed a full tail, though it is not nearly as communicative as that of a fully tailed cat. Touching noses is a friendly greeting for cats, while a lowered head is a sign of submission. Some cats will rub their faces along their guardian's cheek or ankles as a friendly greeting or sign of affection. This action is also sometimes a way of "marking their territory," leaving a scent from the scent glands located in the cat's cheek. More commonly, cats do something called a "head bonk," or "bunting," where they literally bump you with the front part of their head to express affection."
"Cats also lick both each other and people (e.g. their owners). Cats lick each other to groom each other and to bond together (this grooming is usually done between cats that know each other very well). They will also sometimes lick people for similar reasons, that is, to "groom" them and to show them care and affection. When cats are happy, they are known to paw their human companion, or a soft object on which they may be sitting, with a kneading motion also called padding. Cats often use this action alongside purring to show contentment and affection for their companions. Other times it can be when the cat is in pain or dying, as a method of comforting itself. It is instinctive to cats, which use it when they are young to stimulate the mother cat's breast to release milk during nursing. As a result, cats hand-raised by humans may lack this reflex. Pawing is also a way for cats to mark their territory. The scent glands on the underside of their paws release small amounts of scent onto the person or object being pawed, marking it as "theirs" in the same way they would urinate to mark their territory."
"Yawning in front of their companion and blinking behavior is common in cats and may be a sign of trust or affection. Some cats will respond to a human who dramatically yawns or closes and opens their eyes by reciprocating the action."
Other Important Holidays
- February – Pet Dental Health Month (PetDental.com)
- April – National Pet First Aid Awareness Month (PetTech.com) and
- April - Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month (ASPCA)
- First week of May – Be Kind to Animals Week (the American Humane Society)
- August 19 – International Homeless Animals Day (the International Society for Animal Rights)
Common Cat Body Language
These beautiful young cats are showing a common example of cat body language.
They are seeing a small dog for the very first time and their immediate reaction was arching their backs and bristling their tails. A signal of fear or aggression. Also, a scared or surprised cat may puff up its tail, and the hair along its back may stand straight up."