Our cat behaviour guide

Thanks for signing up for PDSA’s cat behaviour guide. You’ll receive it via email in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, check out the answers to our quiz below. You can also take a look at our vets’ advice about understanding and caring for your kitty.


Cat behaviour quiz answers

cat slow blink

Q1: A slow blink from your cat is a sign of affection. In the cat world, closing your eyes in the presence of another is a sign of trust.

By blinking slowly at your cat, you are letting them know that you don’t pose any threat.

cat narrow eyes

Q2: If a cat is feeling anxious or unwell, it will often try and find a quiet corner to hide where it can feel sheltered and safe.

By narrowing their eyes, cats reduce their depth of field so they can focus on what’s immediately in front of them. So you may notice this behaviour if your cat is feeling threatened or in pain.

cat exposed belly

Q3: When your cat rolls over and exposes its belly, it’s a sign that your kitty is feeling relaxed and content.

Unlike with dogs, this is not an invitation for a belly rub. (Most tummy tickles on cats are met with claws, so be warned.)

cat flat ears

Q4: If a cat’s ears are flat, this is a sure sign they’re anxious and feeling defensive. It can also mean that your cat is in an angry or aggressive mood, depending on the other body language signals your cat is giving you.

cat rubbing table

Q5: It’s usually best to give your cat some space in this situation and try to minimise the source of the tension.

You might notice your cat head-butting you, or rubbing up against objects in your home.

Cats have scent glands located in their cheeks, forehead, chin, and the base of their tail. Rubbing up against people, other cats and objects is a way of scent marking their environment.

cat wagging tail

Q6: Unlike a dog, a wagging cat tail does not mean they are happy to see you. A bristled low or high tail means your kitty is angry. But a 'quivering' erect tail means they are pleased to see you.

cat flat back

Q7: If you see your cat walking with its head and tail down, it’s likely that your kitty is displaying signs of uncertainty and insecurity.

You may also notice them moving more slowly than normal as they are anxious about their environment.

cat grooming

Q8: Sudden excessive grooming can be a coping mechanism for stress. Licking releases endorphins which can help an anxious kitty self-soothe.

Excessive grooming can also be a sign of a skin condition. So, if you are worried, always get advice from your vet.

Stressed cats

Cats enjoy their own company and can get stressed out by having to share their personal space. Learn more about the signs of stress in cats and how you can help them relax.

Find out more

Weird behaviour

Our feline friends can have us scratching our heads with their strange behaviour. Our vets answer 7 common questions about the odd things cats do.

What's it all about?

Cat quirks

We don’t want to annoy our moggy mates but it can be tricky when you don’t speak cat! Here are 5 things we do that our cats secretly hate…

What are they?