Cats’ postures: learn how to decrypt them


On the back, on the belly or even the sphynx position, your cat adopts a thousand of positions daily. Did you know that those postures are linked to emotions and intentions? Learn how to decrypt them and become a true expert in cat language. To know more about the cat’s behaviour and learn how to talk to cats, see our article on the cat’s body language.




1. The cat on the back

Your cat is lying on its back? Then there are many possible interpretations:

-        If the cat is on its back, that its ears are downwards and its pupils diluted: your cat is on a fear or defence posture. It is ready to attack, its claws are out and most of all, do not try to approach it.

-        If it is on the back, that its ears are at ease and that its pupils are “normal”: your cat is relaxed. If you know whether your cat likes that, you may stroke its belly. You must however be careful as it depends on cats. Some of them will attack if you try to touch their belly.


2. The crab walk

Your cat is in crab steering mode and its hairs are spiky? Your cat is feeling threatened. In fact, the cat adopts this posture in case of territorial aggression. Its ears are backwards, its pupils are dilated and it may sometimes growl. With this stately position, your cat is trying to chase the intruder on its territory.


3. The cat is huddled

The cat in the sphinx position is sick or injured. It is the posture in which it feels better and feels less pain. It puts itself in this position to rest and spend less energy. The cat may occasionally adopt this posture. That said, if you see it staying in this position continually, try to see what is wrong. Maybe your cat is sick, injured or depressed.


4. The cat is hiding

Your cat is hiding and leaps on you? Your cat is in the predator’s posture, abreast. It is hiding, remains still by fixing its target (you). When the latter is at its reach, it leaps on it! Your cat may only want to play. However, you may impose some rules so that it keeps its surprise attacks for playtime and not for your guests.


5. The cat shies away

Your cat shrivels: the back of its body is lower than the front, its ears are backwards and its pupils are dilated. This posture announces a fear or a concern. It can spit to make the “attacker” back away: it is a defensive attack. The cat is warning the “attacker” that it must stay away.