Behavior

March 2008 Issue

Understanding Your Cat's Body Language

She sends both subtle and obvious signs. Do you know what they mean?

You have a group of people over for dinner. While everyone is relaxing in the living room, the boss of the house walks in: your cat. All of your guests clamor for your cat to come over, except for one, who doesn’t make much of a fuss, because he hates cats. So who does your cat check out? The one guest who doesn’t welcome his company, of course. Why does this happen? The answer is eye contact, or rather, the lack of eye contact. Some animal behaviorists conjecture that prolonged eye contact makes cats feel threatened or provoked. When your cat walks into the room, she senses everyone’s eyes on her. However, there is one person who is not staring at her — the guest who hates cats — so that’s why she probably chooses to approach him; she just feels more comfortable with that person.

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