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Reading Feline Body Language. Rolan Tripp, DVM. Purring . Contentment May occur when in pain or just before dying = “Seeking companionship”. Feline Greeting Postures. Many cats roll to greet Exposing vulnerable belly is a sign of trust Tail straight up is “willing to interact”.

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purring
Purring
  • Contentment
  • May occur when in pain or just before dying
  • = “Seeking companionship”

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

feline greeting postures
Feline Greeting Postures
  • Many cats roll to greet
  • Exposing vulnerable belly is a sign of trust
  • Tail straight up is “willing to interact”.

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

feline greeting postures tail
Feline Greeting Postures - Tail
  • The tail base up is confident
  • Tail tip up or curved is willing to interact or friendly
  • Tail swishing is Conflict.

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

feline greeting postures head rubbing bunting
Feline Greeting Postures – Head Rubbing = “Bunting”
  • Pheromone Production
    • Cheek Glands – just above each lip
      • Tends to rub/mark objects with cheeks
    • Pre-auricular Glands = just in front of each ear
      • Tends to rub/mark beings with head
  • This is the basis for “Feliway” product.

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

feliway
“Feliway”

“Feline Facial Pheromone Analog”…

Changes the site from a urine mark target to a cheek mark target

Calming effect.

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

attentive anxious
“Attentive Anxious”
  • Eyes focused
  • Ears forward focused
  • Whiskers forward
  • Weight on rear quarters for rapid response
  • Tail twitching.

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

defensive postures
Defensive Postures
  • Cat attempts to look BIGGER
    • Arched back
    • Fluffed tail
    • Piloerection
    • Nails exsheathed
  • Look at leg position
    • Full extension = confident
    • Crouched low = insecure, fearful

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

defensive aggression pariah threat posture
Defensive Aggression - Pariah threat posture
  • Low ranking threatened cat
  • Crouched front legs
  • Ears back
  • Teeth bared
  • Sign of fear and insecurity.

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

defensive aggression lateral threat posture
Defensive Aggression“Lateral Threat” Posture
  • Cat uses every possible technique to appear larger:
  • Piloerection (Fluffed)
  • Arched back
  • Turns to side to seem BIGGER.

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

defensive postures12
Defensive Postures
  • Full defensive aggressive posture
    • Laying on back
    • Teeth bared
    • Front and rear claws exsheathed and ready
    • Tail switching for balance and communicating anger

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

offensive aggression
Offensive aggression
  • Eye to eye
  • Ears forward
  • Tails out and back - swishing for balance and communication
  • Low center of gravity
  • Piloerection
  • Forward whiskers.

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

flehmen posturing
Flehmen posturing
  • “Volmeronasal Organ” is a secondary olfactory system
  • Odors enter near the hard palate inside the mouth
  • Used for special odors like urine or reproductive pheromones

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

female reproductive posture
Female Reproductive Posture
  • Male is selected, allowed to approach
  • Female in estrus assumes “lordosis” pose
  • Tail to the side
  • Presents ano-genital area for sniffing

Female in “Lordosis” pose

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

male reproductive posture
Male Reproductive Posture
  • Tom does neck bite to stabilize female and protect self
  • Treading and stepping movements position pelvis for coitus

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

urine marking spraying
Urine Marking = “Spraying”
  • Cat backs up to target
  • Tail is straight up and quivering
  • Small amounts of urine are sprayed up and out to mark object

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

marking territory with paws
Marking territory with paws
  • Leaves scent mark from pads
  • Plus visual mark from claws
  • Also satisfies need for stretching and sharpening claws.

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

please let me out kitten in kennel
Please let me out!(Kitten in Kennel)

What is this kitten saying?

Tail: Base up, tip up

= Friendly, willing to interact

Ears: Forward and up

= Focused, willing to interact

Body: Climbed up and forward

= Willing to interact.

thanks for letting me out now stop threatening me

What is this kitten saying?

“Thanks for letting me out.Now stop threatening me.”

Tail: Up and curved forward = Very willing to interact

Ears: To side and back = Uncertain

Head: Turned partially away = Slowing interaction

HUMAN: Back arched; Staring; Claws and teeth exposed;

= Trying to be friendly; actually being threatening

kittens in kindergarten don t know each other
Kittens in Kindergarten(Don’t know each other)

Orange Kitten on right…

Tail: Base up, tip straight

= Confident/Neutral

Ears: Full front

= Alert, focused, confident

Body: Back mildly arched

Body: Rump setting down = slowing rate of interaction. (SIT is a STOP message).

  • B&W Kitten on Left…
  • Tail: Base up, tip up = Very willing to interact
  • Ears: Up, forward = Interested and focused
  • Body: Arched back = Trying to intimidate.
  • Body: One paw raised = Impending (undetermined) change of behavior
kittens in kindergarten don t know each other22
Kittens in Kindergarten(Don’t know each other)

Grey Kitten on right…

Tail: Base up, tip straight

= Confident/Neutral

Ears: Full front

= Alert, focused, confident

Body: Head turned

=some new interest

Body: Neck and shoulder exposed to new cat

= no worry of attack (confident).

Striped Kitten On Left…

Tail: Base Down, Tip up = Cautious but willing to interact

Ears: Out + back = Anxious and uncertain

Body: Approaching slowly at an arc = Non-confrontive approach

slide23

Dog confronts cat. What is cat signaling?

  • Paw raised is a threat
  • Tail Tucked says no contact please
  • Ears straight out = ½ way between fear and attack
  • Backed up to wall, ready to spring
  • Dog is looking away, ears fully up, debating options.

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

one stressed cat in a happy group
One stressed cat in a happy group
  • Orange tabby has tail tucked which is unfriendly
  • Shoulder, ear position give away threat
  • Target of threat is unfazed suggesting senior status
  • Stressed cat is thinnest of group.

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

these cat tails signal coming and going overall lack of social tension
These cat tails signal coming and going.Overall - lack of social tension.
  • Cats entering group have tails up
  • Cat leaving has lower tail
  • Orange tabby in rear is signaling an alliance by contact
    • He is fully stretched out facing away; belly exposed = high trust

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

unwanted male cat behavior
Unwanted Male Cat Behavior

© Rolan Tripp, DVM

questions
Questions?

© Rolan Tripp, DVM