5 Cat Facial Expressions and What They Mean: Understanding Cats

Understanding cat behavior is possible by decoding the facial expressions and body language of a cat. There is a wide range of cat’s facial expressions that convey how they are feeling. If you see a funny cat face, try to figure out what the cat is feeling.

How Many Facial Expressions do Cats Have?

Dogs wag their tail to express what they want. Understanding cats is comparatively difficult. This is the reason you need to pay close attention to a cat’s facial expressions.

In a journal, a team of researchers from the UK categorized and defined the various facial expressions of a cat. They used video recordings of about 29 cats to conduct their research.

  • When a cat is afraid, the facial actions include blinking.
  • When a cat is frustrated, facial actions include nose-licking, hissing, nose wrinkling, showing of the tongue, and the parting of lips.
  • A relaxed cat usually has a right gaze.

By studying the cat facial muscles, you can understand your cat better. Cats exhibit interesting behaviors that are fun to know about. Let’s take a look at the 5 most common cat expressions.

Top 5 Cat Facial Expressions

Can cats talk? You must have heard two cats meowing to each other. As cats cannot speak in human language, you need to study the various cat facial expressions.

Understanding your cat becomes easier when you know about the various cat facial expressions. This will help you develop a special connection with your pet.

  1. Flattening of Ears

One of the most common cat’s facial expressions is flattening of its ears. Cats get easily frustrated when they do not get what they want. As they are habitual creatures, they do not like anything to change in their daily routine.

If you pay attention to the cat body language, you can figure out when your cat is frustrated. You will notice flattening of its ears as if someone has pinned them back. At the same time, your cat will meow loudly and lick its nose a lot.

5 Cat Facial Expressions(Image Source: thehappycatsite.com)

When you see flattening of a cat’s ears, be careful. This is one of the most important cat signals where you need to take a step. Try to pacify your cat by giving it what it wants.

Cats often react to frustration by hissing, swiping of their claw, or running off to avoid the situation.

  1. Excessive Blinking, Half-Blinking, and Slow Blinking

Do cats have feelings like fear, anxiety, and love? Yes, they have. Understanding your cat becomes easier when you pay attention to the eyes of a cat.

When a cat feels scared, it starts blinking excessively. The next time you see your cat blinking over and over again, do not ignore it. This is one of the most important cat signs that reveal that your cat is fearful.

If you do something that makes your cat nervous or afraid, it will start blinking excessively. This is a form of cat communication where your pet tells you that it feels scared. You should stop doing it immediately and ensure that your cat feels relaxed.

Instead of excessive blinking, cats half-blink when you fail to amuse or impress them. If your cat slowly blinks at you, it means that it wants attention.

Cats flutter their eyes gently to convey their trust and affection. Indulge in cat talking by blinking back at your cat.

  1. Direct Stare with Narrow Pupils

If you pay attention to the cat body language, you will understand when your cat is curious. Your cat will stare directly at the object of its curiosity. You can see its open eyes with narrow pupils.

Understanding Cats(Image Source: aaha.org)

The cat will lie down or sit with its front paws forward when it is curious. The cat’s facial whiskers will be forward and ears will be up. It can also lift its nose to detect a scent.

When a cat is curious, it focuses on the object of its curiosity. It does not feel agitated or threatened. This is one of the common cat facial expressions that you should know about.

Try to connect with your cat when it is curious. You can play a new game with your cat or explore its object of curiosity together.

  1. Head Tilted to the Right and Left

When your cat is happy with the surroundings, you can see its head tilted to the right. Head tilting is a cat language that you must learn.

When your cat is relaxing on the porch or couch, it will tilt its head slightly to the right to look at the surroundings. This means that your cat is content. Studying cat facial expressions will help you understand when your cat is relaxed.

However, a relaxed cat never tilts its head to the left. If you see your cat tilting its head to the left, it means that it is looking for something.

  1. Eyes Open with Dilated Pupils

When you are studying cat facial expressions, you must know how to point out a threatened cat. When a cat feels threatened, it will think of attacking its offender.

You can see an unfriendly expression on the face of your cat. The cat’s eye will be wide open with open dilated pupils. The ears of the cat will point outward.

cat body language(Image Source: phys.org)

When you notice these signs, be careful. Cats can be aggressive. It is one of the important cat emotions that you cannot ignore.

Wrapping it up

These five cat facial expressions will help you understand the various moods of your cat. You can differentiate between a relaxed cat, a curious cat, a frightened cat, and a threatened cat.

Understanding your cat becomes easier when you can read its facial expressions. You can also prevent your cat from getting frightened or disturbed. You can understand the messages that your cat is trying to send across when you observe its body language and facial expressions.

Cat communication is completely different from the way human beings communicate. As cats cannot understand human language, it is your duty to know about cat facial expressions. It will improve the bond that you share with your cat.

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