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Cat body language: body postures

Cats have developed a complete sign language: scientists count 25 different visual signals that can be used in various combinations; cats themselves, of course, have many more subtle nuances.

Much of the behavioural repertoire is evident in cat play. Kittens and even adult cats, without any selfish agenda, pantomime for us, showing hunting, fighting or caring. this play can be likened to a tribal dance, in which scenes of war or hunting are enacted or even reenacted – it is both a training exercise and a ceremony.
Most cat encounters do not end in fights, even between rival cats.

Language is needed to convey a message, to help avoid confrontation (or rather to end it) and to protect against injury. The instigator puts on a whole show, trying to impress, scare and escape before things turn to fangs and claws. Quite often, cats simply play a long game of stare-down (from time to timeand bursting into screams), and that is enough to decide who has the last word. The winner may sit a little away from the loser and look the other way, or even take a shower, so that the person watching has no idea what is really going on.

Cat body postures

It should be noted that the meaning of the postures is not always correctly interpreted, since the manifestations of fear and anger are sometimes very similar. In order to avoid this, it is important to take into account all the details.

This is a trick used by many animals to frighten their opponents.Cats also use this trick: they stretch out their legs to make themselves appear taller than they really are. Since the rear limbs of cats are longer than the front limbs, the back of the body is raised relative to the head. A cat that is ready to attack has its fur ruffled at the withers and a high tail.

In a cat that is ready to defend itself, the withers are even more pwith a ponytail arched over its head.
The fur of the bitten cat, cornered and desperately trying to scare the enemy, is matted not only on its crest but also on its entire body. It turns sideways to look even bigger and arches its hump: if you’re going to attack a monster like that, you’ll have to think twice!

Sensing its opponent’s doubt, the cat starts to move sideways, like a crab, trying to move to a safer position, but at the same time it does not take its eyes off its opponent in case even this slow retreat backwards should suddenly provoke an attack.

There is another behavioural pattern: a frightened cat curls up in a ball and tries to look small and non-threatening in order not to provoke an attack and attract attention at all. This pose, which is the opposite of a display of grandeur, is often used by cats who are not confident and just want to be left alone. Such a cat may also lie down on its back – a humble gesture.

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