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Reading Feline Body Language

Reading Feline Body Language

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Reading Feline Body Language

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  1. Reading Feline Body Language Rolan Tripp, DVM

  2. Purring • Contentment • May occur when in pain or just before dying • = “Seeking companionship” © Rolan Tripp, DVM

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. “Feliway” “Feline Facial Pheromone Analog”… Changes the site from a urine mark target to a cheek mark target Calming effect. © Rolan Tripp, DVM

  7. “Attentive Anxious” • Eyes focused • Ears forward focused • Whiskers forward • Weight on rear quarters for rapid response • Tail twitching. © Rolan Tripp, DVM

  8. 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

  9. Defensive Aggression - Pariah threat posture • Low ranking threatened cat • Crouched front legs • Ears back • Teeth bared • Sign of fear and insecurity. © Rolan Tripp, DVM

  10. 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

  11. © Rolan Tripp, DVM

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Male Reproductive Posture • Tom does neck bite to stabilize female and protect self • Treading and stepping movements position pelvis for coitus © Rolan Tripp, DVM

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. Affiliative Behavior (Cats are social!) © Rolan Tripp, DVM

  27. Unwanted Male Cat Behavior © Rolan Tripp, DVM

  28. Questions? © Rolan Tripp, DVM