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Decoding Kitten Behavior and Body Language

Kittens have unique ways of communicating with us. As your little one explores her new home and gets to know her new family, here are some ways to understand what she is trying to tell you.

Meowing: Cats don’t primarily communicate with each other by meowing. Meows are special for us humans! Lower-pitched meows typically indicate discomfort or that they’re upset. Higher-pitched meows are happier and can mean your little one wants to be loved or needs attention. Just like parents learning the unique cries of their baby, you’ll soon learn which meow means they want pets and which one means they want their favorite food.

Purring: While most often associated with happiness and contentment, purring is also a way cats comfort themselves when sick or anxious. If they’re purring and nuzzling against you or enjoying some chin scratches, they are happy and want you to know it!

Hissing and Growling: To protect themselves when scared, kittens will puff up and hiss to warn whatever is threatening them to back off. This is also a typical response to meeting new animals.

Rubbing: Rubbing is a sign that your little one is happy and wants to show you love. Cats have glands in their cheeks that carry their scent, so when they rub their face and cheeks against you, they’re claiming you as their own.

Belly-Up: A cat’s belly is one of his most vulnerable body parts. Even when playing, he has a natural instinct to protect his belly by kicking with his back legs. When your little one rolls over and shows his belly to you, this means he is comfortable with you and is seeking attention.

Ears: Ears pointed upright and forward indicates interest, curiosity, and contentment. Ears that lay down flat are a sign of discomfort, cautiousness, or even fear.

Tail: A cat’s tail is an amazing indicator of her emotions and feelings. When a cat’s tail is tucked close to the body, this means she is frightened. An upright tail with a slight curl inwards at the top means you have a happy kitten! Tails found in between those two positions indicate that you have a curious kitten who may be exploring something new. A tail rapidly swishing from one side to another can either mean that your little one is agitated or that they are ready for play!

We hope this helps you understand your little one better as you start to learn more about each other!


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