Kitten body language

A kitten’s body language gives us signals that can be used to get a good idea of what they are feeling.

These signals include the position of their tail, the movement or position of their ears and their whiskers.

If these cues are put together, you can get a good idea of what is going on in your kitten’s mind.

Kitten body language


The kitten’s tail

When a kitten’s tail is relaxed in a U shape, it generally reflects that he or she is in a happy and relaxed state.  A tail that is high up means the kitten feels confident and may be willing to approach other animals or people.

If a kitten’s tail is upright but wagging slowly, this usually means that he or she is curious about something in the environment.  They may feel confident enough to approach and explore further.

When a kitten’s tail is held low, it means that he or she is frightened and may be hiding from something.  If they are frightened or feel that you are threatening them their tail will probably be close to the body and tucked beneath them.

The kitten’s ears

When a kitten’s ears are relaxed it typically means that they are in a comfortable state, but if the back of the ears flattens against the head this may mean that he or she is frightened.  Kittens may also flatten their ears if they are excited and playing. 

If they want to be left alone or are in a neutral mood, their ears will probably be in a relaxed position and there may not be much movement when they hear sounds.

Kitten’s whiskers

A kitten’s whiskers can tell us a lot about how he or she is feeling. When the whiskers point forward and out away from the head, this generally means that the cat is happy and relaxed.  When a kitten’s whiskers point out to the side it can be a sign of curiosity or friendliness towards something new.

 If they are frightened or feel threatened whiskers are flat to the face instead of out to the side.

Gimme Kitten Lovin’

A kitten that wants attention gets close to you and rubs its body against yours. This may be accompanied by purring, face rubbing and chin-rubs. When a kitten rubs his or her body against you it generally means they are happy to see you and that they feel very comfortable around you.

When a kitten is interested in something she will face it with her ears and tail up and body facing forward.  This denotes curiosity about what’s going on at hand and willingness to explore.

I’m scared …

A scared kitten flattens its ears down against its head. This can also sometimes mean that they are feeling threatened.  Kittens may be frightened by unfamiliar objects, people or animals when they first meet them.

When a kitten is scared, his or her tail will point straight out behind them for extra protection. They may also arch their back, and shoot out their claws as you try to touch them. These cues indicate that they are frightened and want some space.

Kitten body language Playtime

Kittens play to learn and playing behaviour teaches them important lessons about the world around them.  This can be seen when they are learning how to attack or trying out new hunting strategies and it may sometimes look like the cat has made a mistake while playing with you.

Kittens have a very high prey drive, which means that they often want to hunt whatever they see. Your kitten may not realize that you are a friend and not food, and mistake your hand, leg or another part of your body as prey to attack. 

It is a mistake to punish this behaviour in your developing kitten.  Young kittens often don’t know what’s appropriate and what’s not, when they are still learning the ropes.

If you punish a kitten when he or she is playing, it can lead to an increased risk of aggression and other behavioural issues.  You don’t want your kitten to develop into an unfriendly, antisocial adult who lashes out because they are insecure.

Some kittens have been known to play “chase” until the point of exhaustion when they are just a few months old. This indicates that the kitten does not get enough exercise and is looking for things to play with all day long. Your cat may benefit from having more space and another pet in the house so he or she doesn’t get bored.

Personal space

It’s natural for kittens not to like being held – kittens do not like having other animals touching any part of their body and they especially don’t like having this type of contact when they are resting or sleeping. They also do not like having someone pick them up because it tenses their muscles, is uncomfortable and they can feel that they are falling.

When a kitten wants to be left alone, he or she will turn away from you.  Kittens often face away when they want some privacy. The tail will also be low and flicking gently back and forth if the kitten wants to be left alone. If this behaviour occurs, it’s best to respect their privacy for a while instead of trying to interact with them any further.

Kittens usually like sometimes all by themselves until they are ready to play with someone again.  In a household with young children, youngsters must be taught to respect that a kitten needs time to rest and recharge its batteries.

Kitten in Pain

If you’re like me, then you love nothing more than a good cuddle with a warm, purring kitten. But what happens when that cute little ball of fluff shows a kitten’s body language in pain? As any responsible cat owner knows, it’s our job to make sure our furry friends are comfortable and healthy at all times. So how can we tell if a kitten is in pain, and what can we do to help? Just read our article about the behaviour of a cat in pain.

FAQ Genuine Kitten Body Language

What does it mean when a kitten flattens its ears against its head?

This can be a sign that the kitten is feeling scared or threatened by something in its environment. Some possible triggers might include unfamiliar objects, people, or animals that they first encounter.

What should I do if my kitten starts to play aggressively with me or other animals in my home?

It is important not to punish this behaviour and instead focus on providing your kitten with plenty of exercise and stimulation to keep them occupied throughout the day. You may also want to consider adding another pet to your household so that your kitten has another playmate to interact with when you are away from home. Finally, it is crucial to respect
your kitten’s personal space when they want to be left alone and not try to force them into social interactions.

I think my kitten may be in pain, what are some common signs that I should look out for?

Some common signs that a kitten is in pain include crying or meowing loudly, listlessness and lethargy, an unwillingness to move or walk, and loss of appetite. If you notice any of these behaviours in your kitten, it is important to take them to the vet as soon as possible so that they can receive treatment.

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