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Reading Feline Body Language

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Presentation on theme: "Reading Feline Body Language"— Presentation transcript:

1 Reading Feline Body Language
Rolan Tripp, DVM

2 Body Language Terminology
Distance increasing behaviors vs. Distance reducing behaviors Concordance of Signals = many signals all giving the same message. vs. Discordance = body language giving conflicting messages. © Rolan Tripp, DVM

3 Purring Contentment May occur when in pain or just before dying
= “Seeking companionship” = Distance decreasing © Rolan Tripp, DVM

4 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

5 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

6 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

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

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

9 Recognizing Feline Aggressive Body Postures
© Rolan Tripp, DVM

10 © Rolan Tripp, DVM

11 Defensive Postures Cat attempts to look BIGGER Look at leg position
Arched back Fluffed tail Piloerection Nails exsheathed Look at leg position Full extension = confident Crouched low = insecure, fearful © Rolan Tripp, DVM

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

13 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

14 Defensive Postures Full defensive aggressive posture Laying on back
Teeth bared Whiskers back Front and rear claws exsheathed and ready Tail switching for balance and communicating anger © Rolan Tripp, DVM

15 Cat-Cat Aggression Postures
Eye to eye Ears forward Tails out and back - swishing for balance and communication Low center of gravity Piloerection Forward whiskers. © Rolan Tripp, DVM

16 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

17 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

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

19 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

20 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

21 “Please let me out!” What is this kitten saying? Eyes: Focused
Ears: Forward and up = Focused Nose: Up and forward = Focused Throat: Solicitation Body: Feet off ground = Non-threatening Tail: Base up, tip up = Friendly, willing to interact “Please let me out!”

22 “Thanks for letting me out. Now stop threatening me.”
What is this kitten saying? “Thanks for letting me out. Now stop threatening me.” Eyes: Looking away = Disinterested, or disarming Ears: To side and back = Uncertain Nose: Turned partially away = Distance increasing Tail: Up and curved forward = Distance decreasing (Above include discordant signals) HUMAN: Back arched; Staring; Claws and teeth exposed; = Trying to be friendly; actually being threatening

23 Kittens in Kindergarten (Don’t know each other)
Orange Kitten on right… Eyes: Focused = Attentive Ears: Full front = Alert, focused, confident Body: Back mildly arched Body: Rump setting down = slowing rate of interaction (SIT is a STOP message). Tail: Base up, tip straight = Confident/Neutral. B&W Kitten on Left… Eyes: Focused = Attentive Ears: Up, forward = Interested and focused Body: Arched back = Trying to intimidate. Body: One paw raised = Impending (undetermined) change of behavior Tail: Base up, tip up = Very willing to interact

24 Kittens in Kindergarten (Don’t know each other)
Grey Kitten on right… Eyes: Turned =some new interest Ears: Full front elsewhere = Alert, focused, confident Nose: Whiskers forward = Confident Body: Neck and shoulder exposed to new cat = no worry of attack (confident) Tail: Base up, tip straight = Confident/Neutral. Striped Kitten On Left… Eyes: Focused = Attentive Ears: Out + back = Anxious and uncertain Nose: Whiskers out = Gathering data Body: Approaching slowly at an arc = Non-confrontive approach Tail: Base Down, Tip up = Cautious but willing to interact

25 Dog confronts cat. What is cat signaling?
Eyes: Wide, pupils dilated = High arousal Ears straight out = ½ way between fear and attack Throat: Growl = Distance increasing Paw: Raised = Impending change; Threat Body: Tense; Backed up to wall = Ready to spring Tail: Tucked = Distance increasing Dog is looking away, ears fully up, debating options. © Rolan Tripp, DVM

26 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

27 These cat tails signal coming and going
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

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

29 Unwanted Male Cat Behavior
© Rolan Tripp, DVM

30 Questions? © Rolan Tripp, DVM

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