Understanding your pet's behaviors can be quite a puzzle, but decoding their actions is essential to meet their needs. Whether it's interpreting a nudge, a wagging tail, or a peculiar stance, your pet often communicates in their unique language. Here, we'll unveil the meanings behind some common pet behaviors, allowing you to decipher your furry friend's signals with ease.

1. Seeking Attention

Pets often exhibit antics or unusual behaviors to capture your attention. Dogs chasing their tails or cats rolling around might simply be asking for playtime or interaction. A dog or cat that is extremely bored might exhibit "undesirable" behaviors to provoke a response, even if it's a negative one.

2. Communication Through Vocalization or Licking

While a dog licking your face might seem affectionate, it could be a request for a snack, stemming from their early learning behavior from their mother. Cats, on the other hand, might lick to soothe themselves when stressed.

In their natural environment, adult cats usually don't meow at each other. However, they have developed meowing as a way to communicate with their human family members. Understanding the various sounds your cat produces can assist in recognizing their requests for dinner, greetings, or when they require assistance.

Typically, purring signifies contentment, but some cats may also purr when feeling unwell or in discomfort.

3. Body Language

The positioning of your pet's tail can convey a lot. Dogs wag to the right when happy and to the left when cautious. Frightened dogs tuck their tails in between their legs, while cats wrap theirs around themselves. Play-bowing is a behavior in dogs where they lower their chest to ground while the hips are raised indicating they want to play

A cat's tail in a question mark shape signals a desire to play. When coiled around the legs of a human or another animal, it signals a gesture of friendliness. However, an upright tail with a "bottlebrush" appearance or a tail moving back and forth indicates that your cat is feeling threatened.

4. Emotional Expressions

Pets express their emotions through actions. Avoiding eye contact, yawning, or lip-licking without food around can signal stress or displeasure. Dogs preferring indoor comfort while their owners are away is another indicator of their emotional state.
Flattened ears and dilated pupils indicate a cat is either frightened, angry, or prepared to pounce.

5. Need for Space

Just like humans, pets need alone time. Recognizing signs of anxiety or discomfort, such as hiding or excessive panting, indicates the need for a calm, secluded space. Yawning (when not tired), and looking away are signs that a dog is stressed or is becoming overstimulated. Time to give them some space.

6. Physical Expressions

A cat presenting its rear or a dog showing its belly isn’t just seeking affection but expressing trust and comfort in your presence. Signs like slow blinking in cats or exposing their belly in dogs symbolize a deep bond.

Mounting or humping, whether directed at a person or an inanimate object in dogs, isn't always a sexual behavior. Dogs might mount to alleviate stress, assert dominance, or seek attention. If this behavior poses an issue, consulting a certified animal behavioral specialist is advisable.

7. Health Indicators

Body postures like arched backs or crouching in pets can signal discomfort or pain. These positions might indicate gastrointestinal issues or potential physical discomfort that requires veterinary attention. Unexpected accidents by trained pets could indicate health issues such as kidney problems or infections.

8. Sensing Changes

Pets might exhibit agitation or restlessness before a storm or natural disasters, showcasing their ability to sense environmental changes earlier than humans.



October 30, 2023 — Pradeep J