Mia, Sophie, Prince Charming

Cat Tips

Many cats wind up in shelters because the prior owners had unrealistic expectations about the time, effort and money involved in caring for pets. Do your homework before taking the cat adoption plunge.

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Expert Q&A

I’ve heard that you can tell just by looking at a cat that he or she is in an inquisitive, friendly mood. What signs should I look for?

Cats send out many different signals that can indicate what their mood is at any given moment. These include scents, sounds, and as you indicate, visual signals. Just looking at a cat can reveal a lot about its emotional state. The tail of a cat, in particular, serves as a strong barometer of mood. If the tail is held upright, with perhaps a flick or two from that upright position toward you, it is signaling confidence and friendship. Its ears will likely also be help up, opened wide, ready to hear what you -- this interesting, new possible friend -- have to say. Ears are vulnerable parts of the body, which is one reason why threatened cats will flatten them down toward the head. If the cat’s tail is swishing from side to side or is thumping on the ground, the feline is probably feeling anxious and less inquisitive. Owners sometimes see this after they pet their cats for a while. The feline is basically alerting others that it needs a quiet break.

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