Money Matters Team

Understanding your cat

By Money Matters Team 22/04/2016

Do you know what your cat is trying to tell you? Is it feeling playful, loving, or just showing off? Have a look at our animated guide to find out.

You may think your cat is simply being affectionate or asking for food when rubbing up against you, but there's more to it. And what about the hunting trophies it brings you, or the kneading of soft objects?

If you pay careful attention to your cat's behaviour and the sounds it makes, you may learn to understand its mood and intentions better. It could even save you a few playful scratches!


Just what is your cat trying to tell you?

Rubbing against your legs or furniture

This is my home, and I scent things to find my way around.

Showing you its behind

Don't be offended, I'm just being friendly. We cats say hello to each other by sniffing tails, just like dogs.

Ears forward

I'm pleased to see you. If you hold out your hand, I might give it a bump to say hello (or a sniff if I'm shy).

Slow closing of eyes/blinking

You're getting a kiss. If you copy me, I might just do it again. If I'm in the mood.

Ears upright, sitting
up and alert

I'm listening intently. Was it a bird or a mouse? I'm not sure, but I'm off to find out.


I'm getting comfy. Kneading you makes me feel good, as I think about how I used to knead my mum.

Rolling on back to expose stomach

I trust you, but watch your fingers if you decide to give me a tickle; I might be in the mood to play.

Back hunched up with tail and fur on end

I'm being defensive. I'm puffing my hair out to make myself look bigger, so whatever I'm scared of leaves me alone.

Cat in a box/bag

This might look silly to you, but it makes me feel safe; I can see you, but you can't see me!

Cat in a box/bag

This might look silly to you, but it makes me feel safe; I can see you, but you can't see me!

Cat 'gift'

I've brought you a mouse to try and teach you how to hunt. See what a good hunter I am.

It's your turn now.


I purr because of most things (dinner, strokes, sitting in sunshine), but mainly because you've given me some form of 'contact' and I like it.

If you're not a cat owner yet, but thinking about it, have a look at our guide to preparing for a new cat, which has lots of useful tips and information to consider.

This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.

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