Katz Tales: 5 signs that your cat trusts you

If your cat sleeps with its tummy exposed, that means it's relaxed around you. — Ellen Whyte

Cats have a reputation for being cynical and aloof but, as any pet lover will tell you, if you have a good relationship with your pet, they will show their trust in you.

They are happy to eat out of your hand

Target loves Saturday's because it's the day we have dim sum for breakfast. Our senior cat is a massive fan of siu mai but as a whole one is too big for him to tackle, it's my job to split it into parts. With the pork and shrimp mince prone to crumbling, I cut a bit off, trim it to the proper size and then hold it in my hand so that our gourmet kitty can eat it comfortably.

Target has total trust in me because he picks up one bit after another, chewing carefully and without haste. Tic Tac however is still secretly convinced that I may take it away, so she picks hers out of my hand, carries it away, eats it and then trots back for more. Swooner is part Labrador because he just inhales his, not even pretending to chew.

They are cool with you standing over them

Should you step up to say hello to a cat sitting on the ground, they may flatten their ears (a sure sign they are concerned) and step back, giving you big eyes (another sign they're worried) as they take you in. They're worried because you are standing over them.

Cats are predators but they have plenty of enemies. These include dogs and nasty humans as well as wild animals like snakes, scorpions, rats, porcupines and in other countries coyotes, skunks and more. In addition, birds and squirrels may launch pre-emptive attacks in order to safeguard their nests or to chase cats out of their territory.

Cats therefore instinctively watch out for attack, especially from above. So, should your pet be totally comfy running around your feet, perhaps butting your ankles, it means they trust you. Remember that when you trip over them!

They lie with their furry tummy exposed

With cats having plenty of enemies, they sleep like mercenary soldiers out on a secret mission. A cautious kitty hides away either on a high branch or wall and preferably with cover from above as well. Then, paws tucked underneath, they sleep with half an eye open, ready to fight off trouble or run from it.

Target snores on the sofa with all four paws up in the air, vulnerable tummy on full display. When Tic Tac joined our family, Target did spend a few weeks adopting the protective tuck, but now that she's a year old and thoroughly civilised, he's totally relaxed.

As a bonus, I'm allowed to ruffle his tummy fur and coo over how deliciously fluffy he is. Tom doesn't even try it. If he even goes near the snorgly tum, Target's eyes open and his ears go back in warning – because Target is a mummy's boy.

They let you pick them up when they're afraid

Tic Tac came dancing down the stairs, not realising our groceries were being delivered. The second she spotted the man, she flattened her body and pretended invisibility. Of course the supermarket man was captivated. But his encouraging,"Sayang" wasn't going anywhere.

As our kitten crept backwards, keeping her tummy to the floor, Tom picked her up. She instantly threw her paws around his neck and, like a toddler, peeked out at her admirer.

Hugging a scared kitty is one of the strongest signs of mutual trust you can demonstrate because cats will claw and bite when afraid. As they have at least 18 claws, each razor sharp, and a strong bite as well, you need to be certain you're solid before you do this.

They tell you when they need help

There was the time Target was trapped on the wrong side of a big wall, and all the cats have been stuck up trees and tall bookcases at one time or another. But one of the sweetest cries for help was this week when Swooner got stuck in the middle of a rain shower.

Our street was inches high in water, the rain was torrenting down in sheets, and our silly fuzzy got caught right in it when walking up the street after visiting his friend down the road.

Poor Swooner – he stood in the doorway, paws akimbo and yelling his head off. Having picked up a good bit of Cat, we got the message,"I'm soaking wet! There's mud all over my tummy and my fur is loaded with icy cold water. Towel me dry, purr-lease!"

Whoever thinks cats are cynical and aloof can't have spent a lot of time with these delightful fur friends. Tell us, how does your cat let you know they trust you?

Quick guide to cat fear

CATS try to pretend they are cool as cucumbers but if you look carefully, you can see when they're edgy.

#1 Flat ears. A cat's ears are like CIA super snoopers on steroids. When alert, your kitty will twitch ears backwards and forwards, catching sounds well beyond our hearing. But when the ears go flat, your pet is either very angry or frightened.

#2 Low tail. When tails are up they say,"Hi!" with lots of flair. A tail that is down or held low means your kitty is feeling cautious.

#3 Low body. If you're kitty is suddenly two inches tall and sliding quietly across the floor as if invisible, it's a certain sign that they're being covert. With ears flat, it's usually fear. With ears up and forward, it's more often a game of Pounce.

Flat ears, dilated pupils and a low body - these are all signs that your cat is wary or afraid. — 123rf.comFlat ears, dilated pupils and a low body - these are all signs that your cat is wary or afraid. — 123rf.com

#4 Stiff muscles. Like us, cats will stiffen when scared. Also, their hearts speed up. Some will pant. Cats don't sweat through their fur; they sweat through their paw pads. If you see sweaty feet, your pet is terrified.

#5 Dilated pupils. This is a tough one to spot because cat eyes will dilate for all sorts of reasons, including low light. But if you pick up your pet and they feel stiff and have big eyes, they're probably scared.

#6 Growling or odd purring. A cat may growl – you know, to scare away whatever is frightening them. But cats also have a stress purr. This is usually a bit faster and more open-mouthed than a happy purr. Tip: So if you see these signs in your pet, soothe them or let them hide in their safe spot until they feel better.

Adopt me

Photo: Agnes Lim/PAWSPhoto: Agnes Lim/PAWS

Milo is a one-year-old healthy boy who has been neutered, vaccinated and dewormed.

Milo adores being petted and is looking for a home where he can provide companionship and be loved.

Anyone looking for a furry companion, please contact PAWS Selangor, Pilmoor Estate, Subang Airport Road, 47200 Subang, Selangor (phone: 03-7846 1087/ website: paws.org.my). Ask for Milo, tag number C118(310520).

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Ellen Whyte , cat behaviour


Did you find this article insightful?


96% readers found this article insightful

Next In Family

Reopen schools, keep students safe, says Unicef
Study: Mental health of Malaysians during the pandemic must be addressed
Gotta catch 'em all: Pandemic sends prices soaring for Pokemon cards
Stereotypical: Harassment claims more credible if women 'conventionally attractive'
March run to celebrate the strength of women
Philippines takes key step to end child marriages
Making sure that a woman never finds herself alone in the meeting room again
Woman with a mission: Dr Swati Mohan heads successful landing of Mars rover
Cooking collective helps Mexican women escape abuse
Eight in 10 young women 'limit behaviour for protection': report

Stories You'll Enjoy