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Cats Behaviours Explained Infographic

Are you looking to better understand your cat’s behaviour?

Mysterious, stand-offish and independent – these are words most people are likely to use when asked to describe cats. Historically speaking, it would also appear that the domesticated cat chose man instead of it happening the other way around. Domestication started when human settlements began to attract large rodent populations, which in turn attracted hungry felines.

The belief that cats are independent has been around for hundreds of years. As opposed to dogs, who are pack hunters, cats are solitary predators; their method of stalking, hiding and pouncing on prey simply would not work in a group scenario.

However, cats can also be social. Within the comfort of their owners’ homes, most cats can form strong social bonds with individuals they are familiar with. In facts, cats display their feelings in so many ways that you might not even notice some of the more subtle signs. In short, your furry friend doesn’t have to be a ‘lap-cat’ in order to display affection.

In order to help you understand your cat’s moods and intentions better, Sainsbury’s Bank has developed this handy animated guide to cat behaviour.


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.

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