cat moods

Cat Moods: How to Read Your Cat’s Different Moods

One of the best things about being a cat owner is learning all about their behavior, moods, and what makes them unique. You get to discover what makes them happy, what makes them angry, and use that information to develop a solid relationship with them, really following the same wavelength. However, not all cats are easy to read, and comprehending what mood they are in can feel like running in a dark maze. So, if you have just adopted or are having trouble deciphering your cat’s different moods, then here is a supportive guide to help you get on the right track.

The Seven Moods

Knowing a cat’s seven moods is the first step in being able to reveal what they are feeling. Those moods include:

  1. Scared
  2. Happy and content
  3. Insecure and anxious
  4. Agitated and annoyed
  5. Aggressive
  6. Hungry and/or needy 
  7. Affectionate 

Each of these moods reflects different signs, both physical and vocal. For example, rubbing up against you, paw taps, and purring often demonstrate affection, whereas low growling and bristle fur can mean angry, annoyed, or aggressive. For some more insight, below is a list of each mood and what you can typically expect to witness.


A scared cat might showcase a hunker down look with their ears held back and have dilated pupils. They also might vocalize their nervousness with hissing or growling. Many times, they may flee and hide away until they feel safe again. Another thing they may try to do is make themselves look smaller than they are, perching their paws underneath and wrapping their tail close to their bodies as a signal they do not want to engage. 

Happy and Content

A happy and content cat is always a pleasant experience. When your cat is happy, they will generally have a softened or calmed body language, such as a raised tail, non-stiff posture, soothed looking eyes, and slow blinks. They may even do the all too familiar low purr and kneading you or something else with their paws. 

Insecure and Anxious

You might find that reading an insecure and anxious cat might be hard, as it can also look like agitation or annoyance. But there are some key differences. For instance, a nervous cat may scratch or bite objects and might feature the inability to sit still. You may even notice that they are exhibiting stress-relieving behaviors such as over-grooming or over/under-eating.

Agitated and Annoyed

An agitated and annoyed cat will undoubtedly let you know that they want to be left alone. They may have a fast wagging tail (or a thumping tail), sideways ears, and have loud vocalizations that they want you or whatever is annoying them to go away. Sometimes they give off warning bites and will swat you away with their paws. 


Aggressive moods in cats are, for the most part, the easiest to spot. They will have constricted pupils, bite hard enough to penetrate your skin, scratch, hiss, and growl, and may lunge towards you. While this is occurring, their bodies will be stiff and erect, ears pulled back, and their teeth might be showing as if they are ready to get into a fight.

Hungry and/or Needy 

Cats are very good at letting their owner know that they want food or need something in particular. When your cat is hungry, they will likely seek their owner, wake them up if sleeping, and be exceptionally vocal (high pitched, short meows) until they get your attention. They could also lead you to their food bowl as another way to tell you what they want.


Everyone loves it when their cat shows affection, but the reality is that sometimes their happy and content mindset might be mistaken for affection, resulting in them pushing you away. So, what does affection look like? It typically isn’t cuddling, but through headbutting, social grooming, purring, slow eye blinking, and just being physically close to you. Some cats might recline near you with their back facing your direction, which is a key display of trust. 

Conclusion – Not All Cats Are the Same

With the tips and signs noted above, you should be able to have a much clearer understanding of what your cat is feeling and trying to communicate. Though these are generally universal feline traits, keep in mind that not all cats are exactly the same. Each cat has their own quirks, characteristics, and features, and that is truly what makes them all so wonderful. Just be mindful of what your cat is demonstrating with their body language and vocals, get to know their individuality, and be patient in learning all about them. In the end, you will be able to decode their emotions and moods much better, and that will result in a stronger relationship and quality of life for the both of you.