Cat Sanctuary

What Does the Face Say?

Bossanova’s worried face is less about his place in the Single-Wide and more about whether anyone brought him chicken! KN

Cat-lovers quickly get used to reading feline body-language.

When Horatio first came to us, we saw a lot of both the angry and the fearful cat – PH

Happy tails say “Dinner time!” – TS

Some of it is very obvious – the raised back and puffy tail says “angry”; the erect tail and body rubbing against human ankles says “happy”; the hiss and fangs say “stay back!” – and there are many other subtleties in the way the body reacts. Actual vocalizing is a very small part of cat-communication – many visitors are surprised by how quiet the Sanctuary is.

Creamsicle – MW

But the actual feline face, for the most part, can best be described as “resting bitch-face” – not because that’s a mood that cats are in, but just that their mouths tend to turn downwards. For the majority of cats, life (from their faces) appears to be a serious business

Celine Dion – MW

If it’s not serious, sometimes it’s downright hard!  Look at these sad faces (none of whom are really sad cats)

Cadbury – KN

Leland feels that life is tough – MW

But just occasionally there’s sunshine in the smile.  Sometimes that’s because of the cat’s fur markings – a shading below the chin can have the effect of changing the mouth shape.

Sweet Happy (now passed), in Old Aids, always looked like she was smiling – MW

Spooky’s mouth markings also show a smile – MW

Sometimes it’s just the hint of a smirk – cats, of course, know that they are superior and we’re only there to serve them.

Hillie has a secret smile – MW

Happy Willow, enjoying the sun – JK

Sunday, and Allison’s arrived – Little Orange is in heaven – MW

Now that Skittles has discovered laps, life is very good! – MW

And some cats just have their moments when they’re obviously blissed out, and not just the body but the face shows it.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Phaedra Hardman, Jennine Kariya,  
Karen Nicholson, Tim Stocker, Michele Wright