The language of cats

British cat owners are failing to understand the behaviour of their pets, according to the results of a survey conducted by Cats Protection.

The survey of 1100 adult cat owners suggested “a worrying lack of knowledge in certain areas” and has prompted the charity to launch an initiative to educate owners about cat behaviour.

The survey found that 65% of the respondents thought that cats only purred when they were happy, 76% of the owners did not understand that an upright tail was a greeting and 49% did not know that lip licking could be a sign of stress.

The findings of the survey show that we all need to gain a better understanding of cats and their behaviour which is sometimes misunderstood. “Cats are very complex creatures” said Nicky Trevorrow, behaviour management at Cats Protection.

“Cats are often considered to be independent and able to look after themselves whereas dogs are usually perceived to need their owners. The reality is that while cats are pretty good at surviving without us, they do of course have needs. If these aren’t met, it can lead to stress and behavioural problems”.

To help us all understand the basic needs of cats the charity has posted a free education tool at 

A short video explaining different cat behaviours is also available.