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Published: Oct 30, 2012

Cats may not be able to speak English, but they can convey their feelings clearly enough with their body language. Flicks of the tail and arching of the backs can say plenty, but one of the best indicators of how your cat is feeling is his ears. When your furry friend seems to be having cat behavior problems, it could very well just be that you are reading his moods all wrong. Learning your cat's body language may also make it easier for you to discover issues in pet health. Here are some common positions you may see your cat's ears in, and what they mean.

Alert and interested
When your cat's ears are completely upright, this means the cat is alert and interested in something. Is it dinner time? Are you playing with a new toy? When your cat's ears are in this position, he is most likely not interested in cuddling because he is otherwise engaged, so it's best not to force petting or other cuddly behavior - unless the cat is greeting you.

Relaxed, happy cat
A cat's ears may quickly go from alert and upright to pointing slightly to the side. This state means the feline is relaxed, happy and content - ready for cuddling, petting or being picked up, because he is not feeling scared or aggressive.

Aggressive or displeased
If your cat's ears move from a forward position to flattened down or backward, it likely means he does not like what is happening. This could mean he dislikes being scratched where you're scratching him, he's annoyed, or he is afraid. This position is important to keep in mind because it is often a precursor to aggression in cats. If your cat's ears are down, it's a good idea to give your feline some space to cool off.