I’m Going to Get You

Even the most mild-mannered cat may retaliate if feeling threatened or aroused by too much play or petting. “Cats are stimulus-driven predators by nature,” Milani says.

So when they see something move (whether a mouse, cat toy, or human hand), they are hardwired to pursue it.

Closer and closer, they inch forward until they reach arousal threshold. Then they pounce and kill.

If the prey happens to be your hand, the wisest thing to do, Milani says, is to freeze. That stop-action will interrupt this inbred stalking pattern.

When you see these telltale warning signs: dilated pupils, low twitching tail, and flattened ears, your cat is telling you, in the only way it can, to back off.

“That is not a time to get in its face and do ‘the nice kitty’ thing,” Milani says. “And don’t add to the problem by stroking it, especially if the cat is in defensive mode.”

Body Language 5

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