Cats greet in several ways, and their body language is a large part that can tell other cats whether they are welcome to get closer or not. Stretching out the head and sniffing is an encouraging welcome. They sniff faces to get a sense of the identify of the stranger from the smell. Cats who know each-other or are greeting each-other warmly will often give an affectionate head-butt (seen often in warriors) or a nose-bump. These actions often turn into rubbing and tail twining. A friendly or polite cat will not make eye contact for long, as it is seen as threatening and hostile, so cats use their excellent peripheral vision to see each-other. An interested cat will have it’s ears pricked forward slightly and it’s whiskers will also be perked forward in order to sniff the new cat. A contented friendly cat will hold it’s tail up straight, which is also used in Warriors as a signal to follow. A hooked tail indicates a friendly but unsure cat.
A hostile cat is often easy to recognize. Cats become hostile when they feel threatened — in Warriors the cats may feel threatened when their territory is encroached upon, when fighting, or even when insulted. Generally a confident or aggressive cat will raise it’s head: cats often settle arguments with long stares, as eye contact is seen as impolite and hostile. A tail still straight but down means a cat is feeling aggressive, and bristling fur means it’s angry or frightened. The more threatened a cat feels it will arch more and their fur will bristle.
Since Warriors do not often sacrifice their dignity in battle or retreat, the submissive language is often used instead between warriors and a leader, or apprentices and mentors, as a sign of respect. The dipping or turning of the head to avoid all eye contact, and a curled tail (especially curled under the body), crouching down or flinching all indicate respect and submission and are all non-threatening.
Cat happiness is easy enough to interpret — the most famous sign of course is purring, a low, rumbling sound that is comparable to a human smile; it can act only as a sign of contentedness, but also as a non-threatening message: I am safe, you do not need to fear me. The louder the purr generally, the more stimulated the cat is by happiness. Sometimes a cat can also purr out of fear or anxiety, but that is not usually the case.
Facial expressions change as a cat is happy, although they are more easily interrupted by other cats then humans, sensitive changes amount of light or shape of the eye (can be described as glowing, as if often is in warriors) and some cats facial muscles even take on a smile-like shape. When a cat in content or relaxed it’s muscles relax, and breathing slows down. If a cat is content and not seeking affection, a flicking tail or a rippling of the pelt can indicate it wants to maintain distance.
The amounts of touch a cat presents to other cats and it’s owners often depends on the cat’s temperament. Some cats express happiness by seeking contact, rubbing and bumping heads, licking and grooming, kneading, or general touch, like paws. Some breeds of cats actually drool, and many cats exert their energy by adding extra power to jumping. Another symbol of affection, perhaps comparable to a kitty “kiss” is a long stare and then a slow blink.
Cats, especially housecats, tend to be sensitive in general. Anxiety is common, and can wane and wax easily. Some types of anxiety, stemming from separation and other causes, can last for a long time and effect a temperament of a cat to a more nervous or timid persona.
Signs of short term anxiety is a tail flicking back and forth, rubbing, restlessness (flexing of the muscles or claws), an anxious chutter-chutter like meow. It can disappear quickly when the threat is disposed of or wears off. Prolonged anxiety, tends to be somewhat more serious as a cat emotion, and can be stemmed from anything from the presence a strange cat or animal, to the separation of an owner, family member, or in the Warriors case, a Clanmate. As well as some symptoms of short term anxiety listed above, a cat may become reclusive and eat less or nothing at all for long periods of time and sometimes obsessive grooming. Anxiety can be built upon when a cat is stressed by normally non-threatening objects, and an aggressive or nervous cat may lash out, especially tomcats.
Another type of anxiety is not always negative and is more in anticipation. The unique symptoms of this are again quite obvious; pacing, urgent meowing, and staring. Negative anticipation is exhibited by trying to shirk whatever is coming by feigning sleep, restlessness, or reclusiveness. Cats are very sensitive to the emotions of other cats (they can sense fear, anger, restlessness, sadness etc.) and will often avoid threatening or high leveled emotions like happiness or anger, or symbols of it like loud noise, which make cats uncomfortable. They prefer to be around low-level emotions.
Another recognizable and instinctual obvious emotion of the cat is high anger: ears flat back on skull, pupils dilate, fur ripples as the muscles tense, fur standing on end, arched back and tail lashing. More symptoms are rapid breathing, and a loud, warning yowl or growling sound. Listed above are actually defensive gestures and not offensive — the point of these signs are to ward off a potential attacker, not to invite a fight. The defensive gestures can quickly erupt into offensive, obviously scratching, biting, leaping and fighting. These bouts of rage can come when a cat feels threatened or cornered, and often dispense fast when energy is used up or the cat is distracted. Sometimes it takes time for a cat to relax after anger.
Like happiness, sad body language is easier for other cats to interpret then humans. Eyes change subtly in shape, moping, low-energy levels and tail dropping are all signs of sadness. Sometimes the cat will neglect a lot of grooming or eating, often resulting in a dull pelt, and scratching. The cat is very sensitive to tension and anxiety, so medical problems can be created by prolonged sadness or stress.