Cats have a varied body language. Here are some ways to read your cat’s more subtle language:
Eyes: The pupils tell you a lot – watch for dilated wide pupils as this indicates fear and stress. Try to avoid petting or picking up a cat with widely dilated pupils!
Ears: Ears flattened and pressed onto the head are expressing fear or defense.
Tail: A cat holding his tail straight up is displaying confidence and pride. A bottlebrush tail is a sign of fear/stress. Then there is the slow wag of mild annoyance and finally the slow twitching of the tail indicating your cat has had enough!
Purring: While generally thought of as a sign of affection, purring can also indicate a serious problem. Injured cats may also purr just as much as if they are being affectionately petted. They may purr to comfort and reassure themselves when they are nervous or in pain.