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Pet Project: Reading your cat's body language

Pet Project: Reading your cat's body language
Pet Project: Reading your cat's body language 04:29

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- While your feline friends may not be able to speak, a lot can be said from their body language – especially if they're in a tense situation. 

Cats tend to "bluff" their way out of interactions with other cats by "puffing" themselves up. Pennsylvania SPCA animal advocate Carol Erickson explains it's a common feline survival strategy to look as big as possible to avoid any fighting.

When cats spot other cats they may be wary and respond by puffing up the fur on their back or using their tails to look larger. This behavior is in an effort to de-escalate a situation with another cat, or even people. 

RELATED: Pet Project: PSPCA hosting adoption event for long-term shelter dogs

Two cats will generally test one another by "puffing up." When this happens, a cat will usually get intimidated and run away. 

In regards to a cat's perception of humans, they know people are not cats but will also puff up to show they are distressed by an interaction. Cats will also hiss, so it is recommended not to touch them when they do as they will be more inclined to attack out of instinct.

RELATED: Pet Project: Detecting your dog's health problems through smell

Cats may also puff up at the scent of another cat or if they are injured. 

Overall, a cat's body language is pretty telling, and recognizing these aforementioned signs can keep you out of any trouble. 

Featured pets for adoption

The Pennsylvania SPCA has a cat named Babushka up for adoption. She's nine years old and is described as incredibly sweet. Babushka loves people, attention and getting treats. She's a "ready to go home with you" type of cat.  


Nine-year-old Cleo is a pup up for adoption and is described as a "low-key" girl. She came to the shelter through the animal law enforcement team in July 2023. Cleo is recommended for foster care and adoption, and is said to work well with a similar laid-back dog.


Lee is also another dog up for adoption at the PSPCA. Lee is described as a wiggly, playful lap dog that adores attention. 


If you're interested in learning more about these pawfect friends up for adoption contact the PSPCA at or call 215-426-6300. 

You can watch this week's full pet Project interview with Erickson in the video player above. Stay tuned until the end to meet Babushka, Cleo and Lee.  

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