City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Understanding and Loving Your Pet

It's no secret that two of the most common pets in the United States are cats and dogs. And despite their inability to talk, we often understand their emotions based on their body language. But let's dive into understanding what their body language and behaviors truly mean. 

Understanding Your Cat

As most cat owners can attest, cats definitely have their own personalities. Like humans, every cat has a combination of traits that make-up its unique personality. The following are a few of the common signals and behaviors every cat owner should understand.

Feline vocalization

When your cat meows, it's usually asking for something. Although, it could just be saying "hello." The more frequent and intense the meows get, the more intent your cat is on getting you to respond. But if the meowing is continuous, particularly after trying to satisfy your cat's needs, your feline may be sick or injured and need to be seen by a veterinarian.

Non-stop yowling can also be a sign of discomfort or illness. Cats may also yowl out of worry when their territory is threatened or they want to mate. Some cats even yowl when they're bored. Many cat owners have experienced this frustrating sleep interruption. Since cats are nocturnal, try to combat this by helping your cat adjust to a nighttime sleep schedule. Keep your cat awake more during the day, particularly in the evening before bedtime.

Purring usually signifies contentment. Although, cats sometimes purr when they're worried as well. You can decipher the meaning by looking at your cat's body language. A tense posture and ears laid back most likely indicate worry.

Hissing, snarling or growling is a clear warning to back off, or else. When a cat feels threatened, it might scratch or bite. So remove the threat (such as your playful puppy or toddler) immediately.

Tails Tell a Tale

A cat's tail movement says a lot about what it's thinking or feeling. When a cat sweeps its tail widely, it's annoyed or wants to be left alone. If a cat becomes very agitated or frightened, its tail movement is intensified and sweeps back and forth rapidly. Either cue indicates the cat wants to be left alone. The latter signal also indicates it's ready to flee or attack.

Cats' tails can puff up too, which can be for several reasons. If your cat's tail puffs up with its ears erect and whiskers pointed forward, the cat's usually happy or having fun. But when a bristled tail points straight up or down, possibly coinciding with an arched back and flattened ears, the cat is fearful. When the fur on a cat's whole body puffs up, the cat is very angry. Cats sometimes do this to intimidate, but it can also mean an attack is imminent.

Those Destructive Claws

If your cat still has its claws, you've probably dealt with the frustration of snagged upholstery, carpet or drapes. But this is instinctive behavior cats do for several reasons. First, it's kind of like a kitty manicure. Cats do this to shed the dead frayed layers and sharpen their claws. To combat the problem, give your cat a scratching post. Also, keep your cat's claws trimmed. When your cat does scratch on other objects, clap loudly so the cat stops.

Understanding Your Dog

Here are some of the most common ways dogs express different emotions.


Dogs often express this when a family member comes home or a familiar guest comes to visit. Dogs often run, jump, wag their tails and lavish kisses. They also express joy when playing by barking or giving a playful bow.

Love and Affection

When dogs are feeling affectionate, they might nudge you with their nose, make loving eye contact or softly groan and sigh while lying next to you. Some dogs will lean their bodies up against you while sitting or standing. They also express their love through kissing, jumping and rolling onto their backs with a wagging tail.

Shyness, Suspicion and Fear

These emotions are often quite evident. Dogs might flatten their ears, avoid eye contact, tuck their tail under, cower, pant or shake. They can also have dilated glassy eyes. Pacing, hiding, whining, barking, sneering, nipping or submissive urination can also be signs of fear or shyness.


When dogs are depressed, they can experience changes in appetite, behavior, sleep patterns and reduced activity levels. Emotionally distressed dogs also show this in their posture with downcast eyes and a low bent neck.


If your dog has ever ignored you or given you the cold shoulder, there's a good chance it's mad at you. But if you're doing something that makes your dog particularly angry, the signs may be more prominent. Your dog might take a rigid posture or bark loudly in your direction. This is a warning to stop whatever you're doing that's making your dog angry. If your dog begins growling, repeatedly howling with a rising pitch or showing teeth, it's prepared to attack.