Feline Body Language: Dilated Pupils

When trying to analyze an animal’s body language, each signal must be taken in context. Other body language signals should be analyzed as well to form as complete as possible view of the animal’s intent or emotional state. You can generally characterize signs in 3 categories: go, stop and yield. 

The cat’s pupils are generally vertically compressed as in the picture above. Sometimes, they will look round. This means that they are dilated. If your cat’s pupils are dilated frequently or if one pupil is dilated and the other is not, bring your cat to the veterinarian to have her vision checked. If your cat has normal vision, there are various reasons why the pupils could be dilated including: low ambient light in the room and a high neurochemical arousal level. A high neurochemical arousal level means that your cat is in fight or flight. Her adrenaline is pumping. She could be scared about a visitor in your house or excited about a new toy. In general, it is best to regard dilated pupils as a stop sign. When your cat looks this way, leave her alone.