Behavior Pet Body Language Cat Tail Language: Understand What Your Cat Is Saying

Cat Tail Language: Understand What Your Cat Is Saying

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Cats aren’t as difficult to understand as people make them out to be. Your furry little friend is quite expressive, giving you information through her body posture, eyes, and the tail, expressing what she’s feeling and thinking. You just need to be keen to interpret the cat tail signs.

Granted, cats are different from people, and understanding them does not come as naturally as watching another person’s gestures and expressions. As such, it is important that the cat owners take their time to know the cat body language in order to accurately read their emotions, identify the issues that give them pleasure, when they are in distress, and even notice an illness much sooner.

Decoding Your Cat’s Tail Language

When you take the movement of the tail, in context to the cat’s immediate environment, you will be in a position to accurately figure out what is going on emotionally with your cat. Different cat tail positions to help you understand your cat include:

  • Upright tail with the cat holding it high ( see picture above)

When displaying a straight up tail, the cat is feeling happy and confident. He is expressing contentment, and is in a friendly mood. If the tip of the erect tail is twitching, then it means that that particular moment is particularly exciting for the cat or he is really happy. It’s a nice time to play with the cat, allow him to cuddle up next to you, or offer him some treats.

Tail held high, but curled like a question mark at the top

Black Tuxedo cat. Part of the "Cat Tail Language: Understand What Your Cat Is Saying" article.
Photo by Anders Nord on Unsplash

The cat here is being friendly and wants to spend time with you. When she holds her tail like this, take a moment or two to play with her. You can reach out and pet the little kitty, or allow her to sniff your hand.

Tail positioned straight down


Cat with tail down. Written for article "Cat Tail Language: Understand What Your Cat Is Saying"
Photo by Donna Douglas on Unsplash

This tail signals that something that is agitating your cat, and making him aggressive. Avoid the impulse to pet him. Instead, focus on what could be upsetting the cat. However, for some breeds like Persians, they usually have their tails positioned low without a cause for alarm.

A tapping tail while the cat is napping

Sleeping cat. Written for article "Cat Tail Language: Understand What Your Cat Is Saying"
Photo by Ash Edmonds on Unsplash

Here, your furry friend is relaxed and resting, but still alert to his surrounding environment. If the cat is asleep and the tail is moving around, then it could point to him dreaming.

Tail curved under the body

Cat with tucked tail.
Photo by Zane Lee on Unsplash

With the tail beneath the body, the cat is either nervous or being submissive. Here, do not display any anxiety or enthusiasm on your end. Instead, have a casual vibe, appearing calm and relaxed—and not interested or excited in what is going on. If Kitty has a tucked tail, let her approach you herself.

Curving the tail around people

Tail wrapping is a sign of affection. This is affiliate cat behavior, when she has bonded with the person in question. This also applies when the cat intertwines her tail with her feline friends—which is basically like how people wrap their arms around each other as a sign of friendship.

Puffed tail

Agitated cat.
Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

Steer clear of the cat. He is either angry, scared or there could be an issue in his immediate environment aggravating him. The cats carry their tails like this to look bigger and ward off the perceived threat.

A cat whipping the tail back and forth

Angry cat on fence.
Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

If she is rapidly slapping her tail back and forth, she is either aggressive, angry, or fearful. It’s a warning sign. Observe the immediate environment to see what could be causing the tension and tail movements, but don’t try to snuggle her.

Swaying tail, slowly moving from side to side

The cat here is focused on something, like when he wants to pounce on a bird out in the yard, or those mouse toys that he plays with. Leave him be, to continue paying attention and pursuing whatever has picked his interest.

Want to learn more about the body language of your furry friend? Please read this article to understand all you need to know. 


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