Cat tail language: the tale of the tail

Do you speak cat tail speak?

Cat Tail Language: Cats communicate with “telltail” signs! Animals talk with us and each other using a variety of body languages and sounds. Most people know that when a dog wags its tail it means happiness, but cats have their own “tail speak.” Learning it will help you understand what your little purr-son is telling you.

Cat tail language is involuntary. Cats can combine tail positions with other messages, such as putting their ears back, vocalizations, and poofing their fur. Tail motions can be good indicators of a cat’s mood. Tail language differs in dogs and cats. Even though dogs and cats might make the same movements, those movements don’t always mean the same thing.

In deciphering cat body language, it’s important to consider the context of the situation and the cat’s personality. For instance, a waving tail can have more than one meaning. If gentle, it can mean playfulness, but if it’s done emphatically, it can mean anger or aggression.

Below are a list of feline tail tells and their meanings:

CAT TAIL MEANING CHART (to come)

Tail Straight Up: This tail language usually denotes contentment and confidence and is territorial. It is also a sign that your cat is feeling extremely friendly and happy. Your cat will be accommodating to petting and cuddling while her tail is positioned this way. Mother cats also stick their tails up in there air when they want to be followed out by their kittens.

Tail Flicking When Cat Is Lying Down: Tail flicking can usually be interpreted as aggression in cats. They tend to flick their tails when they are focused on something or stalking their prey. Some cat behaviorists think the back-and-forth motion mesmerizes prey. A slow flick from side to side is an indication that they are feeling remote and would instead be left alone instead of being petted. And a fast swishing could mean irritation.

Tail Resting on the Ground: Cats do this when their environment is being threatened, and they’re trying to evaluate the threat. You might want to leave them alone till they consider the coast clear and resume their routine.

Tail Tucked Beneath Their Legs: This tail position can be assumed cats that are threatened or frightened. The crouch in an attempt to make themselves small and hideaway. You can pet your cat to reassure it of its safety.

Tail Hair Standing On End: Your cat might bristle its tail when on guard to defend itself against an attack. He might also bristle his tail if he’s startled or handled too roughly. It’s a defensive position, and it’s best to drop them before they resort to snarling and nipping. They also blow out their hair to make themselves look more significant than the threat

kittentailwagging
Kitten tail wagging. Look who’s stalking!

Tail Wagging: Unlike dogs when cats wag their tails, it’s usually not to express happiness but anger or irritation. But there are exceptions. Is your cat wagging the tip of her tail? A little wag or twitch at the end of an upright tail can also show that your cat is momentarily excited.

What about kittens? “Tail speak” is instinctual and you see it in kittens too. For instance, kitten tail wagging can mean the little dear is on the hunt!

Why does my cat hit me with her tail? It may mean your cat feels annoyed that you’re petting her and is just not in the mood. If you’re not petting the cat, the cat may be annoyed with something else and you just happen to be there. If your cat is wrapping her tail around you, that’s a sign of affection–a tail hug.

We hope these signs can help you in better understanding and interpreting the tail language of your cats.

Also, note that each pet is unique and special, so study your cat carefully to know what each tail movement means.

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