Your Cat’s Tail and it’s Meaning

Cats communicate by purring or meowing and by body language which includes facial expression and tail movements

Your cat’s tail can tell you about how they are feeling in a situation

Take time to observe your cat’s behaviour and you’ll start to get a feel of the tales the tail tells

Straight in the air – When your cats hold their tail high in the air as they move about, they’re expressing confidence, excitement or contentment. A tail that sticks straight up signals happiness and a willingness to be friendly. And watch the tip of an erect tail, a little twitch can mean a particularly happy moment.

Curved – like a question mark. You might consider taking a break from your daily business to play with your cat if you notice a curve in her tail. This tail position often signals a playful mood and a cat that’s ready to share some fun with you.

Swishing tail – A tail that sways slowly from side to side usually means your cat is focused on an object. You might see this tail position right before your cat pounces on a toy or a kibble of cat food that’s tumbled outside the food bowl.

Low – When felines keep their tails low to the ground, this often means they’re unsure of a situation and could be aggressive. However, some breeds, such as Persians and Scottish Folds, tend to carry their tails low even when they’re in playful moods.

Tucked away – A tail tucked beneath the body indicates fear, uncertainty or submission and means something in the cat’s environment is making it uneasy.

Puffed up – A tail resembling a pipe cleaner reflects a severely agitated and frightened cat trying to look bigger to ward off danger.

Whipping tail – A fast-moving tail that whips back and forth or slaps the ground means a cat is irritated or fearful and will likely exhibit aggression.

Wrapped around another cat -A tail wrapped around another cat is like you putting your arm around another person. It conveys friendship.

Shaking or vibrating tail – When cats hold their tails straight in the air and shake them rapidly, this typically means they’re excited or are anticipating something good. This can occur before being fed or receiving treats.

About the author: Megan Reilly

Megan is a Veterinary Nurse Technician - the highest qualification available to Veterinary Nurses in Australia, Megan has a fun loving spirit and brings a positive energy to Heights Pet Hospital. She is a talented nurse who has a love for all patients and is continuously updating our processes and procedures, always finding a better or more effective way. She has been at the hospital since its opening in 2011 and in the veterinary industry since 2000, starting out as a kennel hand and then completing veterinary nursing cert IV in 2006. She has also undertaken additional study, gaining her qualification as a Veterinary Nurse Technician in 2015. Megan runs our puppy school classes and has a special interest in canine behaviour. She continues to give back to the industry with her dedication to training new veterinary nurses and work experience students. Megan has Trevor, a black domestic short hair cat with a penchant for extravagant bow ties! and Howard, a fiesty Border-Terrier.

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One response to “Your Cat’s Tail and it’s Meaning”

  1. This is really useful, thanks.

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