A Cat’s Tale: What Your Cat’s Tail is Telling You

Cats communicate with a complex variety of body language, vocalization, and even scent signals that humans can’t smell. Even with all this communication, cats are an enigma with their seemingly aloof behavior.

But learning some basics about a cat’s mood based on her tail position is relatively easy. And it can really enhance your relationship with your cat once you understand where she’s coming from. We’re looking at what tales your cat’s tail is telling you.

Tales of A Cat’s Tail Straight Up Positions

At times, your cat approaches you, another person, or an animal with a tail straight up in the air. Straight up tails generally mean that your cat is happy and confident. A tail straight up when meeting others means that the cat is feeling friendly and content.

If your cat’s straight up tail has a crook at the end of it, it means your cat is undecided about how they feel. You can think of that crook as a question mark. It may also mean she wants to play or is seeking connection time with you.

A cat who is holding her bristling tail straight up is indicating that she is agitated, angry, or afraid. The bushy pipe cleaner look in a tail is an attempt to look bigger and to appear more powerful to a perceived threat. Typically cats will try to get away from a situation they don’t like, but may lash out if cornered.

Cat Tail Down Positions

Many of the cat’s tail down positions signal defensiveness or submission. A tail carried all the way down may mean that a cat is feeling defensive and aggressive behavior might follow. A tail tucked all the way down and curled beneath the cat’s body signals fear or submission. Something may be making your cat nervous or afraid.

Tail Behind Positions

A cat can convey their feelings by carrying their tail straight out behind them. Depending on the angle, this position can mean a variety of things.

Tail held out behind but angled up may mean your cat is unsure how to feel at the moment. And a tail held behind, angled up and away from the body but twitching back and forth is most likely an expression of indifference toward whatever they are encountering.

Wags and Twitches

Tail wags and twitches in cat’s tails are common. A tail swishing back and forth rapidly indicates both fear and aggression. If a cat’s tail is gently swishing from side to side it may indicate that your cat is interested and alert to something that is happening. You might see this tail position right before your cat pounces on that feather wand you’re offering.

What a Difference A Cat’s Tale Makes

Cats are complex beings, and beginning to understand your cat’s behavior can make all the difference in your relationship. Knowing what your cat likes, loves, despises, and fears can help you provide her with a better quality of life and feel more connected to her. And that’s the best tale of all!

If you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s behavior or health, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates is your partner in cat wellness and health.