Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails? Interpreting Your Cat’s Tail Wagging

Do cats even wag their tails? Most people would say no, dogs wag their tails, cats do not. But cats do not move their tails and tails can be very expressive, and give you an indication as to what exactly happens in the mind of a cat.

“Cats have very expressive cues, so the position of the tail and motion can tell us a few things,” said Dr. Eloise light, a veterinarian based in North Ryde, Australia. Of course, the movements of the tail are only one piece of the puzzle body language. Other important physical signs noted include everything from posture and facial expressions to the position of the ears and tail.

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The six movements of the tail, deconstructed, can help decipher the body language of your cat and help you determine if your cat is ready to cuddle or you need to back off.

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The vertical tail and tail Quiver

A vertical tail (or vertical) and tail quivers (or tail rattle) are often signs of a friendly hello to your feline. A vertical tail is usually a sign of a happy, confident cat, said Margaret Donohue, psychologist and former coach cat in Santa Clarita, California. The bright Dr. agrees. “If your cat does little thrill of the tail when he sees you, it means he is happy and content. ”

The tail Wrapped

Kitty never could wrap his tail around your hand, arm or neck?

“Cats often wrap their tails around the leg or arm of an owner to show affection, but whim is more commonly used,” Donohue said. Whether a friendly tail-wrap or knock on the arm of their head, which is often a clear sign of the love of a cat.

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The tail flick (or, Straight Out and Back Tail)

Not to be confused with a shudder down film of the tail is a pretty obvious move. A feline hold its low tail stretched rigidly and before flick back, which indicates dissatisfaction, according to Dr. Bright. The low film can also be a sign of an angry cat that is ready to pounce, Donohue said, and it is often used when a cat stalks prey airborne.


Different from the movement of the tail, the rustle usually means your cat is ready to pounce on your hand, usually in a more playful manner and mood, according to Dr. Bright.

“If your cat is the type of ambush your ankles when in a fiery temper, throw a toy as a decoy when you see the tail swish,” she said.

The Fluffy Tail Arched

If faced with another animal or anything a cat sees as a danger, it is common to see a fluffed-up tail. The fluffy tail, especially if combined with a hunched back, is used in response to a threat, Dr. Bright said, and is used to make the cat look bigger and scarier to his nemesis.

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If you ever notice your cat looking out the window carefully, it is possible, it may be accompanied by a slight contraction at the end of the tail. This may mean the interest or concentration on something, according to Dr. Bright.