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How To Understand Cat Tail Wagging

Updated: August 11, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

We’ve always strived to understand body language, being ours or our pets’. Cats in particular have an interesting system of communication by using their tails. Cat tail wagging is how they let everyone know about their moods at a particular time.

While dog tail wagging is straightforward, with cats isn’t the same. That’s why we decided to give you some tips on how to understand cat tail wagging. Unlike dogs, cats are a lot more expressive with their tails, so their signals are a little bit harder to interpret.

How to Understand Cat Tail Wagging

While these tips will provide a better insight into how does your cat feel at a particular time, it’s important to note that there are also other physical signs at play when it comes to cat body language and communication.

The Vertical Quivering Tail

An upright tail, in a straight vertical position, usually means that the respective cat is happy and confident. If your cat is keeping her tail straight upwards, that means she’s happy. If there’s a quiver of the tail, that quiver means that she’s friendly and glad to see you.

The Vertical Fluffy Tail

An erect, vertical, fluffy tail and most often arched back are clear signs that your cat is feeling threatened or afraid of something. It generally happens in self defense, when aggression from another cat or animal is possible, so she tries to make herself look bigger than she actually is and she’s ready to react either offensive or defensive.

The Low Tail Flick

If the cat’s tail is low and flicking quickly back and forth, it means that she’s not pleased with something. Your little feline friend might be upset about something, annoyed, hurt and in pain, or simply unhappy and wanting to be left alone. So you’d better conform.

The Low Tail Swish

The tail swish might look similar to the flick, but it’s not as agitated. They do it in a more playful manner. That usually occurs when a cat is stalking and ready to jump on her prey. Which might sometimes be your hand. Or your ankle. We’re sure you’ve been ambushed before from that grocery bag lying on the floor. Well, next time, look around for a tail swish. That will be the signal for you to get defensive.

The Tail Wrap

If a cat wraps her tail around your arms or legs, that’s a sign of kitty love. It’s rare, but when that happens, you know for sure that your cat feels happy and content with you and loves you very much.

The Tail Twitch

A occasional slight twitch in a cat’s tail signals that she’s very focused on something. If she’s sitting by the window, you can bet that that intense focus is on a bird or some other small animal roaming around outside. It’s not the same movement as tail flicking or swishing, but it also means your cat is busy and doesn’t want to be disturbed.

As we previously mentioned, these signs alone might not be enough to correctly interpret what your cat’s trying to tell you, as you need to get a feel on the overall mood of your furry friend.

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