What Your Cat’s Tail is Saying About their Mood
While it’s clear we all love our cats, it’s sometimes hard to tell if they love us back… or what they’re feeling at all on any given day. If only they could be clearer about their emotions.
But while figuring out your cat’s mood can feel like an impossible feat, it turns out you’ve had the most significant clue under your nose this whole time — your cat’s tail!
Experts say that observing your cat’s body language is vital for cultivating a positive relationship with your feline friend, particularly attention to your cat’s tail positioning and movement.
“Since cats are such different animals from us, understanding how they communicate isn’t something that comes naturally to humans,” said Kelly C. Ballantyne, D.V.M., D.A.C.V.B., clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana-Champaign in an interview with Catster.com.
“It is important that all cat owners take the time to learn because understanding how cats communicate helps us understand them better. Once we know their body language, we can read their emotions, identify situations that cause them distress or pleasure and even identify an illness sooner.”
We’ll help you take the guesswork out of deciphering Mr. Whisker’s tail movements so you can worry less about what your cat’s feeling and more about how to give him what he needs.
Your Cat’s Tail Is Thrashing About
When observing your cat’s tail, if the word “thrashing” comes to mind, chances are your cat’s mood is straightforward to read. He’s pissed off.
Erratic movements or thumping their tail on the ground can be a clue that they’re either angry, annoyed, irritated or a combination of all three. Basically, something is bothering your cat, and he’s trying to let you know about it.
So if you’re petting your kitty, be careful not to assume they’re wagging their tail like a dog. If it’s moving that much, it could lead to possible biting or scratching.
Kitty’s Tail is Twitching at the End
If the very tip of your cat’s tail is twitching ever so slightly, it could mean one of three things: they’re in a playful mood, they’re annoyed (again), or maybe a bit stressed. This is where it’s important to look for other mood clues.
But if the tail tip twitch transforms into a more vigorous movement like the one described in the section before this — definitely abandon ship on the playing and give Mr. Whiskers some space.
Here’s a visual chart on body language that could clue you in on if your cat’s mood is more anxious than playful.
Swishing Tails That Go Back and Forth
While thrashing is a sign of a bad mood, if your cat’s tail is gently swishing back and forth, you’re probably in the clear. This kind of movement of your cat’s tail typically means they are intently focusing on something. This could be anything from a toy to another animal or even just random things happening outside the window. Chances are, they’re probably about to pounce.
Pouncing is really healthy for your cat to do (especially if it’s not attacking you, of course), so let them bounce around and watch their tail swish away! There’s nothing to be alarmed about here.
Your Cat’s Tail Has a Case of the Quivers
If it appears that your cat’s tail is quivering slightly, it’s a pretty good indication that your kitty is probably just extra excited to see you (or someone else). However, if she’s holding her tail straight up while it’s also quivering, you may want to duck and cover. Her mood may have just shifted to territory marking time. No one wants to be in that stinky splash zone.
Their Tail Shoots Straight Up
If your cat’s tail shoots straight up (sans quivering), you’ve got yourself a very contented kitty today. Your cat’s mood is probably more on the confident and friendly side of the spectrum. This would be the opportune time to give her some attention, cuddles or even break out a toy or two to play together.
Look at that Question Mark-Shaped Tail!
Now, if your cat’s tail is standing upright and also curved at the end (like a question mark), it still means her mood is probably happy. Just don’t be tempted to grab at their tail. Most likely, that’ll ruin the entire mood.
Your Kitty is Wrapping Her Tail Around You
You probably have a good idea what this means because it already gives you warm fuzzies every time your cat does it. Wrapping her tail around your legs is your cat’s way of showing affection and wanting to interact. If she’s wrapping her tail around another cat’s tail, it’s as if she’s giving them a hug or handshake. We love this kitty mood! Cat snuggles for the win.
Your Cat Curls His Tail Around His Body
When your cat settles down with his tail curled around his body, he’s not getting all snuggly or giving himself a quick hug. He’s probably very stressed or scared.
Do not engage your cat. Instead, assess his environment and remove any stressors you may find. If nothing is going on that could be causing him to be scared, it could be time to take him to the vet to make sure he isn’t experiencing any pain.
Your Cat’s Tail Fluffs Up
If your cat’s fur puffs up or the fur literally stands on end like a cartoonish scaredy cat– that proof is in the pudding. Your cat is startled.
If your cat is holding an arched back position with this hair-on-end tail posture, try to give her space and resist comforting her with petting. There’s a chance that any interaction could be perceived as a threat and trigger aggression in this mode.
Beware Of Your Cat’s Lowered Tail
Similarly, if your cat’s tail is lowered, he could also be scared. But if it starts to go between his legs, you may want to assess him to make sure he isn’t hurt somehow. This could be a sign that he is feeling pain and not just being frightened.
Skoon Loves Your Cat As Much As You Do
While your cat’s mood can be hair to decipher and definitely impossible to predict — there’s at least one thing you can rely on when it comes to what they want. Cat’s love a kitty litter that makes them feel clean, comfortable and dust-free. Skoon’s revolutionary all-natural cat litter made from diatom pebbles is the purr-fect solution to all your kitty tinkle problems.
Simply stir the pebbles daily to maximize optimal absorption and scoop out the solids. That’s it! And when you’re ready for a refill, close up your disposable cat litter box and toss. Skoon’s subscription service makes routine maintenance easier than ever.
Skoon will have both you and your cat in a good mood between the odor-blocking guarantee and the moisture-absorbing science.
Need more help decoding your cat’s behavior based on her body language? Check out this helpful article.
Ready to try the kitty litter that’ll be sure to put your cat’s tail in the happiest position? Try Skoon risk-free for 30 days and see how diatom pebbles can forever change your kitty clean-up chores.