Why do cats flick their tails when you talk to them? Cat tail language can be confusing, especially, if you’re a first-time pet owner. Today, we’re going to take a look at the body language of your feline’s tail.
Cats swish and flick their tails when they’re excited, scared, agitated, or feeling playful. Basically, cats twitch their tails for several reasons and it’s up to us the owners to understand their body language to see what they’re trying to tell you.
Why Do Cats Flick Their Tails When You Talk To Them
We all know that dogs wag their tails furiously to greet their pets, however, cats tend to be different.
Have you ever tried calling your cat’s name while resting in bed? You notice that when she hears her name, all she does is flick her tail while her eyes remain closed and she doesn’t bother moving.
It makes you wonder if she actually heard you or if she’s just ignoring you. Well, she has heard you, and the flicker of the tail is a sign of happiness and contentment.
Your kitty trusts you enough to remain sleeping in your presence without moving. The flicker of the tail is just her/his way of letting you know that they hear you.
What Is Your Cat Telling You With Their Tail?
A cat’s tail has a lot more purposes than helping them balance themselves while walking on narrow spaces or jumping on prey.
They use their tails to help them communicate. Just like dogs and other animals, they communicate mostly through body language. In fact, when you learn how to read your cats tail movements, you will know how your feline friend is feeling.
Let’s take a look at what your cat is trying to tell you based on the movements.
How to Read Cat Tail Language?
Your cat’s tail is a barometer to their emotions and intentions. When you learn to read their language, you’ll understand when they want to cuddle or want to be left alone.
Cat Wagging Tip of Tail = Bad
When a dog wags its tail, we know they are happy or excited. Unlike a dog, your cat is annoyed whenever they wag their tail. As your feline becomes more frustrated, the wagging movement will grow more forcefully.
If it gets to the point where your cat’s tail is thrashing, it may be followed by a growl. It may even get to the point where they will lash out with their paw.
Twitching Tail Means They Means They Are Curious
If your cat is barely twitching their tail, it doesn’t imply anger. Instead, it means that they are unsure of something. If you’ve ever introduced a cat to a dog, you know they twitch their tail slowly because they aren’t sure what’s going on.
If your cat is crouched on the ground twitching the tip of their tail, there’s a good chance that they are interested in what’s going on around them.
Puffed or Fluffy Tail
When you’re cat’s tail is puffed and has a bristled look, it means they are feeling threatened, or afraid. It is a sign that they are on the offensive or defensive.
The more puffed-up the tail is positioned or straight out, is usually a sign of how far they are into the aggressive stage. At that point, you’ll notice her growling, spitting and hissing and ready to pounce.
Vertical Tail and Tail Quiver
The upright rattle tail is often a friendly greeting from your feline friend. An upright tail means that your cat is feeling confident.
If their tail quivers when they see you, take it as a sign that your cat is happy to see you.
What Does It Mean When A Cat Purrs and Wags It’s Tail At The Same Time?
This usually occurs when you pet your cat. You’ll notice that they are purring and wagging their tail at the same time.
A cat usually does this when they are feeling happy and maybe excited about the attention they are getting. You may even notice that they begin headbutting because it’s their way of saying “Yes! This feels so good, I love you!”
Why Do Cats Sit On Their Tail?
You might notice that your cat sits on their tail or sit with the tail wrapped around their front paws. There are two reasons that a cat does this and it can be confusing.
- It’s a sign that they are feeling unsure and don’t want anyone to approach them.
- It could also mean that your feline is relaxed and calm.
If their ears are perked up and his body is tense, he’s feeling unsure. However, if they are sitting there with their eyes half closed, they are calm and relaxed.
Cat Swishing Tail When Lying Down What They’re Telling You?
A cat’s body language can move many things and one of the easiest signals to miss is your cat trying to tell you they are in pain or aren’t feeling good.
If you spot your cat waving their tail while they are laying down, it could be a sign of pain. If you have a pet insurance plan for your pet, you may want to contact your veterinarian.
They will be able to check your kitty to make sure that they are feeling fine and catch anything before it becomes worse.
Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails When Sleeping?
Cats tend to be light sleepers, that’s why they sleep so much. If your cat is wagging their tail while they are sleeping, it is an indication that they are dreaming.
You might even notice them twitching their tails, whiskers, ears, and paws. Don’t get scared if they bare their teeth, moan or growl.
I wish there was a way to find out what they were dreaming about. There’s a good chance that they’re stalking or catching prey or running away from a predator.
Either way, they are reliving the traumatic events through their dream.
How to Understand Cat Body Language?
Cats are more challenging to understand than dogs. Every breed is different and the best advice I can give you is to start watching how your feline friend acts.
Observe them while they are relaxing, playing, hanging out, or eating. After a while, you’ll begin to understand your cat’s normal behaviors.
When you learn to read your cats tail signals, you’ll be able to understand when they aren’t feeling good or just want to be left alone. Which is helpful when your traveling with your cat or just hanging out at home.
Cat Body Language Chart
Do you ever wish you had a chart of all the different feelings and emotions that a cat can have? A cat can have over 16 different emotions based on their body language and they are:
- Friendly & Relaxed
- Conflicted Cautious
- Possessive (this is mine)
- Super Terrified
Here’s a handly body language chart that was put together by Modern Cat. will give you understand visually the way your cat will react.
Image source Pinterest
Cat Body Language Book
I know that understanding your cat can be challenging, especially, if you’ve never had a cat. Or maybe you’ve been a dog owner your whole life?
We had a dog for over 16 years and when we got a cat, it took us a while to really understand her. They are so different from dogs, we finally decided to get the Cat Body Language Book to help us out.
You’ll learn about all the different behaviors of your cat. From kneading their paws to meowing when you’re opening a can of their food.
Once you learn what your cat is saying, you’ll understand why they do what they do and how to respond.
References and Further Reading
Cat Health – Did You Know Your Cat’s Tail “Talks to You?
Virginia Wells – Why Cats “Wag” Their Tails