Cats have a reputation of being withdrawn and independent animals, which for the most part is true. The assumption that cats are non-communicative, however, is simply not true. From vocalisations to expressive body language and tail movements, cats communicate in more ways than meets the eye…
Cat Tail Language
Getting to know this aspect of feline communication is extremely useful and can help you as a cat owner determine whether or not there’s something wrong with your pet. Emotions are highly reflected in the movements and positioning of a cat’s tail and, while this may initially sound all rather absurd, there are many different ways that felines communicate through their tail.
Different Cat Tail Positions
Tail Position: Upright And Held High
When a cat is feeling happy, content and relaxed in their environment, will likely be open to any interaction, including cuddles and playtime. Mother cats will also hold their tail in this position to signal their kittens to follow them.
Tail Position: Curled On The End
If a cat’s tail is curled on the end and upright it means that they’re feeling friendly. In fact, felines generally curl their tails into a position similar to that of a question mark to greet their owners upon arrival.
Tail Position: Straight And Down
Uh oh, this isn’t a great sign…
A downwards pointed, straight tail generally means a cat is feeling agitated or aggressive. This tail communication isn’t the norm and is usually only seen if a feline is fearful of something or has been handled and engaged with too much. It’s advisable that cats are left alone when their tail is in this position and any behaviours or objects that may be causing them to become unsettled are removed from the situation.
Tail Position: Low And Wagging
Unlike that of a dog, a wagging tail doesn’t mean your cat is happy. In fact, they’re communicating quite the opposite.
This movement of a cat’s tail means that they’re annoyed by something – it’s quite common to see this after a feline has been overstimulated during playtime or if they’ve been cradled or handled too much. It’s best to allow a cat to calm down prior to any interaction as, if you provoke the cat any further, you may receive an unwanted swipe of the paw.
Tail Position: Wrapped Or Tucked Away
A wrapped or tucked away tail could simply mean that a feline is cold, but it could also signal that the cat is feeling anxious. To gauge how your cat is feeling, it’s best to observe the context in which the cat’s behaviour is present. If the environment is warm then it’s safe to assume a wrapped tail indicates that the feline is feeling withdrawn and anxious. Give your cat some time to themselves and, where possible, remove the source of anxiety.
Work full time and looking for regular cat care? Perhaps Tailster can help! We have a range of vetted carers across the UK, available to care for your pet as and when you require. For more information, click here.