A cat's tail on a couch

If you love cats, you most likely know how sensitive, playful, and even snuggly they can be. However, do you sometimes find yourself scratching your head, trying to decipher what they want?

Your cat’s tail may be one of the best ways to determine their mood. Watching and learning what their tail position means can be a fun and enlightening endeavor – and it can help you better understand your cat!

The Tail’s Tale

  • Position: High – Your cat is feeling happy and confident. If they’re greeting you, another person, or another pet, they’re feeling friendly and at ease.
  • Position: High with a crook at the end – Think of the crook at the end of your cat’s tail as a question mark. They’re asking for engagement and play – take some time out of your daily routine to indulge in some fun!
  • Position: High and puffed up – If your cat’s tail resembles a bottle brush, they may be experiencing fear or anxiety. The puffed up look is an attempt to look bigger to ward off any threats.
  • Position: Straight out and whipping from side-to-side – A whipping tail signals fear and possibly aggression. Your cat is agitated about something, and it may be wise to stay away.
  • Position: Out and gently swishing from side-to-side – The slower swish can indicate that your cat is focused on an object. You may see this tail position when you dangle a mouse in front of your cat or when they’re getting ready to pounce on a toy or another playmate.
  • Position: Down low – A tail that’s held down low may signal a serious mood, a feeling of uncertainty, or even aggression. Proceed with caution.
  • Position: Tucked under the body – This tail position usually means your cat is feeling fearful or nervous.
  • Position: Wrapped around another cat, dog, or you! – This is a signal of great friendship. It’s the feline equivalent of putting your arm around another person.

Cat Communication

Cats communicate using a variety of body language, vocalizations, and facial expressions. By understanding your cat’s tail position, you can begin learning what your pet likes, loves, and fears. In turn, this can strengthen your bond with your cat as you begin to respond appropriately to their cues and moods. And this makes for a happy, healthy cat!

If you’d like more information or have any questions, please contact The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center!