Our favorite feline companions use so many different components of their body to express themselves. Perhaps most especially, a cat’s tail can tell us a tale and it may be surprising to learn that this is not as confusing as it might seem! Continue reading for our guide on understanding what your cat is telling you with their tail and become an expert in no time.
Is the Tail Straight Up?
A tail that is extended straight up and down indicates an inviting friendliness, meaning that your cat is expressing a feeling of comfort, safety, and – most importantly – happiness! If your kitty companion is walking around with a pointed tail, that means that they are feeling particularly confident and content with their surroundings and company. Additionally, a twitch in the tip of the tail signifies an especially happy moment!
You may have seen your cat’s tail standing straight up with a hook at the end, much like a question mark. Simply enough, this means that your pet is feeling a little quizzical about their environment, though they are still in a good mood. Your cat has some reservations so be sure to provide plenty of reassurance to get that tail straightened out! Remember, the question mark tail means your cat has some questions.
If the tail is upright but bristling like a pipe cleaner, this indicates a clear agitation. Cats can fluff up their tail to give the impression that they are bigger to any perceived threats. If you witness your cat with a particularly fluffier tail than usual, it means that they are on edge and may lash out if they feel cornered, so approach carefully!
Is the Tail Behind?
Cats also express a variety of emotions by holding their tail behind them at different angles. For example, a “flat” tail most likely shows that the cat is amicable and not anxious. However, if the tail is slightly angled upwards, your pet may be unsure of how to feel at that point in time, like the question mark. If the tail is angled away from the body and twitching back and forth, then they are trying to express an intentional lack of respect towards whomever they are encountering.
Is the Tail Down?
Generally, a cat putting their tail down signifies submissiveness, defensiveness, or even aggression. If you find your cat covering their belly with their tail, it is because they are feeling submissive and want to protect their delicate underside. Cats may also assume a defensive position by hooking their tail down and covering their backside, which means that they are ready to quickly express aggression if necessary. Approach your cats carefully if they are holding their tail down, as it typically means they are feeling anxious about their surroundings.
Petting the Tail Area
Many cats do not appreciate petting around the tail area though there are exceptions, of course, and they will typically favor that attention around their chin and ears instead. While giving your cat attention, if they start to lash their tail or turn their ears back, it means that they are done with the interaction and ready to move on. In situations like this, it is best to finish your petting to avoid unnecessary agitation of your pet and keep them happy.
Now that you know many of the basic signs, take the time to learn your cat’s language and get a better feel for how they are feeling! The relationship with your cat will flourish and become stronger than ever if you respect their emotions and give them space when necessary. If you have any questions about your cat’s behavior, contact us at Bayshore Animal Hospital! We have served Volusia County residents since 1982 and we are driven by our passion for pets, let us help you today.