• June 25, 2022

Since cats have a seemingly aloof behavior, sometimes it’s hard to know what they want. Furthermore, cats use various modes of communication, including body language, vocalization, and scent signals. In this article, you will learn the different cat’s tail meanings and how to identify them.

Do Cats Communicate with Their Tails?


It is very easy to dismiss cats as emotionless and cold, especially due to their enigmatic behavior. But any cat lover will tell you that there is more going on in your cat than what meets the eye at first. You can learn a lot about your cat by just paying attention to its tail.

Although at times it’s quite challenging to interpret a cat’s behavior, having a basic understanding of its moods as revealed by its tail movements is fairly easy. Even if it is commonly said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, in cats, their tail positions and movements are the ones that provide the best insight into what they are feeling.

So, as a cat owner, you need always remember that cats use their tails along with their ears, eyes, and body postures to communicate.

Therefore, you can easily determine how your cat feels about certain situations and interactions by reading its body language. That way, you can identify the circumstances and environments that make your cat happy or fearful. You can also know when your cat is not feeling well by reading its tail language.

This is particularly helpful if you have a shy cat. If you can pinpoint when your typically fearful cat starts to feel and look confident and comfortable around you and other people in your house, it will completely change how you interact with her. Remember that the goal of understanding your cat’s body language is to improve your relationship with her.

9 Different Cat’s Tail Positions and Meanings

As mentioned above, your cat’s tail movement and position will tell you what is happening inside her head. Here are some of the common tail positions that cats use to communicate.

1. High

High tail

If your cat holds its tail up high in the air while moving around its territory, it means that the cat is showing confidence and pleasure. And if the tail sticks up straight, it signals happiness and the willingness to make friends. You should also pay attention to the erect tail’s tip. If the tip shows a little twitch, it means that the cat is particularly happy at the moment.

2. Curved

Curved tail

If your cat’s tail is curved like a question mark, it means that the cat is in a playful mood. Therefore, you should find time to play with your cat because it is ready to have fun with you.

3. Low

Low tail

When your cat puts its tail straight down, you need to be careful with it because it is a sign of aggression. A low tail is a serious mood that needs to be handled cautiously to avoid injuries or further aggression. But it is also important to note that some cat breeds, like Persians, normally carry their tails low even when they are not aggressive.

4. Tucked Away

Tucked Away

When your cat’s tail is tucked away beneath its body, it shows fear or submission. Therefore, you need to handle your cat carefully and inspect its surroundings to know what is making it fearful or nervous.

5. Puffed Up

Puffed Up

If your cat’s tail looks puffed up or resembling a pipe cleaner, it means that the cat is completely agitated and scared. The cat puts its tail in this position to make itself look bigger in order to ward off the threat.

6. Whipping


If your cat whips its tail back and forth rapidly, it shows both fear and aggression. You should consider it a warning to keep off.

7. Swishing


When your cat sways its tail slowly from side to side, it means that it is paying attention to something. This tail position is very common when a cat is playing with a toy or kibble. It will also make this tail movement when going after food that tumbles out of its food bowl.

8. Wrapped Around You


If your cat wraps its tail around you or another cat, it means that it is comfortable around you. It’s like wrapping your arm around someone you are comfortable with. It is a sign of friendship.

9. Behind


If your cat holds its tail straight out behind its body, it can mean several things. If the tail is held out behind and angled up, it means that the cat is unsure about its feelings at the moment. And if the tail is held behind away from its body, angled up, and twitching back and forth, it means that the cat is indifferent toward whatever is happening around it.

Janet is a post-doctoral research candidate working as a freelance writer. She also moonlights as a doodle artist and wishes to publish her own comic book inspired by her life story one day.