October 27, 2018 5 min read

The vast majority of people believe that animals, namely cats, don't know how to show their feelings and mood. It's not completely true. The cat’s sign language is quite simple. The emotions of cats are very understandable and familiar to everyone.

To understand them, you need to observe attentively, and you will learn to distinguish and get used to a cat's language. It is expressed primarily in the way the cat shakes its tail. And here's how and why cats shake their tail. Let's look at this question more closely.

How Cats Show Their Mood

The cat tail consists of many spinal bones and performs a large number of functions. The main role is balancing while moving and hunting. But the cat's tail also expresses its behavior and character. This means that if the owner is attentive and loving, then he can easily determine his pet's mood just by looking at his tail. You can understand the mood of your cat by analyzing when and how it shakes its tail. 

The tail of the cat twitches in different ways - both vertically and horizontally. To figure out how to understand the cat by just looking at the tail, you need to consider many factors. 

These may include:

  • Unfamiliar and potentially dangerous people. For adult cats, it can be a stressful situation. If it's a female cat with kittens, her shaking tail demonstrates displeasure and the fear for her offspring;
  • The overall environment in the breeder's family. If you shout often and beat the kitten - you should be prepared for the female cat's reaction: she may arch its back and fluff up her tail or get it down. But when you love and cherish your pet, its tail will almost always be a pipe, and the threat of a curved back and hissing sounds will pass you by;
  • If the pet hits its tail, meows, shakes, its pupils are dilated, and it gets down or arches its tail, then the pet lets you know that it's scared. In this situation, it's better to remove the object which provoked the panic;
  • Unfamiliar surroundings or moving to another house can also cause a pet's displeasure expressed in shaking its tail. Let your cat know that you protect him and want only the best for him.
  • Cats can understand perfectly what you are saying to them. In the process of growing up, the kitten learns to understand the owner, and you should learn how to determine the mood and how to understand the language of your pet. 

How Cats Communicate With The Tail

It's not always possible to understand the needs and moods of your cat by just looking in his eyes.  It's the cat's tail that can tell you what your pet is feeling and thinking. Let's consider specific examples of why and how the cat twitches its tail:

  • If your cat smoothly waves its tail horizontally and in different directions, this gesture means that he cannot choose between his desires immediately. As soon as the decision is made, the animal will calm down and stop pulling it;
  • If the cat tail raises its tail and puts it vertically, it tells you the cat is curious and interested in something;
  • Slight twitching indicates strong attachment and love for you;
  • If the cat's tail is lowered, it means that the pet is bored;
  • Tail up but curved back and ears pressed - a cat cannot decide between attack and defense. He is very frightened;
  • The tail is in the position of the curved arc and the cat arches his back — he senses danger and ready to defend himself. In this state, do not beat the pet and try to calm him down;
  • A vertically raised tail indicates that the animal is in a great mood and is ready for games and communication;
  • A loose tail says that the pet is in a calm mood, but is not willing to communicate;
  • The rather strong horizontal waving of a tail shows the pet's discontent and irritation;
  • A wary animal lowers and ruffles its tail;
  • If only the tip of the tail moves slightly - at the moment, the pet is in a great mood and is satisfied with everything happening around;
  • The cat's tail trembles and moves horizontally in different directions faster and faster - hunting is in full swing, and the cat is about to attack the prey in the next few seconds;
  • A vertically elongated, trembling tail signifies a playful mood. Please note that if the cat's movements are becoming faster and sharper, the pet beats the tail and can start meowing - the animal is too excited. It is time to stop the game and calm him down. It's especially important during games with little children - there's a danger of scratches and bites;
  • The tail wrapped around the body tells about the great mood and trust in the world around the pet;
  • The tail is half-raised - the pet is confused and cannot determine its attitude towards a person or another animal - the cat can't understand whether it is a friend or an enemy;
  • Fluffy tail and fur along the spine - a cat is enraged;
  • A vertically raised tail may mean that the cat marks territory;
  • Sharp waving or tapping means that the cat feels stress and is probably in pain;
  • Biting the tail signals the presence of parasites;
  • During the cold season, the cat wraps its tail around itself, thereby reducing heat transfer;
  • A vertically raised tail with a relaxed tip indicates joyful excitement;
  • If the cat sits or lies with a calmly stretched tail - he's having a rest;
  • In a sitting position, with the legs held tight and tail wrapped around the body - the animal is relaxed but waiting for some action;
  • A slight twitching of the whole body along with the tail means a happy and calm pet. You can notice it while stroking, scratching of the cat's ears or back. The joy can also be expressed in loud purring and closing eyes;
  • The slow and rhythmic twitching of the tail vertically tells about the interest of something. The cat is relaxed, doesn't feel any danger and is concentrated on the object of its attention. The curiosity can also be expressed when the animal paces around the subject of its interest and sniffs it;

The desire to attack can be expressed in the waving tail from side to side. If this happens when playing with inanimate objects, there's no need to worry. As soon as the cat gets bored with this activity, it will leave the object and forget about it quickly. At least until the next burst of a playful mood.

Cats move their tail almost constantly. There are many explanations for this fact. When communicating with your pet, just pay attention to his mood. When there is mutual understanding between the owner and the pet, when they can understand and feel each other, then communication problems won't arise.

 Just hear what your cat is trying to tell you. After all, contrary to popular belief, twitching his tail can mean great love and devotion to you.

Kawaii Meow
Lover of Japanese culture, cats, and self-help hacks. The biggest cat online store.


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