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Cat Movements: Understanding Why Your Cat Wags Their Tail and More

August 11, 2021

It’s often misunderstood that tail wagging is only seen in dogs. However, you will be surprised how many variations of tail wagging your cats have. Cats’ movements can tell you a lot; they wag their tails, not just when they are angry; there is a robust list of reasons for that.

It’s a known fact around the cat community that cats’ movements are so subtle, it’s hard to decipher. Along with their facial expressions, eyes, ears, and body posture, you can definitely label them as one of the most expressive creatures.

Although deciphering cat behavior can be difficult for some, learning to recognize a cat’s emotions through her tail movements is rather simple. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most common tell-tail signs that your cat’s trying to say something to you.

Cat Movements Understanding Why Your Cat Wags Their Tail and More
The definitive guide on understanding the reason behind your cat’s movement and tail wagging.

The Swish

A swish can be slow or fast. If your cat slowly swishes their tail from left to right, this means it’s time to give them their “me time.” They are usually annoyed and extra irritable, so back off! 

On the other hand, a quick swish means that they are being playful. This is usually followed by a pounce. They mostly do this while playing with a toy or with another cat. However, make sure you do not confuse this with an angry, low flick. 

The Twitch

This very common cat movement indicates that they are focused on something. Pet owners usually see this happen when your kitty is lounging near the window, feeling predatory because of the birds and rodents they see outside. 

If you notice this kind of behavior and they don’t seem to be hunting or stalking anything, then this means that they are annoyed. Examine the scene and let them be.

The Quiver

The most popular tail action (and can be argued as the cutest), the tail quiver. Mixed with face rubbing and purring, tail quivers often indicate excitement. They are just in bliss to see you!

The Sleeping Twitch

Cats usually sleep between 12-16 hours a day, and they don’t want to be disturbed. As cute as they are and however playful they are to you, they can ignore you whenever they want. 

While your cat is quietly snuggling on its hammock, try calling their name. When flicking their tails, they are just saying, “I know you’re there human, but let me sleep first then we can play.”

The Tail Wrap

This is the cat’s version of human kisses and hugs. It can be a simple greeting, or most likely, they are showing great affection and love towards you. Wrapping their tail around your arm or hands indicates their willingness to play. 

The Fluffed Up Tail

Mixed with the “halloween” cat posture, this cat movement signifies that they feel frightened or in danger. According to experts, cats do this to make them seem larger and scarier during a confrontation. It’s a common defensive stance. When you see your cat do this – keep them away from what’s causing their stress.

The Question Mark

Whenever you see your cat’s tail all curled up like a question mark, get ready to play. This is your cat’s way of saying “pet me!” or “let’s go outside and play.”

The Wave While Lying Down

Sometimes cat movements can also indicate discomfort. If you notice your cat waving its tail while lying down or it keeps hiding under the bed, it may be a sign that they are in pain. Consider all factors and observe any unusual behavior; if you feel they are in pain, go to a vet immediately.

Bottom Line

It wouldn’t be called tell-tail signs if they don’t mean anything. Cat’s movement and tail wagging indicate your feline friend’s mood. However, do not just focus on their tail movement; consider the entire body language. 

Understanding the different tail wags and cat movements will prevent you from surprise scratches, whack, and nips! #cutecats #tailwagging #catmovements #purrparents #felinefriends

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