Body language cats: a cat’s tail reveals mood

  • toNina Marie Jarush


Cats communicate primarily through body language. A cat’s tail provides important cues about the animals’ current mood.

Munich – A cat’s tail can be considered a true measure of mood. Because by the position of the tail you can immediately tell if the cat is happy, anxious, excited or insecure. Learn about the most important signals that cats give their tails and how to read them correctly.

Body language cats: a cat’s tail reveals mood

A cat’s tail is a kind of mood scale and reveals a lot about the mood of a plush foot. (Icon picture)

© imagebroker / Imago

The cat’s tail can be clearly seen from afar. Therefore, it is also used by animals as a kind of long-distance signal and serves to assess a specific mood. The closer they are to each other, the more animals can tell the moods of their counterparts from the signals from their tails. But cats use this body language not only among themselves, but also in communicating with us humans.

It is therefore important for cat owners to recognize these cat tail signals and be able to interpret them correctly. This is the only way to avoid misunderstandings between humans and animals and to strengthen the relationship. If you understand your cat’s body language, you can respond to your pet’s needs and learn how to respect him when he wants to be left alone. These are the most important signals that cats give with their tails.

Cat Tail Signs: Stand with the tip of the tail straight

If the cat curls up with an erect tail, this indicates a friendly mood, content and self-confidence. This is often the case when greeting – the cat is happy to see its human. A slight twitch at the tip of the tail marks a particularly happy moment. This is a great time to play or cuddle.

Cat’s Tail Signals: Stand with the tip of the tail slightly bent

This tail position looks like a question mark and means the cat is happy but still unsure at the same time. In any case, the animal indicates curiosity and interest. Cats with this tail position often express that they want to play now.

Cat Tail Signals: Comfortable tail position shifts down

A neutral tail down indicates that the cat is relaxed and balanced. However, if the tip of the tail is pointing up when the tail is horizontal, this means that your plush paw has more important things to do now and you want to be left alone.

Cat tail signals: straight down

A tail pointing straight down indicates a very tense mood and can indicate anxiety and restlessness. In order to further express this position of the tail, cats usually also bow to the ground. Extreme care must be taken here, because the cat can attack if it does not find alternatives.

Cat tail signals: restless rocking back and forth

If a cat wags its tail back and forth, this indicates excitement or anxiety. (Icon picture)

© Ardea / Imago

If the cat wiggles its tail back and forth, this usually indicates intense excitement or inner anxiety. The position of the tail can have different meanings. This tail position can be observed before a cat pounces on a toy or when observing prey. However, in cat language, it can also mean that the cat is nervous or not feeling well.

Cat Tail Signals: The tail is erect and ruffled

When a cat is very frightened, it will try to appear larger and more threatening by rearing its tail and ripping off all the hair on its body. This is intended to drive out potential enemies. In addition, the ears are set back and hissing loudly. Strong emotions such as fear can make a cat unpredictable. A frightened cat should always be given enough space and treated with respect and patience. Compression does not help in this case.

Rules list image: © imagebroker / Imago

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