Reading Your Cat’s Tail Language

Cats have two major ways of communicating with us: vocalizations, like meowing and purring, and with the use of their tail. Would you like to know what your cat’s tail is saying? Read on below as a Grandview veterinarian discusses some of the basic positions.

The Curve

Is your cat’s tail held in a gentle curve, perhaps looking almost like a question mark? This means your feline friend is feeling playful. She’s inquisitive and looking for the first opportunity to romp around on the floor, stalk some prey toys, or bat at some birds outside of the window. Indulge your cat and allow her some playtime.

The Flagpole

A tail hoisted straight up in a flagpole type of position means that your cat feels self-assured, poised, and confident. Although the tail might look rigid, your cat should be in a friendly mood, so show her some love with a petting session.

The Tuck

The expression about tucking your tail between your legs didn’t come out of nowhere. A cat will tuck the tail underneath the hind legs, up under the belly, when they’re feeling anxious, nervous, submissive, or afraid. If a sudden loud noise, another pet, or an unfamiliar presence startles your cat, you’ll probably see this tail maneuver as your pet slinks away.

The Loving Wrap

You’ve probably had your cat brush by your leg, wrapping her tail lightly around it as she passes. You may have even seen her do this to another pet—it’s her way of wrapping a loving arm around a companion. The wrap indicates love and affection, so be sure to reciprocate!

The Puff

A puffed, rigid tail is your cat’s way of trying to appear bigger and more dangerous when she’s feeling threatened. A puffed tail is often accompanied with hissing and wide eyes, so get out of the way if you’re in your cat’s path!

These aren’t the only indicators of what your cat is thinking or feeling. Ask your Grandview veterinarian about other cat tail positions as well as full-on body language clues.