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Cat Tail Language: Tails to be told

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Table of content

Cat Tail Language: Tails to be told

Felis catus, commonly known as lovable companions (cats) are domesticated carnivores of our family. While some cats live in cozy homes, ferals often secure their hidings in close proximity to human-populated areas.
In recent studies, cats have been found to be more agile than their extended family members such as tigers. They also possess better balance and hunting abilities compared to their longtime rival, dogs!
It is true that cats are often misunderstood as emotionless creatures.  However, stoic expressions are an ordinary trait of felines. While human beings project emotions through human connections and facial expressions, our meowing beans are descendants of wild cats that favour solitary life. This does not mean that cats feel zero emotion. Bodily movements become a way for them to express anger, fear, sadness, joy and happiness.
Although some may look for the pleasant sound of a cat’s purr to distinguish comfort, a cat’s tail has more purpose than we can imagine. Their tails are often used to aid balance, communicate, and express hidden emotions.
Below are ten cat tail signs you may have seen your cuties do! We are starting the list with an extreme end of the spectrum before finishing it up with the cutest tail signs.

10 Cat’s Tail Meanings

The duster: Threatened

Source: Getty Images

When a cat arches its back with its tail all puffed, this is an indication that it feels threatened. Puffed tails are especially apparent during cat fights and when cats come in contact with larger animals. Cats puff their tails to appear bigger and intimidating.

Tucked between back legs: Insecure submissive, fear

Just as humans naturally hunch when we feel inferior, submissive or in pain, cats tend to curl their tails between their back legs when feeling insecure, fearful or ill. If your cat positions its tail as such in the presence of no one, you may want to take it to the vet. If it is due to the presence of strangers, they would naturally curl their tails to appear smaller. Ultimately, hinting a sense of fear.

The whip & trash: Annoyed/aggravated

Source: All About Cats

Whipping or thrashing of the tail (to the ground or sideways) are signs of annoyance and aggravation. You may confuse this with friendliness but it’s best to remember that dog and cat’s tail languages are different. In other words, ignorance of this sign could cause one to be scratched, bitten or hissed at.

Keeping it low: Scared/anxious

Source: Live Long & Pawspurr

Have you seen your cats stick the lower half of their bodies to the ground, especially their tails when guests enter your home? This is a sign of anxiousness. Never attempt to pet cats if you observe this tail sign. Instead, play with them first to build trust.

Twitchy end: Hunting, playing, annoyed

Twitching of the tip of cats’ tails can mean multiple things. It truly depends on a cat’s surrounding and/or environment. While this tail sign can be triggered when playing or hunting, it can also mean that a cat is vexed. It is crucial to look at a cat’s surroundings to see if something is causing its tail to move in this manner and proceed to discard any discomfort.

Self hug: Self-comfort, to feel safe, unwell

Source: Media Storehouse

When a cat wraps its tail around itself while sitting, this demonstrates that he/she is either comforting himself/herself to feel safe or due to sickness. Some may find this tail action adorable but if your cat constantly wraps its tail around its body while sitting, you may want to determine the cause of this behaviour. Your cat is definitely feeling uncomfortable with his/her surroundings or is unwell.

The slow swing: Focused/ interested in something

Tail movements are often minismised when a cat is focused on or distracted by something. Slow swinging of the tail could mean that a cat’s attention is captured by other animals or toys. You may witness a sudden pounce right after!

The straight quivers: Excited, marking

If you have ever encountered a cat that has its tail straight up as it quivers, you are one lucky hooman! This means “I’m excited to see you” in cat language. However, it could also suggest that a cat has marked a place with its urine.

The question mark: Affectionately happy

Source: Yummy Pets

No, this does not mean a cat is confused. The question mark is when a cat has its tail straight up as it curves towards the end. This is a sign of an extremely happy cat that appreciates your presence. If a cat frequently does this to you, you must radiate cat-hooman energy!

Upright!: Assured, confident, happy

Source: Keeping Pet

When kittens greet their mothers, their tails are always positioned (straight) upwards. This symbolises trust and confidence. A cat may also do the same when they encounter people or animals they feel safe and comfortable around.

Although cats’ tails can be very telling at times, never completely depend on them to determine every emotion a cat experiences. Instead, spend more time with your cats to ensure that their needs are met so they can live a healthy and content life.
To prepare for any cat stumbles in the future, consider getting you furkids insured with Oyen!