What Your Cat’s Tail is Telling You

Cats have two primary modes of communication—vocalizations, like meowing or purring, and body language. In particular, your cat’s tail is a good indicator of her mood. Here, your Niwot, CO vet tells you about your feline friend’s most common tail positions.

The Hoist

A hoisted tail will be held straight up in the air, rigid and firm. This means that your kitty is feeling calm, confident, and rather self-assured. Many cat owners report this tail position when they’re arriving home; it may be your cat’s way of welcoming you back! Cats will be friendly when the tail is held up this way, so give your cat a loving petting session.

The Curve

Have you ever seen your cat hold her tail in a curved position? Some cat owners describe it as looking like a question mark. Cats holding their tail in a curve are usually feeling playful and are ready to stalk a toy or go for a round of wrestling on the floor. Don’t be afraid to oblige your cat and play with her for a few minutes.

The Puff

When a cat puffs up their tail, it’s their way of making themselves look larger and more threatening in order to ward off danger. Of course, cats may puff the tail in response to a perceived threat, not a real one; this could be anything from another cat outside, a fellow pet in the house, or even a strange noise.

Other body language, like widened eyes, a crouched stance, and hissing, may accompany the puffed tail. It’s best to leave your cat alone until the perceived danger has passed and she goes back to normal.

The Tuck

Everyone’s heard the expression about tucking your tail between your legs. Cats do this too, and it’s a classic indication of fear, anxiety, or submissive behavior. Everything from a guest in the home to a sudden loud noise could cause this tail position, but your cat should return to normal once she realizes there’s no danger.

The Wrap

Does your cat wrap her tail around your leg as she’s walking by? Perhaps you’ve even seen your feline friend wrap the tail around another animal, including another cat. To cats, this is a way of showing affection or acceptance, much like we would wrap an arm around a friend!

For more information on your cat’s body language, call your Niwot, CO veterinarian.

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