Cat behaviour

Why Does My Cat Wag Its Tail

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 20, 2017
Why Does My Cat Wag Its Tail

Do you want to discover the wonderful language of cats? Have you wondered what your cat is trying to communicate through body language? Tail movements are a key part of feline body language, so in the following OneHowTo article we explain what your cat is expressing according to the movement of its tail.

As well as meowing and purring, your pet's tail is its main form of communication and understanding the different positions and movements will be key to knowing and understanding your cat. If you want to know all your pet's secrets keep reading because next in we explain why cats wag their tails.

You may also be interested in: Why Does My Cat Have Bald Patches?

Steps to follow:


To understand the language in your cat's tail movements you should carefully observe it and over time you will detect patterns that will help you predict and understand its personality. If you notice that your cat's tail trembles or shakes this can mean one of many things, depending on whether its pace is fast or slow.

If it looks like the tip of your cat's tail vibrates this means it is irritated. However, if you see that the tail shakes generally this may mean that your cat wants to play and feels very happy. As you can see, the differences are subtle.

Why Does My Cat Wag Its Tail - Step 1

If you notice that your cat swings its tail back and forth this means it is about to attack. This is the typical of cats in wild contexts when they are stalking prey, cats move in this wild and stealthy way to make their prey move so they can pounce on it. If your house cat begins to move its tail like this, be ready to play with it, or maybe it has found an insect around the house and wants to catch it.

Why Does My Cat Wag Its Tail - Step 2

When your cat is relaxed and calm at home you will see that the tail moves slowly from side to side. This means that your cat is happy and satisfied, it is also an invitation to cuddle it if you want.

However, if your pet's tail turns quickly and abruptly this means it is in attack mode; if you do not back off it may hurt you, that movement being a clear warning for you to stay away. If your cat reacts like this the best thing to do is stop bothering it, in a way it is saying that is well taken care of and that it has had enough pampering for today.


When the bushy tail of your pet is fully raised this means it feels good, is happy and trust you. It is the clearest sign of security that a cat can reflect. This is how your cat will express how happy it is in your home and in your company.

A cat that has its tail up most of the time is a cat with a happy life. So if this is the most common position of your pet's tail then know that you are its ideal human.

Why Does My Cat Wag Its Tail - Step 4

There are also other feline tail movements that can reflect negative feelings. If your cat has arched and inflated its tail it means that it feels fear, it is afraid and can react in an aggressive way if we do not give it space to calm down. If your pet has its tail between its legs it is another way of saying that it is scared or upset. No need for it to be angry with you, it may simply be disappointed because it did not get something it wanted, for example failing to catch something or getting a toy. If your pet usually has a low tail this means it is sad, the lower the tail the worse it feels.

Why Does My Cat Wag Its Tail - Step 5

Often the tail of a cat can be like a toy. When a female cat gives birth it can sometimes uses its tail to distract the kittens, and it both controls and stimulates them with this activity. It is a way to motivate their curiosity, encourage their hunting instinct and enhance their coordination.

By observing the movements of your cat you can get to know it better and have it be your most loyal friend. One last thing to keep in mind is that if you notice that your cat's tail moves erratically, passing from a rapid pace to a slow one and suffers spasms or other abnormalities we recommend that you go to the vet immediately. In this case it may be that your pet is going through a stressful situation and required treatment.

In our article about stressed cats you can discover the signs of this condition.

If you want to read similar articles to Why Does My Cat Wag Its Tail, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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Why Does My Cat Wag Its Tail