Learn To Speak Cat: Tail Talk

Cat tails are a very important part of their vocabulary!  They use them to express their emotions and learning to read what your cats tail position is telling you, is very valuable.

 

 

Tail  curled under the body

This is the tail position I’m talking about – in this case however the cat is using its tail to hang onto the tree (it was the only photo I could find)!

If a cats is very nervous, frightened or insecure their tail could be tucked underneath their body – often curling between the legs and hugging the belly.  This is a sign of anxiety, where the cat feels more secure with its tail tucked away – making them appear smaller and less threatening.  You can observe the same sort of body language in frightened dogs.

 

Tail limp and relaxed

This is your cats “default” tail position.  It indicates the cat is relaxed.

 

Tail straight up like a ships mast

This can be often seen as your cat walks towards you.  In cat language a straight up tail is like a smile.  The cat is happy and indicating it wants to greet you.  This tail position signals confidence and happiness.  A variation of the straight up tail is what I call the “question mark tail” where the tail has a curve in it like a question mark.

The “question mark tail” is the sassier version of the straight up tail.

 

The Twitchy Tail

If this little section of tail is twitching back and forth, then the cat is really interested in something.  Commonly seen as a cat looks out a window, or watches a human doing something interesting.

 

Super Smash Tail

This video is of a very mild “Super Smash Tail”, but this indicates the cat is annoyed.  This can progress to very violent tail wagging and if the cat is sitting can involve thumping the tail on the ground.  Often this tail wagging will tell you its a good time to stop patting the cat or face their wrath.

 

Squirrel Tail

If your cats tail puffs up like a bottlebrush or a squirrel then it it very scared.  Cats try to make themselves appear larger and scarier to discourage enemies.  The squirrel tail can be accompanied by fur on the back fluffing up like a mohawk.  Think your typical witches cat silhouette!