Skip to Content

Why Do Cats Thump Their Tails When Lying Down?

Why Do Cats Thump Their Tails When Lying Down?

Oh, cats! They are just an intriguing mystery, and we can name a few behaviors we do not understand really well. But for today, we are going to talk about their tails and why they thump, flick or slap when they are lying down.

If your cat is thumping their tail while lying down, several things could be happening. Generally, it’s a warning sign to leave the cat alone or give them time to rest. If you are petting your cat, it may suggest that they are overstimulated. Additionally, your cat may be irritated or in pain.

A cat’s tail is an essential part of its body since it offers balance while walking in tight spaces and jumping on prey. It also serves as a mechanism of communication and a sign of a cat’s emotions. This post will tell you a few reasons why your cat is thumping, flicking, and slapping its tail.

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Thumping Its Tail

As we mentioned, there are some reasons why your cat might be thumping its tail while lying down; below, we will explain a few of them.

Your Cat Is Saying Hello

There are several ways your cat could say hello, like rubbing its head or tail, but if your cat is lying down. They probably will not get up as they might be way too comfortable, or they will assume you will not stay for a long time or that you will go to them. So they will start to thump their tail. If your cat is looking relaxed, this might be the reason they are thumping their tail.

Your Cat Might Be Feeling Playful

Many cats will wag their tails to indicate that they want to play, which can cause their tail to pound on the ground. If your cat wants to play, its pupils expand, and it becomes overly focused on whatever they are staring at. Cats will also wiggle their bottoms and move their weight around before jumping to set their balance.

Your Cat Feels Relaxed


Tail thumping may show pleasure, especially if the cat appears uninterested in something in particular. If you are petting the cat and they are softly thumping their tail on the ground, it is a sign that they are having a good time.

When you pet a cat, do not automatically assume that a wagging tail implies the cat is happy. The tail-wagging might indicate that your cat is frustrated or uninterested in the attention they are currently receiving.

Your Cat Might Be In Pain

The wagging of your cat’s tail may often indicate that they are in pain. Cats are excellent at covering their pain and sicknesses because they do not want anyone to see that they are exposed to attacks.

Typically, this type of tail movement is abrupt and appears to be unrelated to anything else. It is an automatic, reflex activity. Unlike other reasons, if your cat is in pain, they will not be looking at anything in particular.

To know if it is necessary to take your cat to the vet, you should keep your cat under observation, looking for other symptoms like difficulty getting comfortable, lethargy, aggressiveness, constantly hiding, and change in appetite.

Your Cat Is Feeling Frustrated

If your cat’s tail swishes around excessively when lying down, it might indicate that they are feeling frustrated. In a situation like this, petting them might result in a grumpy scratch and them walking away. Additionally, they might not even be in the mood for cuddles.

Cats can become irritated for a variety of reasons. Even though sometimes you might be able to detect the cause of your cat’s annoyance and assist in resolving the issue, there might be times that you are not going to be able to.

It Might Be A Hunting Behavior


Your cat’s tail could be waving because it is concentrated on a hunt. Pouncing is followed by lying down on its front, tail wagging, and a wiggling body. To escape being noticed, your cat is shrinking and becoming invisible. Cats may also charm prey by waving their tails, giving them valuable seconds to attack.

The thumping of your cat’s tail is related to hunting if it occurs before any of these actions:

  • The bottom wiggles.
  • Clicking the mouth.
  • Changing the weight between the back legs.

These actions should be taken seriously as warning indicators. If you see that your cat is lying down and behaving in this way, try distracting it with a toy. If you don’t, the cat could start hunting you.

What Does It Mean When A Cat Slaps Its Tail?

When your cat slaps its tail, it might be a sign of anger or threat. The movement tends to be sharp and sounds like a rapid beat from side to side. This beating movement is a warning sign and is a way of avoiding direct conflict with opponents.

Other Tail Movements And Positions

There are some other tail movements that you might find intriguing. Here you have a list of them:


The movement is more like a gentle swish that means the cat is relaxed, but if the movement is more back and forth, it means the cat is alert and focused on something that has caught its attention. Cats do this while lounging under the sun or while they are sleeping.


This movement consists of the cat brushing its tail up against you or coming to rest on your body. This is a way for your cat to tell you he feels affectionate and fond of you.


A fast wiggling or vibrating tail, while it is straight-up, could mean your cat is happy, or it is anticipating treats or affection, which your cat considers to be amazing. It might happen due to excitement after not seeing you for a while.



If your cat is wagging and quivering its tail, it could be due to your cat being excited about seeing you. Your cat might approach you with its tail high up in the air while its tip quivers. It also could indicate the want to interact when followed by purring and rubbing the tail.

Question Mark Or Hook Shape

A tail with the shape of a hook or question mark is a sign that your cat is happy. This shape could be seen as an invitation for you to interact with them. However, it is important to remember to keep in mind the safe places to pet your cat, as some cats do not like to be petted from head to tail.

The Tail Is Wrapping Your Cat’s Body

When your cat sits or lies down with its tail wrapped around its body, it could mean it is scared, protective, in pain, or ill. Suppose your cat has been with its tail firmly wrapped around its body for more than a few days. In that case, you should get in contact with your vet to verify if everything is correct.

Final Thoughts

Even though you should look at more than just your cat’s tail movements to fully understand your cat’s emotional state, the tail could be the most expressive part of a cat’s body language. Better understanding your cat’s body language will surely improve your bond with your cat.

So it might be crucial for you to pay close attention, not just to your cat’s tail movements or positions. In addition, you have to look closely at other symptoms or behavior your cat is facing to check if your cat is angry, friendly, approachable, or ill.