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Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails? What Does It Mean When They Do?

Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails? What Does It Mean When They Do?

Trying to understand cats can be a challenge. Cats tend to be mysterious, and some people can even consider them complicated. Wagging their tails can mean a lot of things; keep reading if you want to find out the meaning behind your cat’s tail swings.

They wag their tails because they are trying to communicate something. Tail wagging can help you recognize your cats’ feelings. When a cat wags their tail, it can mean many things. For example, your cat can do tail wagging to express fear, pain, or even affection.

Reasons Why Cats Wag Their Tails


There is something highly relevant: cats always wag their tails for a reason. They use it to demonstrate different things to their owners. Almost every cat uses it to communicate, excluding the ones with tail problems or damage. Also, there are many things that we need to keep in mind when analyzing a cat’s tail wag. These details are how they move it, the position of the tail and when they do it. Below, you can read when cats wag their tails.

  1. When they are afraid: When cats are scared, they swing their tail close to the floor. When your feline pet does this, they are not interested in fights or confrontations. This kind of wagging means surrendering. Yet, if the tail is straight and upright, your cat is frightened but will fight back.
  2. When they feel confident: This wag happens when your cat is comfortable. The movement of the tail is vertical but swinging at the tip. If your cat does this around you or other pets, it means that they have no problem with them and can socialize.
  3. When they are excited: Wagging their tail with vibrations or trembling is a sign of excitement. If you do something that surprises and enthusiast your cat, this can happen.
  4. When they feel anger or irritation: This tail gesture can show up if your cat is uncomfortable around other pets. Also, it can happen if your cat is mad or bothered. In some cases, if your cat wants you to stop doing something, it will wiggle its tail rapidly.
  5. Tail spasm: This tail movement happens when cats are sleeping. It shows that your cat feels safe around you and knows that you are around while they are sleeping.
  6. Tail wrap: Cats do this when they need to demonstrate love or affection to their owners. In many cases, they are wrapped around legs, hands, or even necks.
  7. When they want to play: Moderate, soft, and backward-and-forth wag, if you carefully look when you are playing with your cat, you can see that tail swing.
  8. When they are in a state of concentration: When cats pay attention to something specific (like an enemy), they wag their tail. This movement comes from a ticking feel.
  9. When they are about to attack: Cats curve their backs and tremble their tails when planning the attack. If you see your cat applying this tail wag, be cautious.
  10. Hook-shaped tail: If you see this, feel free to enjoy and have fun with your cat. This tail shape means that your cat wants to interact with you or with other animals.

What Do Cats’ Tail Movements Mean?


Body language can mean a lot of things. Cats apply these movements when they want to communicate something, and they help us decipher what our cat is trying to say. For example, cats join tail wagging with moving other parts of their bodies to deliver a message, mainly emotions.

Paying attention to your cats’ moves supports you as a pet owner because it helps when you want to satisfy your cat, depending on what they want or need. In addition, it can help spot delicate situations like sickness and diseases.

Do Cats Wag Their Tails When Happy?

The tail wagging of cats is often confused with that of dogs when they feel excited, hyper, or even anxious. Cats can wag their tails if they feel happy, but they do not feel joyful every time they do it. Most of the time, when cats wag their tails, they are not expressing happiness.

Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails When You Talk To Them?

Cats do not understand our language, but they can identify our voice tones. When we talk to a cat, and they wag their tail, they show us that they are aware of us, happy, and feel protected around us. If they move the tail fast, they are delighted around us.

Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails When They Are Lying Down?

This movement means that your cat is experiencing pain. Sometimes, when cats move their tails when lying down, they want to communicate through their body language that they are going through some aches. Another sign of pain, sadness, or self-guarding is when cats fold their tails around their bodies.

Cats can hide their suffering remarkably well, so analyzing body language is a fantastic tool for veterinarians. If you see your cat doing one of these things and you are not sure if it is a pain issue, talk with a professional to identify if there is a problem or not.

Why Do Cats Love It When You Scrape Them At The Base Of Their Tail?


Cats go insane when you touch or scratch the base of their tails because it is a sensitive area; it has many nerves. Nevertheless, do not abuse when scraping a cat’s tail because it can feel good at first, but then it can hurt them or stimulate them too much. Please always be gentle with your cat.

Why Do Cats’ Tails Fluff Up?

When a cat’s tail fluffs up, they are protecting themselves from enemies, especially when they are scared. When the tail is fluffy, they seem more prominent, which they use to scare other animals. Sometimes, it also occurs when they are excited about something happening, like getting food or feeling happy and playful.

Why Does My Cat Like Its Tail Pulled?

If you can pull your cat’s tail without irritating or getting your cat mad, it means that your cat feels secure and confident around you. Your cat is letting you know that you share a good relationship and everything is fine. There is no profound answer to this; cats like it because it means closeness and trust. It’s okay to do this occasionally, but don’t overdo it. Your cat will probably get bored of this and will not find it fun anymore.

Another recommendation or suggestion is to be gentle with your cat’s tail. As we know, tails contain many nerve endings, which makes them a particularly sensitive body part. Pulling too hard can also cause an injury or pain that you do not want your cat to experience.


To conclude, now we know that it is crucial to pay attention to your cat’s body language. Every single way your cat moves their tail means something. Therefore, memorizing what you read in this article can help you get a better relationship with your cat because you will understand your pet even better.

Suppose you can identify what your cat is trying to say with its body language. In that case, you will give your feline companion space when necessary and know when you can offer cuddles and love. Your cat will appreciate when you respect them and will feel safe around you.