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Kitty Tail Language

July 01, 2017

If we know one thing about cats, it’s that they are chock full of adorable quirk and characteristics. In fact, it can be hard to figure out what our feline pals are thinking or feeling. Fluffy can be very clear when she wants to be fed or petted, but at other times, she isn’t that forthright. Kitties actually communicate more through body language than vocalizations, so learning to interpret your pet’s movements can be very helpful. Read on as a Los Gatos, CA vet discusses kitty tail movements.

Happy Cat

When Fluffy is feeling cheerful, she may hold her tail straight up, with the tip curled over a bit. It may interest you to know that only domestic kitties hold their tails upright. Feral cats usually let their tails hang. No one is quite sure why this is: perhaps it’s a feline way of saying ‘I’ve been adopted!’

Feisty Furball

Fluffy may lash her tail from side to side if she is feeling agitated or frisky. You’ll need to look at the rest of your cat’s body language to determine which one it is. If your cat is hissing and/or her fur is poofed out, she’s probably not feeling particularly cuddly at the moment. However, if your pet has her gaze fixed on something, she may be about to pounce.

Excited Cat

Cats sometimes twitch their tails when they are feeling excited. If Fluffy just saw you reach for the cat food bag, or the spot where you keep her laser pointer, she may flick her tail in anticipation. If your pet’s fur is poofed out when she does this, however, she could be feeling nervous or even threatened.

Aggressive Cat

Sometimes when cats are being aggressive, they carry their tails straight up, in a rigid position. If Fluffy is holding her tail straight, but slightly lifted, it can also indicate anger or aggression.


If you talk to Fluffy when she is lounging about, she may flick the tip of her tail. This means your furry buddy is alert. (It’s also super cute, especially when coupled with a meow.)

Uncertain Kitty

If Fluffy lets her tail droop, or tucks it under her legs slightly, she may be feeling nervous or uncertain. This can also indicate submissive behavior.

Do you have questions or concerns about your cat’s health or care? Contact us, your Los Gatos, CA anytime!