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What your cat’s tail can tell you

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Cats are majestic beasts. Every cat is special in its own unique way. As a cat owner, you probably already knew this. One of the characteristics that makes a cat special is their tail. If you pay close attention to a cat’s tail, you can notice a lot of different movements. Sometimes the tail is high in the air, other times it’s moving slowly from left to right and occasionally it is even gently sweeping up and down when your pet is purring in the couch. But what does this all mean? Let’s take a closer look at the most common tail movements.

Left to right

When you notice the tail of your cat is moving slowly from left to right, this indicates it is mildly annoyed. It can usually be seen when two cats are trying to intimidate each other. This makes them look bigger (or that’s what they are trying to do). Try to observe if you can see this behavior next time your cat has another confrontation with the neighbor cat.

Gently sweeping

A tail with a tip that is moving slowly, suggests your cat is happy. Usually, this can be seen when you are cuddling and petting them in the couch, when they are eating or for example when they are just relaxing and enjoying life.

However, if the sweeps start to get faster and you see the ears move as well, this probably means your cat has had enough for now and doesn’t want to be pet anymore. As you know, a cat is unpredictable and this can happen anytime!


My Purry Friends - Cat with long tail


High up in the air

When a cat is strolling around in house or in the garden with the tail high up in the air, it means they are expressing confidence and contentment. They are happy and usually willing to be friendly. Want to give them an extra pet? This is your shot!

Positioned straight down

If a cat’s tail is low to the ground, it means it’s time to watch out. This could indicate an aggressive cat when you come too close. Sometimes, they just want to be left alone. Maybe your purry friend is ready to cuddle again in fifteen minutes? However, there are some exceptions for certain breeds. Persians for example, have the habit to keep their tails low for no particular reason.

Tucked away

Just like with dogs or most animals, a tail that is tucked away or curved beneath the body, is a clear signal of fear or submission. Something might be scaring your cat or making it nervous. Comfort it as good as you can!


To conclude, the expression, direction and speed of a cat’s tail says a lot, but combine it with eyes, ears and body and you’ll be able to understand your purry friend a lot better. Stay tuned with our weekly blog posts, that’s for another time!


My Purry Friends

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