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Why Cats Wag Their Tails

by | March 18, 2020 | Pet Facts

Blue eyed kitten on the street

It’s common knowledge that dogs wag their tails when they’re happy, but many might not know that cats wagging tails is a thing too. You might be asking, “Do cats wag their tails?” Yes, they  wag their tails like dogs do, however, these frisky felines do so for entirely different reasons. From slight shimmies of the tail to full wags, cats put their tails in motion when they are feeling certain ways. So, when cats wag their tail what does it mean?

If you’re a longtime owner of a cat you rescued from a shelter or are an owner of new kittens, you may already know one or two reasons why cats wag their tails. However, did you know that your faithful pet may be wagging their tail for one of six different reasons?

The following article will highlight the different reasons and offer the answer to the question, “Why do cats wag their tails?”

Cats Wag Their Tails When They’re Feeling Confident

Domestic cat walks outdoors

If you see your friendly feline walking around with their tail held high and wagging a little at the top, your cat is probably feeling pretty confident strutting around the house. Not only will your cat be feeling confident as they go about their day, but this also lets other cats and their owner know they’re open for some pets and playtime. This is one of the reasons if you’re wondering why cats wag their tails. This also relates to when cats wag their tails when they’re happy.

Cats Wag Their Tails When They’re Feeling Scared

Brown and white colored cat outdoors

Another reason why your cat may be wagging their  tail is when they’re feeling scared. This type of tail wag is different from the prior one of confidence. When your cat is frightened, their tail will wag in a low position. The degree of fright can be determined by looking at the exact position of the tail. If it’s tucked between their legs, this means your cat is extremely scared and you shouldn’t approach your pet. Your cat won’t be combative but may be too scared to move.

If your kitten’s tail is straight up in the air and their back is arched with ears pushed back, your cat is scared but won’t hesitate to fight. This is when you should keep your distance from your pet and give them time to calm down.

Cats Wag Their Tails When They’re Excited

Red haired cat on stone fence

If your cat is feeling excited, you’re bound to see their tail wagging in a shaky motion. The tail will be upright and quiver from top to bottom. This is a good sign when you enter the room because it means your cat is happy to see you. However, it can also mean they’re in the midst of marking their territory, which would be on the bad side of the spectrum.

Cats Wag Their Tails When They’re Annoyed

White cat sits on wood

If your cat is wagging their tail back and forth continually while lying down or flicking it with little bursts of energy, it’s likely that they are expressing their annoyance. Maybe they don’t want to be bothered at the moment, or perhaps their territory is being invaded by pushy humans. No matter what their annoyance level is, if you see this tail movement, you’re best to move away and leave your cat alone for a while. At least until they are feeling more sociable.

Cats Wag Their Tails When They’re Hunting

Cat on the fence looks at the camera

When cats wag their tails it can mean your cat is on the prowl. You’ll notice that their tail waves back and forth in a mesmerizing way. After a few waves and a grasp of their footing, you’re bound to see them jump at their prey, whether it be in nature or a cat toy in your living room. This is also seen when they’re playing and about to pounce after a ball, stuffed catnip mouse, or another tempting object.

Cats Wag Their Tails When They’re Feeling Secure  

Three new born kittens

If you’re petting your cat and they acknowledge you by moving their tail a bit or your cat is wagging their tail while they are purring, they’re feeling secure. This is a good sign you’re free to keep petting your beloved cat and showing them that you care. Trust us. Your strong-willed feline will let you know when their “It’s okay, pet me” attitude turns to “No more petting time.” This is the true meaning when your cat is wagging their tail and purring. This will also answer the question as to why cats wag their tails while sleeping. Simply put, it’s because they’re feeling secure.

Cats Express Their Feelings in Many Ways, Especially Through Tail Wagging

Cuddly brown cat looks at the camera

Now that you know why cats wag their tails, you are better prepared to interact with your cat. You know when it’s okay to pet your cat and when it’s best to leave them be. This type of communication tool will help make your interactions with your loving pet even better. 

Another way to do what’s best for your cat is to ensure you have a pet insurance policy in place for whenever you need medical services for your active feline. Pet insurance helps with costs of medical treatments, from last minute treatment to scheduled wellness visits. This makes it possible for you to provide the best possible care for your four-legged family member.

Having access to a veterinarian also makes it possible to have all of your questions answered, ranging from inquiries as to what cat breeds act like dogs to questions regarding certain pet products, such as CBD oil for cats.

Prudent Pet offers many pet insurance policies so you can choose the plan that’s right for your pet and your family. Find out more about obtaining a pet insurance quote and make sure you have safeguards in place to protect your special furry family member.

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Diane

Diane loves all animals and has parented dogs, cats, pigs, goats, chickens, sheep, and four children over the years. She is currently owned by Lucy, a senior Chow who always wants to stay close to her people. Lucy is a retired guide dog who is happiest when a child is nearby.