cat on bed

People communicate non-verbally all the time, but it’s rare for us to consciously calculate what all those shrugs, tics, eye movements, and postures mean. Add various levels of verbal communications to the mix and there’s no end to the possible misunderstandings that potentially arise between us. 

What if things could be simplified by a single part of the body? Taking inspiration from fluffy feline tails, for instance, we can learn so much about what’s really going on. Indeed, cat tails tell stories about how felines feel, what they need, and how we can impact their moods. 

Read Between the Lines

Of course, cats are pretty good at communicating with their human guardians. Even a small meow can employ lots of different pitches, intonations, and inflections. Over time, cat owners know exactly what type of meow their cat just offered up, and it’s special design to get the result they want.

Even More So

Beyond their endearing meows, chirps, chatters, and yowls, cats have unique ways of imparting the ways they feel about things. For example, they way their eyes and ears appear to us can be excellent barometers of mood. In other words, you can figure out pretty quickly if your cat is content, upset, hungry, or affectionate just by observing their appearance.

Above & Beyond

Cat tails do all this and more. In fact, you may have noticed certain movements and attitudes that mean the following:

  • Straight up – When your cat is feeling happy-go-lucky, confident, and strong you’ll see a vertical up and down cat tail. Scratch the base of it alongside their back and watch that tail go!
  • Quiver – Some cat tails may vibrate when their owner is in close proximity. This means they have so much love for that person, it’s simply buzzing out through their tail. Be sure to reward them for this display of affection with lots of praise, head scratching or snuggle-action.
  • What about me? – Cats can use their tails like hands, in a way. Watch as your cat drapes their tail on you or acoss you while snuggling. You are adored (lucky you!).
  • Up & Curved – Like a question mark, these cat tails are also vertical but with a little curve at the top to indicate inquisitiveness or readiness to play. When you see the “up & curved”, throw them a toy or shine their laser pointer for chase-time!
  • Yikes! – Beware the cat tails that are low to the ground and swishing or whipping sideways. These tails indicate stress or negative emotions.
  • Puffy – Look out: these cat tails are trying to ward off threats by appearing larger. You may also see flicking cat tails with with hissing and stare-downs.
  • Tucked – If you’ve tried to walk your cat with a leash and harness, they may have tucked their tail between their back legs. This means that they feel insecure, doubtful, scared, or anxious, but can also be a show of submission to peers.

Cat Tails and Their Meanings

When you take the time to understand you rcat, they better you can provide for them. Showing a daily interest in their feelings and moods goes a long way toward conveying respect and earning trust.

Without a doubt, feline behaviors can be complex. When brought into the light, we can all appreciate cat tails and what they mean a bit better. If you have further questions about cat tails, please let our doctors and staff know. We’re always here for you at Kings Trail Animal Hospital.