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How to Understand What a Cat Is Saying With Its Tail

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Those who like felines but have not had the opportunity to care for them may mistake their body language for disinterest or anger. On the other hand, those who have owned cats find it easier to decipher them just by observing the movement and position of their tails.

5-Minute Crafts wants to show you a quick and easy guide to interpreting these visual cues that most cat owners recognize.

1. Straight and raised

  • If the position of its tail is straight up, the cat is trying to greet you in a friendly manner. However, if this small feline walks through its territory with its tail in this particular position, we can be sure that they are also feeling confident and happy.
  • If it approaches you with its tip slightly bent and rubs against your legs, it wants to show you that it is very happy to see you.

2. Curved like a question mark

  • This position usually indicates that they are relaxed, want attention, or desire affection.
  • You can offer them the palm of your hand to sniff. If they are affectionate, pet them.

3. High and with a vibrating movement

  • If the kitty has its tail up and you notice that it’s vibrating slightly, it means that the cat is really happy to see you and to have you around. This is usually a sign of love and affection for their favorite human.
  • However, a feline with the same pose and vibration in their tail could also indicate that they are about to mark their territory with urine to ward off other cats or attract females.

4. On the ground with agitated movements

  • If you notice that the cat has its tail on the ground and is wagging it from side to side, it means that it is irritated. At the same time, if you look at their face, you can tell that their expression is not friendly.
  • The more the cat wiggles its tail, the angrier it’s getting. In this situation, it is recommended to move away from the kitty and leave it alone until it calms down. If you don’t, it could bite or scratch you.

5. Bristled

  • When you notice that a feline’s tail is arched and fluffy, they are upset and uneasy. If you approach it, it may move away or become defensive. It’s better to just leave it alone.
  • A tail that looks like a broom, raised and bristling, indicates a very angry and anxious cat. They do this because they feel threatened and want to appear bigger than they really are.

6. Wrapped around their body

  • A cat with its tail curled under its body means it’s relaxed or submissive. Or it also tells you that something is making them nervous and that’s why they are opting for this position. They usually do this to create a kind of barrier.
  • If you find a kitty curled up in a ball with its tail tucked tightly to its body, you can interpret that it needs to feel protected and is also looking to conserve its body temperature.

Bonus: Why cats play with their tails

  • When the young ones are small and still under their mother’s care, they find it entertaining to chase or play with their mother’s tail. However, with her tail, she is teaching them to learn to hunt for their prey from an early age.
  • Young and adult cats find it fun to play with their own tails when they are bored, thus distracting themselves and keeping themselves active.
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