6 Tail Movements That Reveal Exactly How Your Cat Feels

by Phil Mutz
Phil is an Editor at LittleThings. He loves writing and the outdoors. You can often find him at the movies or the park.

Part of our responsibility as pet owners is paying attention to our animals’ health needs.

When it comes to taking care of my cat, I am constantly keeping an eye out for symptoms that might indicate something is amiss.

But beyond looking out for her physical well-being, it is important for me to monitor her emotional well-being too.

While she can’t verbally tell me how she is feeling at any given moment, there are clues that she is sending me that can let me know her current state of mind. And those clues may just be coming from her tail!

This incredible list comes from Animalive, who spoke with experts on feline behavior. They report that you can tell exactly how your cat is feeling based on the movements of his or her tail.

And as a pet owner, I can definitely recognize most — if not all — of these tail movements. I just had no idea this was my cat’s way of revealing her emotional state.

Scroll through below to see what your cat’s tail movements say about how they feel. This may finally be a way to become closer with, and better understand, our amazing feline friends.

How Does Your Cat Wave Its Tail?

How Does Your Cat Wave Its Tail?

As pet owners, we like to think we truly understand our feline friends. But the real key to unlocking their inner emotions may just lay in each and every flick of their tail.

Which of the tail movements below have you observed in your cat?

1. The Straight Deal

1. The Straight Deal

“I feel happy!”

If your cat sticks their tail straight up in the air, it shows that they are a happy cat.

They feel comfortable, confident, and in control of the space around them.

2. The Mountain

2. The Mountain

“I feel tense!”

If your cat forms their tail into the shape of a mountain, it is a sign that there is tension in the air.

They may be feeling that a fight is about to occur, or they may simply be warning anyone nearby to keep their distance.

3. The Leg Sandwich

3. The Leg Sandwich

“I feel sad!”

A tail between the legs is a signal that your cat may be feeling down in the dumps.

This negativity may take the form of sadness, depression, anxiety, or even panic. Calming them or reassuring them is key to pulling them out of their funk.

4. The Windshield Wiper

4. The Windshield Wiper

“I feel confident!”

When your cat keeps swinging their tail back and forth from left to right, it means they are feeling particularly confident.

This is their way of strutting their stuff and telling the world that this is their territory.

5. The Shake

5. The Shake

“I feel mad!”

A very quick shaking of the tail might indicate that your cat is not in the best of moods.

This is probably a good time to give your cat space, in case they are on the verge of lashing out with a claw.

6. The Snuggler

6. The Snuggler

“I feel scared!”

If you are holding your cat and they are bringing their tail up towards their body, they are likely feeling nervous.

The belly is a very vulnerable place, so they want to protect it in any way they can. You can better “protect” them from their fear by repositioning them in your arms.

Paying attention to your cat’s tail can give you quite a lot of insight into how they are feeling!

For more on feline emotions, visit Animalive. And for more of these inspired cartoons, visit artist Natsumi Inoue’s website.

Which of these tail movements does your cat do? Does your cat do anything else to let you know how they feel? Let us know in the comments.

Please SHARE this exclusive look at tail movements with any cat owners or cat lovers in your life!