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Tail Wagging

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Okay, so I've read about the different tail wagging signals and what they all mean, but Cosmo's tail doesn't seem to match any of them.

He wags his tail A LOT. When we play, obviously it's the side-to-side swish that means he's in predatory-stalk-pounce mode.

But, most commonly, he might be laying on the floor near me. I'll talk to him and saying something like "watcha doing Cosmo" and he'll IMMEDIATELY start wagging his tail. Not side-to-side, but up and down, thumping on the floor. I can go over and pet him and he'll purr. He'll follow me where ever I go and plop down on the floor in the room I settle in. He'll watch me and the MINUTE I talk to him, there goes his tail again!

Personally, based on his body language and "mood" (from what it appears to me) it seems like a happy response. My mother, however, insists he's confused. LOL

These tail wags NEVER precede an attack. I can usually tell when he's mad or had enough by his ears and the side-to-side tail swishing. This up and down wagging/floor thumping is a much different mood.

What do you all think?
post #2 of 10
I think tail wagging is not all "predatory". It's also an invitation to play, a calculator to estimate the distance when jumping across a void , a greeting and in Cosmos' case a sign of bliss.
post #3 of 10
Originally Posted by yayi View Post
I think tail wagging is not all "predatory". It's also an invitation to play, a calculator to estimate the distance when jumping across a void , a greeting and in Cosmos' case a sign of bliss.
I agree with Yayi here....this is sheer bliss! It's really funny too because it sounds like a dog's tail the way you describe the thumping.

My older cat, Onyx has the same tail wag when he's angry as when he's happy. The only difference is the speed... Each cat is so unique, it's hard to put their wagging "in a box".
post #4 of 10
My Callie has done this for the longest time and I think it's a sign of love. They know that the person that's talking to them loves them and cares for them. Kinda like a dog wagging its tail, it's a sign of contentment, excitement, happiness, and being accepted. My husband is always surprised that Callie can be sound asleep yet when I start talking, the very tip of her tail will start twitching. She knows the sound of her meowmy's voice and it brings her comfort. She feels safe and secure and knows I won't hurt her. When she's a little stressed out, I know that when she starts the tail going, that she's calming down.

My Hannah, who's just 18 mos old is starting to do this as well and I think it's precious! She doesn't have it down quite like Callie does, but Callie's got a lot more years of practice on her!

post #5 of 10
I agree I think its a sign of bliss and from what you describe it sounds adorable. My Tavia has different tail wags for different things as well. But she is more vocal than anything about her moods.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! I'm so glad you all agree is happiness. Cosmo has been very bonded to me from the day we brought him home, and he follows me around the house. He likes to be where we as a family are, but he's most likely to follow me when the rest of us are off in our own corners. He knows his name and comes when I call him and it's the cutest thing to see him wag his tail the minute I start chatting with him. Of course, my husband thinks I'm completely insane
post #7 of 10
Ginger is also VERY expressive with her tail. Much more so than the other cats. She also has a happy "wag" that she does with her tail, and I think it's such an endearing thing.
post #8 of 10
Kittens for Dummies (perhaps I should get rid of this) says that a wagging tail side to side means you are bothering the cat. When motion escalates to thumping against the floor, look out and stop whatever you are doing to annoy it. By the way, one of the towns I drove through (Guanajuato) the other day has streets so narrow that cats can only wag their tails up and down.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey Persi,

Like I said, I've seen the "side-to-side you're bothering me" wag, but this wag I'm talking about is different. It's always in response to my voice and is more an up and down wag.... kind-of a circular thing really.

The other wag you're talking about I've seen and yup, he'll either bite or attack when in that mode. He's a good boy though, he never bites hard and he never puts his claws out when he swipes.
post #10 of 10
When Callie thumps her tail, it's a very leisurely kind of thing, and she's usually laying on her side resting her eyes. Or, I've just come home and she's flopped over on her side to show me her tummy and the tail is going! She's just so cute doing it!

Amy, just like you've said, Callie has always been very well bonded to me, even when she was a stray living on my back patio. Then, when I brought her inside to live forever, the connection intensified. She knows her name and she comes when called. She greets me at the door or she's waiting for me in the window when I get home from work. At night, she comes down and gets in her bed which is on the floor on my side of the bed. She stays there all night long. If she gets up during the night to go potty, she'll come back down the hall and jump up on the bed. She snuggles up beside my hip and sleeps very soundly and peacefully until the alarm clock goes off.

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