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what does tail shaking mean?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
My old cat never did this so I have no idea what it means... Maki shakes her tail like a rattlesnake pretty often. She does it often when we pet her but she does it as she's exploring the house too. Does seem to be a hunting thing... any ideas?
post #2 of 19
All I know is if she does it when her butt is backed up to a wall or other flat surfece it's bad news (spraying). Otherwise I'm cluseless. Could be hunting... but that doesn't make sense if she's doing it when you pet her too.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
mmm hadn't thought of spraying but I'm almost 100% that's not it (she's done it while standing on me.. I probably would've noticed if she was spraying! ).

I know when the "wag" their tail it's usually when they're prowling or on the hunt... but this shaking thing is new to me!
post #4 of 19
Reeses does this too. She first started doing it when she was in heat and I thought she was spraying but she wasn't. Then I thought it was the stress of being in heat, but she does it even after being spayed. Her tail is straight up the air and it "shivers". No idea what it means either.
post #5 of 19
The rattlesnake tail thing means excitement, and probably happiness. The cats I've seen do it do it when the owner comes home and they're being petted. Take it as a flattering sign.
post #6 of 19
Originally Posted by emmylou View Post
The rattlesnake tail thing means excitement, and probably happiness. The cats I've seen do it do it when the owner comes home and they're being petted. Take it as a flattering sign.
Sophie does this all the time
post #7 of 19
Yep I agree with the above, your cat is excited and happy to see you and be petted
post #8 of 19
Jaffa does it too. Your cat is just happy and excited to be petted by you
post #9 of 19
I am so happy that someone made a thread like this our blue does that and i was pretty sure that she wasnt spraying and it was so hard for me to explain what it was she does but u guys got it right down to the point and we were thinking she was spraying but she was spayed and there was never anything but it was when she got excited so i guess thats what it is, thanx everyone (and sorry for the thread hijack) at least I know its nothing bad
post #10 of 19
Villy does it too, and I didn't know why either, my soon to be DH thought it was a throwback from spraying, which 'touchwood' she doesn't do, but I'm not so sure! I think the fact that she's happy sounds more believable. She does it when she's cross as well though
post #11 of 19
I've not noticed Jaffa do this for a while (maybe I've just got so used to it I don't notice) but tonight when I was getting his tea ready I noticed he was doing it I'd only been in a few minutes and had spent that time greeting him so he was in happy, contented, pleased to see me mood
post #12 of 19
Sibohan shakes her tail when shes excited. When I get home from work she is skating her tail till I grab her, roll her over and rub her belly.
post #13 of 19
That is exactly what my new cat does and does it all the time. The trouble is that my established cat thinks this is the same as when I wag a feather over him to play. And since Alley, the new cat, seems to do this all the time, Persi is always trying to play with her tail. However, this is good news for me because I was so afraid they were not going to get along at all and I still think the tail shaking has something to do with the fact that she is still nervous about her new home.
post #14 of 19
Hey thanks from me too! I assumed that the tail shaking meant that Brady was about to spray, and here he was just being excited and happy (possibly nervous).
post #15 of 19

post #16 of 19
My girl Chloe does it when we get home, when we're talking to her, and when she wants attention. I like the grid of drawings posted above. I found another similar description here. It freaked me out when she first started to do it until I found that website. Now that I know what it means, it makes me smile.
post #17 of 19
Originally Posted by Sicycat View Post

Thank you for supplying this, I have it printed out and taped to my office wall, where I am sitting with my two cats in close proximity. I have studied the chart and can identify with all of these except the SUBMISSIVE one, I do not actually seem to remember seeing that exact position in my cats. My new cat however is always doing the latter, twitching, which Persi thinks is a feather teaser.
post #18 of 19
Sicycat I want to thank you too for that sketch. That is SO helpful! I did not realize it, but it seems that cats communicate so much through their tails!
post #19 of 19
No problem!!

Also here is the website it came from that explains in more detail.
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