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tail wagging

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I keep reading that when a cat wags its tail that it is a sign of irratation or aggravation. Coco wags her tail when she is happy, just like a dog. She'll be laying next to me, purring away and whacking me with her tail!

Other people tell me their cats wag their tail when happy. Anybody else out there?
post #2 of 20
In Nikita I've found that wagging her tail while purring and being petted is a sign of slight irritation. I.e a sign that I'm petting her not quite in the right place or she's a bit hungry and thinking of getting up even though she's enjoying the attention.

One cat I knew started wagging her tail when you were petting her before she'd lash with her claws out to tell you to stop when she'd had enough so I tend to take wagging tails in cats seriously.

These are just two individual cats though and cats can vary a lot.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siggav View Post
In Nikita I've found that wagging her tail while purring and being petted is a sign of slight irritation. I.e a sign that I'm petting her not quite in the right place or she's a bit hungry and thinking of getting up even though she's enjoying the attention.

One cat I knew started wagging her tail when you were petting her before she'd lash with her claws out to tell you to stop when she'd had enough so I tend to take wagging tails in cats seriously.

These are just two individual cats though and cats can vary a lot.
I'm pretty sure Coco is happy when she wags her tail. I don't even have to be touching her. She come to me, curls up purring away and whacking me.

She also does it when she is in high spirits and looking for mischief.

I know cats will flick their tail when irratated. I just wonder how many other than Coco also do it when they are happy.
post #4 of 20
I think it depends on the speed of the wag. Vanna and Sampson are our tail waggers.

Nice and slow tends to be a... I'm calm, cool and collected.

Fast and twitchy though lets me know they are irritated with me about something and I will bite!
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Maybe I should be more careful when I think she is "happy".

If so, she sure is irratated a lot!!
post #6 of 20
Oliver's tail is ALWAYS wagging! More than my black lab and that's an accomplishment! haha When I lived in my apartment at school, I had bookshelves next to the window - the top one was purposely left empty for the Ollie monster... he'd sit on it and look out the window, tail hanging over the shelf wagging back and forth like one of those Felix the Cat wall clocks! When he sprawls on the floor to chill, he wags his tail, when he's sleeping, he wags his tail.... it does turn into a more fierce whip action when I know he's angry, so there are different degrees of it
post #7 of 20
In the last 3 weeks (new to cat ownership here, so it is JUST an observation) my adult cat will lightly wag her tail when I am holding and petting her and she is happy. When she wants to get down she has her "signs" and we just put her down. BUT when she plays with her baby (9 wks now) she will PURPOSELY flick her tail! And HARD, but she also knows that he is going to play with it, so that is why she does it! She will sit on the footboard of our bed (a 4" ledge) and brace her body and flick her tail for the baby to play with! So, as long as you read your cat and you KNOW when they want to get away, or are irritated and you don't bother them or you let them go, then I see tail wagging as a good thing! Like I said, I have had cats a whole 3 weeks, so who knows if I am right! lol
post #8 of 20
Just a few "bengal cat" tail associations:

Tail wagging (whole tail from base to tip): Pretty happy, enjoying what's going on.

Tail wagging (just the tip twitching, fast movement) Aggitated or very excited by something. Use caution.

Tail base puffed out, very expanded: Extremely happy. Pet profusely.

Tail completely puffed out like a raccoon( may be accompanied by pelt raised on back): Heightened state of excitement (good or bad) Proceed with caution.
post #9 of 20
Tail swishing can be simply a sign of energy. Like a cat stalking or playing--a happy cat, certainly--will twitch its tail. Sometimes the energy is sheer happiness--but other times it's irritation, annoyance, anger... You really have to look at the tempo of the tail and the rest of the body to gauge what your cat is thinking. Tiny is doing the same thing a lot when I pet him; he was a stray and he's not completely secure with me yet, so when I hold him, he's always a little on edge. Hopefully I'll be able to teach him that humans are OK, so he can learn to tolerate less sensitive handling. The average owner can't "speak fluent Cat", even though they love their cats; and they might read Tiny's no-claw paw-swipe warnings are something aggressive... rather than "back off, I'm overwhelmed right now". (People are hard-wired to relate to other humans, and sometimes they "read" their cats' body language as though it were human. But it's not, of course. A lot of people here seem to speak Cat pretty well, though!)
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Bengals View Post
Just a few "bengal cat" tail associations:

Tail wagging (whole tail from base to tip): Pretty happy, enjoying what's going on.
Yeah! That's it! And with Coco it's not a slow, leisurely wag. It's fast, like a dog.
post #11 of 20
Hi,
My cat Nacho wags his tail and runs towards me when he sees me outside the apartment.
Kunalen&Nacho
post #12 of 20
I love this thread!

Cats are definately individuals, each very unique! My cats are slow happy tail waggers and fast, twitching excited/aggravated tail waggers! Over time, if you pay attention and tune in, you'll learn your kitty's "tells," it's like playing poker!
post #13 of 20
Both of my cats wag their tails when they're happy. But they both wag them when they are upset too. The key is to notice the difference in wagging styles between happy and "buzz off"

With Abby I know she is getting upset when she is wagging her tail with a purpose and it has some force behind it. Also the speed she at which she wags it increases, and also more of the tail becomes involved instead of just the lower 1/2 or tip.

So pay attention. I'm sure you will notice that there is a difference between wagging styles that will tell you when your kitty is wagging because she's happy, and wagging because she's upset.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Bengals View Post
Just a few "bengal cat" tail associations:

Tail wagging (whole tail from base to tip): Pretty happy, enjoying what's going on.

Tail wagging (just the tip twitching, fast movement) Aggitated or very excited by something. Use caution.

Tail base puffed out, very expanded: Extremely happy. Pet profusely.

Tail completely puffed out like a raccoon( may be accompanied by pelt raised on back): Heightened state of excitement (good or bad) Proceed with caution.
Sherman, my kitten, puffs his tail out when he's really into playing with one of his toys or if Luna gets annoyed with him trying to play with her and swats at him. So, I'm not sure what this means.

Luna wags/twitches her tail when she's lying on the floor and I pet her. But, sometimes she plops herself next to me and meows if I don't pet her. Then when I do, she twitches her tail...I've experimented with this and there are times when she doesn't want be petted where she'll move my hand away with her paw and then open her mouth like she's saying that if i keep doing it she will bite me. But that and tail movement never happen at the same time...
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Last night Zara was behind the curtains that are across my sliding glass doors. Only her tail was visible on my side and it was just whipping back and forth like you wouldn't believe! This went on for several minutes so I looked out to see what had her so facinated. I couldn't see anything so I got down on my hands and knees to be at her level and looked where she was looking. There was a tiny little frog just on the other side of the door and Zara was just purring away at the same time her tail was whipping side to side.

I don't we are meant to understand cats.
post #16 of 20
I've posted the same about my cat Popsie. Sometimes when I'm petting him he'll kinda lazily flop his tail around. So it's hard to tell if he's contented or irritated.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmycat1 View Post
I've posted the same about my cat Popsie. Sometimes when I'm petting him he'll kinda lazily flop his tail around. So it's hard to tell if he's contented or irritated.
Yeah, I'm familiar with the lazy back and forth. That's usually a sign of cententment in my cats. With Coco it's more of an energetic swishing that's usually associated with being agitated but I'm sure she does it when she is happy.
post #18 of 20
My cat moves its tail around when she's excited or being pet. In conjunction with the purring, I can only assume it means she's happy.
post #19 of 20

We are owned by two wonderful Ocicats, the first is Saphira, a surprise Christmas gift from our daughters in 2011, about two at the time and being retired from breeding. Took us about two days to fall totally in love with her and the breed. Less than a year later we adopted a second girl, Viola, an eighteen month old overgrown kitten. Described by her breeder as "the sweetest cat I ever met", what he did NOT tell us was how totally playful she was, just an absolute little fireball. Ocis tend to bond strongly with their human, and she has decided she is daddy's girl, sometimes following me so closely I call her "shadow". She seems happy almost all the time, and often flies around the house at warp speed, and is always up for a game of fetch or catch. Most of the time when she is up and about, her tail is in constant motion. Not exactly a wag, more of a "swish". Her tail is even in motion much of the time when she is sitting down. By comparison, Saphira's "tail language" is much more "normal", she usually strides around the house, tail held high with a little curl at the tip. She and Saphira are the best behaved felines we have ever known, going back forty years and at least eighteen kitties. They are both absolute joys!

post #20 of 20

One of my cats pretty much never stops wagging his tail! I've learned to read into some of what it means. If there is a squirrel right by the window then he whooshes his tail back and forth quite fiercly - he's ready to pounce and frustrated that he can't chase it.

 

When he's bored he gets a bit miserable and will violently thrash his tail back and forth.

 

When he's mildly interested in something, his tail will gently swish back and forth in a steady rhythm.

 

I think his tail stops wagging while he's eating, and it definitely stops when he's sleeping. But other than that, it's almost non stop wagging

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