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Cats and their tails

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've got a question.

My two cats are as different as can be. The little girl is dainty and quiet. the boy is bold, strong and assertive.

What I don't know is what it means when he wags his tail. he REALLY wags that sucker a lot. Here are a couple examples of what I don't understand.

I like to pick him up, let him sit on my forearm and lean against my chest then just walk around the condo. Going to all rooms, just wandering around. he seems to like it. he doesn't try jumping out, and sometimes lays down as we go. But he wags his tail. not so much like a dog, but he'll wag it out then sort of slap my back with it. It almost seems like he's telling me he's enjoying himself but I'm not sure.

Also, he LOVES to jump into my arms and pass out. sometimes he'll look completely asleep, but he'll wag his tail slowly back and forth.

I read that cats wagging their tails means they're anxious or uneasy and I just don't think that's the case here. Am I wrong?
post #2 of 10
Cats differ a lot. Usually, the more vigorously a cat wags its tail, the more annoyed they are. But we have one, Sterling, who even while he's half asleep and purring thumps his tail vigorously on the bed, or whatever. I posted the video of him just sitting on the bench while Ella plays with it; he has the "angriest" tail I've ever seen.

Gentle movement usually just means the cat is not asleep. The more active the cat is, such as in playing, the more likely it is to be moving. Some cats move around the tail mainly held straight out behind them. But Punkin always seems to indicate his next turn by which side he moves his tail to.

Cats are much more individualistic than those unacquainted with them would ever guess.
post #3 of 10
Mine always wags his tail, even when he's happy and content. I could never go by his tail to check what emotions he is having.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one here.

Thanks guys and gals!
post #5 of 10
One of my shelter cats had what I called a windshield-wiper tail when I would pet her and she was enjoying it. Her tail would go flip-flip... pause... flip-flip... pause... etc. yOu get the idea. Sometimes cats tails quiver when their happy... straight up while they're running at you means they are glad to see you. down and droopy with that little curve/bend means they are relaxed.

I'm going to see if I can find the article on the net that helps define cat tail meanings.

post #6 of 10
My brother's cat is like that...Dad even nicknamed him "Thumper" because he is always thumping his tail, even when he's about to fall asleep on the couch. I think some cats do just like to wag their tales more like dogs do...but for others it is a sign of agitation or annoyance. You just have to know your own cat to tell the difference!
post #7 of 10
Pixel & Chip are tail waggers... Chip will wag his while purring on my lap. Pixel wags hers gently when i speak to her.
post #8 of 10
Zane's lashing his tail mean's he's getting worked up. It is a sign that I should stop petting him if I don't want to get bitten. When he's asleep, though, and you say his name--ZANE--the tail will flip.

Smog, one of his predicessors, was a DLH with a magnficent plume, and it was always moving. Even when he was sound asleep, the very tip would move.

How does a Manx manage? Most cats use their tails to express themselves so much, I can't imagine how a cat without one would communicate; it would be like a human being with a severe lisp or a stammer.
post #9 of 10
I swear, Jinx's tail never stops moving.

He'll be purring and licking me and that sucker is wagging, he'll be ready to pounce on the dog and it's wagging, he'll be nearly conked out on the couch and it's wagging, if he's just sitting there it's wagging... you get the point.

I could never use his tail to gauge his emotions, because he apparently does it no matter what he's feeling.
post #10 of 10
I have two that do a lot of tippy-tailing. The tip twitters a bit even when they are just resting. I always wondered what that was about. Otherwise one has very boxy movements of the tail, like he bends the tail midways and just wags it from there to the tip on. It's kind of funny. He is also very 'manly' with the movements, sharp and angular, when the other cats are more wavy and undulating with their tails in general.
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