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What does it mean when my Kitty Cat Swishes her Tail?

The 12 Tail Signals a Cat Makes
By: Ming Toi & Mai Tai

The tail wagging of a cat in conflict is the most familiar, but there are other tail signals that indicate mood changes. Each movement tells us (and other cats) about the animal's emotional condition. Some of what follows may be of help:

  1. Tail curves gently down & then up again at the tip: This is a relaxed cat at peace with the world.

  2. Tail raised slightly & softly curved: Cat is getting interested in something.

  3. Tail held erect but with the tip tilted over: Cat is very interested & is in a friendly, greeting mood, with slight reservations.

  4. Tail fully erect with the tip stiffly vertical: Intense greeting with no reservations. For adult cats this is borrowed from the action of a kitten greeting its mother. The kitten's signal is an invitation to the mother cat to inspect its rear end.

  5. Tail lowered fully & possibly tucked between hind legs: Signal of defeat to totally submissive cat showing its lowly social status.

  6. Tail lowered & fluffed out: Cat is indicating active fear.

  7. Tail swished violently from side to side: This conflict signal of tail wagging is its most angry version. If the tail is swinging vigorously from side to side, it usually means that the cat is about to attack.

  8. Tail held still, but with tip twitching: This version of tail wagging shows only mild irritation. If the tip twitches become more powerful, then it is a clue that a swipe from a bad tempered paw is imminent.

  9. Tail held erect with its whole length quivered: Gentle quivering action often seen after a cat has been greeted by its owner. The same action is observed when urine spraying is taking place outdoors, but in this case no urine is produced. The gesture appears to have meaning of a "personal identification" as if saying "Yes, this is me!"

  10. Tail held to one side: Mating invitation of a female cat in heat. When she is ready to be mounted by the male, she conspicuously moves her tail to one side. When the tomcat sees this he knows he can mount without being attacked.

  11. Tail held straight & fully bristled: Signal of an aggressive cat.

  12. Tail arched & bristled: Signal of a defensive cat and one that may attack if provoked further. Bristling fur makes the cat look bigger and may deter the enemy if the defensive cat is lucky.

The above info was purr-fectly provided us by two of Alfred's good buddies, .....Ming Toi & Mai Tai.

Ming Toi  & Mai Tai


They are owned by a most gracious pet lady, Faith O'Heron. Faith is one of Dave's good friends and she & Dave are both very successful Field Representative for HealthyPetNet.

Here's Faith's web site

For more info on Cat Communications see:

Cat Communications

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