Why do Cats Wag Their Tales?

It's no secret that our kitty's are intelligent creatures, but did you know they're bilingual? Not only do they speak Meow, but their tails also have a language all of their own. These furry appendages hold the key to understanding your feline friend's emotions, intentions, and overall mood. So, let's embark on a tail-twitching journey to decipher the hidden messages behind those mesmerising tail movements.

The tail of the tale

A cat's tail is a multifunctional masterpiece, a remarkable extension of its body that serves as a communication tool, balance enhancer, and mood indicator. It's like their very own personal flag, waving messages to the world without a single meow. This flexible appendage is composed of numerous small bones, muscles, and nerves, allowing it to articulate in a myriad of ways. From the elegant curl of contentment to the lightning-fast thrash of warning, a cat's tail expresses their emotions, intentions, and even their physical state. Whether it's used for maintaining impeccable balance as they traverse narrow ledges, showcasing their mood through subtle movements, or adding an extra flair to their majestic presence, a cat's tail is truly a dynamic marvel of nature. 

Why do cats tails wag

What’s that wag all about?  

So now we know just how impressive our kitty's tails are, it's time to breakdown what each of those wags are all about. We've identified 6 main styles of wags, and what each of them means. Of course, all our kitty's are different, so does your kitty do any that we've missed out? Let us know.

1. The Tail Sway

Imagine this scene: your cat is lounging, eyes half-closed, purring softly, and its tail is doing a slow, rhythmic dance back and forth, occasionally tapping the ground. Well, that's a clear signal that your feline buddy is in the mood of joyous contentment. It's like they're swaying to their own purr-symphonies, letting you know that they're feeling safe, relaxed, and simply loving life. This is our kitty Boo's signature move after chowing down on our Calming Cat Treats.

2. The Tail Flick

If your cat's tail is low-slung and swaying from side to side with a deliberate flick every now and then, you've got a playful kitty on your hands. They’re feeling content and happy and in need of some fun!  Want to join the party? Toss them a toy or unveil the feather wand, and watch as your feline friend dives headfirst into a game of chase and pounce. 

3. Tail Twitching

Cats are masters of subtlety, and tail twitching is their cryptic code for a variety of emotions. If your cat is flicking its tail while keeping it low, it's a sign that something's brewing beneath the surface. It could be a hint of irritation, a plea for solitude, or even the captivating sight of a bird outside the window. However, if your cat approaches you with its tail held high and just a bit of quivering, consider it a joyful welcome dance—an indication that you're their favourite human on the planet.

4. The Tail Quiver

Picture your feline companion strolling towards you with their tail held high, and there's a tiny quiver at the tip. You've just received a VIP invitation to the Happiness Party! This is your cat's way of saying, "Hey, buddy, I'm thrilled to see you!" Coupled with gentle leg rubs, a meow that's almost like a secret greeting, and the soothing hum of purring, this tail quiver is your cat's ultimate seal of approval. 

5. The Tail Swish

Ever noticed your cat's tail swishing from side to side, with an intensity that's reminiscent of a rhythmic pendulum? Congratulations, you're about to witness a pounce in the making! This tail movement is a sneak peek into their hunting mindset. Watch for the frozen stillness of their body and the unblinking gaze fixed on their unsuspecting target—be it a toy, a sibling, or even that piece of lint daring to defy their territory.

6. The Tail Thrash

Hold on to your seats, because a cat with a thrashing tail is issuing a clear directive: "Back off!" It's like the ultimate warning sign that your feline friend is either angry or scared. Their body language complements the tail's frantic movements—ears flattened, growls or hisses escaping, body crouched low, and fur standing on end, creating the infamous "bottle brush tail" effect. This is a serious red flag, and if you've been petting your cat and suddenly notice their tail turning into a whirlwind, it's your cue to exit gracefully or risk a not-so-pleasant encounter.

Why do cats wag their tails

Going Beyond The Tail

When trying to determine how a cat is feeling, it's important to consider their other body language cues as well. While the tail may be a prominent indicator, it's just one piece of the feline communication puzzle. Pay attention to their ears, which can tell you whether they're relaxed or flattened in agitation. The position of their body—whether it's crouched low in anticipation or stretched out in comfort—offers valuable insights into their emotional state. Observe their eyes, as dilated pupils might signify excitement or fear, while slow blinking can convey trust and affection. The sounds they make, from content purring to warning hisses, provide an audible window into their feelings. Additionally, grooming behaviors and the way they interact with their environment, like kneading or scratching, can reveal their comfort level and mood. By holistically interpreting these diverse cues, you can unlock a deeper understanding of your feline friend's emotions and foster a stronger connection. 

Nervous Cat? Try Our Calming Cat Treats

If your kitty frequently wags their tale low to the ground, indicating that they're scared, why not give our Calming Cat Treats a try? We've carefully designed them with valerian and chamomile for the pawfect soothing treat. Here's why we think your feline with love them:

  • High in protein: Our cat treats are packed with 50% chicken, ensuring they're irresistable
  • All-Natural: We only use natural ingredients, making our cat treats healthy and guilt-free
  • Naturally Calming: We add chamomile and valerian root extract into our cat treats, renowned for their soothing effect
  • Gut-friendly: We add the prebiotic slippery elm into all our cat treats, helping with everything from gut health to hairballs.

Try our Cat Calming Treats today!


In the mysterious realm of feline behaviour, tails are like magical wands that convey emotions without words. Whether your cat's tail is swaying, flicking, twitching, quivering, swishing, or thrashing, remember that it's their way of speaking to you. Learning their tail language can deepen your connection with these graceful creatures, making you not only a cat owner but a cat whisperer in training. So, next time you catch a glimpse of that mesmerizing tail in action, know that you're witnessing a unique form of communication that only furthers the bond between you and your feline companion. 

Why you're here, why not read:

  1. Cat Tail Language Explained
  2. Why Does My Cat Lick Me?
  3. How to Keep your Cat Cool?

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