Our favorite feline friends express themselves in many different ways, including through the use of their tails. Most pet parents pay close attention to a happy or excited dog but are seldom aware of the posture and movement of their cat's tail.
Here are some of the most common tail behaviors and the underlying emotions behind them
Many anxious, nervous or stressed cats will hold their tail in a low position and flick it quickly back and forth. This is often referred to as angry tail and a pet owner or veterinarian should be on guard for any possible aggressive or defensive activity. If a cat is moving their tail slowly and not exhibiting the flicking motion then this cat is at a much calmer state.
Most of the time, when a cat is holding the tail in a straight, vertical position this is indicating curiosity and a playful mood. Cats chasing after laser pointers or playing with toys will often have their tails in a vertical position, showing their enjoyment and also helping them balance their movements. In contrast, if the tail is in the vertical position and the cat's back is arched with pinned back ears then this could demonstrate a feeling of being threatened and result in defensive or offensive behaviors.
Similar to a dog, a tucked tail often indicates submission or fear. Your cat is conveying upset feelings and should be left alone. This tucked tail appearance can also make a cat look smaller and less threatening to an aggressive cat.
Cats will often hook their tail around another cat's tail, owner's legs or other objects to show a friendly and affectionate nature. They are also trying to indicate whether they want to receive affection from their owners, be fed or have playtime.
Next time you are home with your feline companions take note on how they express themselves through their tail movements, their ears, body vocalization. You can start to better understand their needs and wants, in addition to what makes them uncomfortable or happy. Cats can surprise you with their array of emotions and varied expressions!