Cats

8 cat tail characters – decoded

A cat’s tail is an amazing and beautiful thing. Not only is it an anatomical marvel, but it’s also an excellent tool for cats to display themselves. Even the dullest of people can, with a little bit of observation, learn the secrets of this behavior – “cat tail talk,” if you will – and your cat will love you even more if you can interpret their special sign language. Here are the facts behind some of my favorite cat tail signs, and what they mean.

Two cats with their tails in the air. Photography courtesy JaneA Kelley.

1. In the air

When Sinéad and Siouxsie were kittens, they came running towards me with their tails held high as soon as I opened my apartment door. This was quickly followed by purring and purring on my shoes. Nothing says, “OMG, I love you so much and I’m so happy to see you!” just like high-tailed kittens. It is a sign that needs little translation.

A girl sits on a bench and pats a cat.

Photography by Mimagephotographie / Shutterstock.

2. Question mark cat’s tail

A cat that comes up to you with an erect tail and a tiny hook on the end says, “I’m friendly and just a tiny bit cautious and curious. Can I come to you? “I’ve seen this happen many times in my shelter cats, and my own roommates do this when guests come over. As soon as you say something like ‘hello darling’ and hold out your hand, your tail will stretch and you’ll be greeted with nuts and love .

A woman at her computer hugging a cat.

When your cat’s tail is twitching, it’s time to take a break from pets, cuddling, and other affections. Photography © cyano66 | Thinkstock.

3. The tip twitches

If you stroke your cat and see the tip of its tail twitch a little, it is an early sign that your cat is becoming overexcited and you should withdraw. If you see the tip twitch, consider this polite plea.

A gray and white cat with its tail raised.

The single tail flip is a cheeky mark. Photography © GlobalP | Thinkstock.

4. The single flip

When I berate Bella for stepping on the counter while I was preparing her meal, she hops on the floor and gives a single twitch of her whole tail. I interpret this as the cat-tail language equivalent of a teen’s wise comment, and I respond with, “Don’t tug your tail at me young lady!”

A hairless cat with a curled tail.

A cat with a curled tail. Photography by Dan Kosmayer / Shutterstock.

5. The cat’s tail hug

When Thomas gets into my lap while I’m at the computer, he’ll either lie over my arm or cuddle and wrap his cock around my wrist. I call this a “tail hug” and I melt every time it happens.

A scared or surprised cat with a arched back and big eyes.

Cats who are scared or frightened may get the exclamation mark. Photography © PeopleImages | DigitalVision / Getty.

6. Exclamation point cat’s tail

When Bella is startled, she jumps backwards and her tail immediately goes straight up and all the fur comes to an end. This is their equivalent to “Eek!” To them it doesn’t seem to mean “I’m scared” as much as “You shocked me as hell … and I kind of liked it!” When I see her in exclamation point tail mode, I gently stroke the tail and tell her, “Oh Bella, what are you all fat tails for?” Then it’s time for scratches around the neck and ears as it slowly loosens.

7. Cat tail trailer

Thomas absolutely loves playing with Bella Tail Tag. He moves his cock back and forth as he looks at Bella with wide eyes. Bella gets excited and starts slapping his cock. Here is a video of a tail tag game in action.

A cat that goes hunting.

A hunting cat stretches its tail right behind it. Photography by LeniKovaleva / Shutterstock.

8. Hunting tail

When my cats chase rodents or their favorite interactive toys, they crouch down with their tails outstretched. The end of their cocks just twitches a little, as if it is the only way to drain some of the adrenaline that is flowing through their bodies.

Tell us: What are your favorite phrases? Share them in the comments. Bonus points if you have photos or videos of the tail talk in action.

This piece was originally released in 2017.

Thumbnail: Photography © GlobalP | Thinkstock.

Read On: 6 Cat Meow Sounds And What They Mean

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