You can strengthen the bond you have with your pet by simply paying attention to its body language. And if you’re one of the approximately 38,900,000 households that have a cat, it’s important for you to learn a little body language. Cat lingo can be a bit tricky to figure out, but you can prevent misunderstandings by knowing how to decipher it. Here’s some cat tail communication, or what your cat is trying to tell you with its tail.

Thumping Or Lashing

If your cat’s tail is vigorously thrashing its tail back and forth, that’s your cue to back off. It means that your cat is highly upset and agitated and wants to be left alone. It’s definitely not the time for petting. You can try to neutralize the aggression by offering playtime or treats to see if that may spark a change in mood. If those tactics don’t work, just leave your pet alone for a while to calm themselves down.


The twitching of your cat’s tail can have a couple of meanings. In most cases, this can mean that your cat is heavily concentrating on something or a little upset. You’ll typically see this behavior when your cat sees a bird or squirrel outside the window. When your cat engages in hunting behavior, you may see tail twitches. It can also be a similar signal as thumping, telling you to back off a little.

Straight Up in the Air

When your cat is excited, you may see it come up to you with its tail high up in the air making quick tiny movements. This means that your cat is happy to see you and just wants to say hello. If you cat feels comfortable in your home and with the people in it, you’ll likely see this tail gesture pretty often. It’s is usually accompanied by meowing, face rubbing, and purring. When you see this behavior, you should feel comfortable greeting your cat with a warm welcome.

Lazy Flick

When your cat is relaxing, you may notice that its tail might flick every once in a while in a bit of a slow and lazy manner. You’ll typically see it happen when your cat is resting. Maybe your cat found a sunny patch on the floor or fell asleep on the coffee table. The tail movement will typically occur when you try to get your cat’s attention from this state. This movement means that your pet’s acknowledging you’re talking to it, but the decision is you’re going to be ignored. However, this lazy flick in cat tail communication means it’s also content and comfortable with your presence just to hang out and sleep.

Low to the Ground

The position of your cat’s tail can communicate plenty towards how your pet’s currently feeling. A tail low to the ground is a serious signal that your cat is upset and may get aggressive. A tail that’s tucked under or puffed up means that the cat is nervous or scared and trying to ward off danger. You may see this if there’s an unfamiliar person or animal outside of your home.

When considering your pet’s body language, keep in mind that the context of the situation also has a very important role to play. Try to look at the situation from your cat’s point of view. Learning the ins and outs of cat tail communication is important to developing a strong and trusting relationship together.

At Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center we are happy to provide a wide range of veterinary specialty and emergency services. It is important to have a “primary care” veterinarian to keep your new family member healthy and happy with routine vaccinations and health checks. But if you find yourself in the midst of a veterinary emergency, our team of experienced veterinarians is here to help. When it comes to visiting animal hospitals, we understand that the experience can be full of stress and worry, so we aim to make things as simple as possible. For more information, get in touch with one of our experts today.