Cats can be very mysterious animals. It’s difficult to tell what your cat is thinking; are they crawling up to you because they want to play, or are they demanding more food? Is your cat’s tail wag a friendly gesture of companionship, or is your cat mad at you?

While we can’t exactly communicate with our cat through meowing and purring, we can use indicators such as their tail to see exactly what it is they’re trying to tell us. In this article, we are looking at the cats behaviour from the tail-end.

Here are a handful of different cat tail positions and what they mean.

  • Tail swaying side to side: Don’t disturb me, I’m focused and could attack something soon.
  • Tail straight up and not moving: I am happy and comfortable, let’s be friends, I think you can stroke me.
  • Tail straight at an angle behind them: Hmm, I am interested. So kneel down and stretch your hand towards me so I can give it a sniff.
  • Tail between hind legs: I am worried, if at all only approach me slowly.
  • Tail slapping back and forth: I am upset, best to just leave me alone until my mood passes.
  • Tail is upright and vibrates: I like you very much, I’m so happy to see you, ooh is that a treat for me?
  • Tail is upright and bushy: I am mad, stay away from me otherwise I’ll attack you
  • Tail is horizontal and bushy: I am scared and don’t quite know what to do next, so please stay still and wait.
Cat's tail illustration

Tip: As a cat sitter you will meet a lot of different cats with different behaviours and characteristics. Understanding the cat’s tail movements, facial expressions and different meows is important to pave the way for great friendships.

Sometimes we do wonder if cat’s tails have a mind of their own though 😸