cat running

Cat owners generally know when their cat is hungry, restless or affectionate simply by recognizing and interpreting their vocalizations or body language. While cats can be quite specific about their needs, they can also be incredibly subtle. When it comes to fully understanding feline communication, taking a close look at your cat’s tail can go a long way.

Between the Felines

People usually cannot pick up the scent signals deposited by cats, but we can definitely observe their unique layers of body language and listen closely for variations of vocalizations. Without a doubt, cats can be pretty clear communicators, but that doesn’t mean we always know implicitly what they’re trying to say. 

Relationship Enhancer

When cats feel understood, they are much happier because their needs are met. Further, by knowing exactly what they’re “saying” with their tails, the bond between cats and their owners can be greatly enriched.

Straight Up 

If your cat’s tail is vertical, they’re feeling great, confident, and content. Their friendliness is usually paired with a head bop or weaving between your ankles. 

Similarly, a cat’s tail that is slightly curvy toward the top may signal a little doubt about what’s happening. Think of it like a question mark, an upright, slightly curved cat’s tail typically conveys an undecided posture. 

Twitchy Tails

Looking for proof that your cat loves you? When they see or approach their favorite person, a cat’s tail may seem to vibrate or shake a bit. Otherwise known as “twitchy tail”, an upright tail that buzzes a bit signifies true, absolute affection.

Beyond Twitchiness

A cat’s tail that flicks from side to side can mean many things. They may feel indifferent, even bored, toward what’s happening around them. They may also feel irritated or cranky. It’s possible they are simply alert in regards to their surroundings. Either way, give your cat a bit of a space bubble when you see this.


Keeping your cat happy may be a full-time endeavor, but it’s much easier when their desires for space are respected. Feline behavior may not always be cut and dry, but when we try to decode cat behaviors, we are giving cats the respect they deserve. This gives the relationships we have with cats more value, and increases quality of life.

The Meaning of a Cat’s Tail

If you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s behavior or body language, we encourage you to contact us. We’re here 7 days a week, and always have time for you at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital.