As surprising as it may seem to some people, cat’s tail wags have different meanings. Cats wag their tails in 4 different ways and each of them has a meaning. Pay close attention to your cat’s tail, because with every move your cat’s trying to tell you something.
I remember the first time I noticed a cat wagging its tail, left and right. I thought it was because she was spending so much time with our family dog. However, all cats do it.
Here’s the meaning of four different cat tail wags that will help you understand your feline friend even better.
1. The Windshield Wiper
I believe every cat owner immediately knows which tail wag I’m referring to; that fast swish from one side to the other. Your cat might do it once, or repeatedly from left to right. This is a sign that they want some privacy or are irritated with something.
However, there can be some exceptions. For example, when playing, cats might wag their tails this way before they pounce on their “prey”. So don’t try to pet your cat right away, but rather pay attention to its body language.
I’m speaking from experience, don’t go in with your hand if you don’t want to be scratched!
2. The Sleepy Wag
Now the sleepy tail wag is exactly what it sounds like. Your cat’s not completely asleep, so you’ll notice its tail move, but it won’t answer you either. It’s your cat’s way of letting you know that it heard you calling but won’t make an effort to respond.
Your cat is simply choosing to nap and chill instead of rushing toward you when you call it. Unless it’s meal time, then these sneaky little rascals will rush to their food bowl and give you all their attention.
I hate it when this happens. When I’m their food provider, then it’s all fun and games, but when I need some cuddle time, they choose to ignore me. Ugh… but let’s look at the bright side.
This also means that your cat is relaxed and content and that it feels safe enough not to be startled or woken up when you enter the room.
3. The Twitching Tail
Cats often twitch their tails. Most often it happens while they’re watching squirrels or birds through the window.
A cat concentrates so much that its tail starts to twitch, i.e. vibrate in a way. It’s a little different than “windshield wiper” movements, but it might appear the same at first.
Besides your cat’s tail movement, you’ll see its facial expression and eyes, so you’ll know whether it is concentrating or angry. However, both “the windshield wiper” and the twitching tail let you know that it’s not time for cuddling.
4. The Quivering Tail
This movement is small and fast, it’s almost not a wag at all. Usually, only the tip of your cat’s tail will quiver and it will have its tail in an upright position. This often happens when your cat is happy to see you or when it’s feeding time.
Your cat’s tail will go up and the tip of it will quiver, similarly to the tip of a rattlesnake’s tail. Now, this is the time to pet and snuggle your beloved feline friend. They’ll most probably rub against you as well as purr when this tail wag occurs.
Have a look at this; this affectionate cat’s tail quivered so much it crashed the UK Parliament session hahaha.
The Bottom Line Is…
Your cat will show different types of behavior, which includes different tail wags. It’s always good to learn about all of it, so you know how to treat your kitty in the best way possible. Your cat will communicate with you, you just have to realize it and do your best to understand it.
You might also be interested in reading Why Do Cats Chase Their Tails? What Does It Mean?