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Why Do Cats Vibrate Their Tails? Understanding Your Cat

Why Do Cats Vibrate Their Tails? Understanding Your Cat

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Even though cats cannot talk, they’re highly skilled when it comes to communication. This is why every cat parent should pay attention to their cat’s body language in order to know what it is trying to tell you.

Usually, adult cats show their feelings through meowing, purring, hissing, and similar vocalizations, depending on how they feel. However, you would be surprised at how much you can learn about a cat’s behavior just by paying attention to its tail.

So, here’s everything you need to know about why cats vibrate their tails and what that means. Read on to learn more about your cat’s body language, and enjoy the pictures I made just for you!

8 Reasons Why Your Cat Vibrates Its Tail

illustration of silly cat

The tail is a very important part of the cat’s body. A cat’s tail serves to maintain balance, and it is also a means of communication.

Cats vibrate their tail in order to show you how they feel. Therefore, every cat owner should know what each tail movement means if he wants to understand his feline friend better.

This also depends on the individual cat. For example, some cats are calmer, while others are a bit wilder. So, to tell which type your cat is, then you should check out the following reasons why your cat has a vibrating tail.

#1 Your Kitty Is Happy To See You

illustration of cat vibrating with her tail

If you notice your cat’s tail up and vibrating, gracefully walking around you, it usually indicates something positive. This tail position represents a very friendly greeting from your cat.

Even though it’s thought to be the opposite, cats form a very strong bond with their owners. That means that they’ll usually be extremely happy when you come home to them.

When your kitty is happy to see you, it’ll probably want your attention. This behavior is usually followed by purring, gentle nibbles, licking, and your kitty will often follow you around everywhere.

So, this is very cute behavior where your kitty shows you its affection and how much it cares about you.

#2 Your Cat Is Showing You Affection

Similar to the previous reason, when your kitty wants to show affection, you’ll notice its tail twitching. This is also followed by sweet and gentle purrs, headbutts, and gentle nibbles.

In some cases, your kitty may also lick you to show you that they care about you. This behavior originates in kittenhood when a mother cat grooms its kittens to show them affection.

#3 Your Kitty Is About To Spray Something

illustration of cat stretching

Spraying is common behavior in cats. Both male cats and female cats can spray. When they perform this behavior, they release small amounts of urine on horizontal surfaces while standing. While they’re doing this, their tail usually vibrates like a rattlesnake.

So, why do they do this? Cats spray things for several reasons, such as:

• They’re marking the territory

• They’re stressed

• They feel threatened

• They have health problems

It’s very important to know that a cat’s vibrating tail may be followed by spraying behavior, because if you don’t, you’ll definitely know when the cat’s urine starts to smell. So by knowing what this tail position means, you can prevent spraying behavior from happening.

#4 Your Cat Wants To Play

Cats vibrate their tail when they’re excited. And when are they excited the most? Of course, when it’s time to play. 

So, if you notice your cat greeting you warmly, especially if it’s followed by gentle nibbles or chirpings, it’s usually a sign that your kitty wants to play and expects you to join in.

Still, you should be careful when telling apart the playful kitty and the stressed kitty. So, keep reading and see how a vibrating tail can also be a sign that your kitty is stressed.

#5 Your Kitty Is Stressed

illustration of cat playing with her tail

If you notice your cat’s tail quivering and swishing fast, that is an obvious sign of a stressed cat. Usually, the cat won’t calm down until it starts feeling safe again.

Common reasons for a cat’s anxiety include:

• Loud and unfamiliar noises

• Changes in their environment

• New cats or pets in your home

• Separation anxiety

• Unknown people

If you want to calm your feline friend down, then you should find the main cause of its stress and find a way to reduce these potential stressors.

#6 Your Cat is Angry

Believe it or not, there are cats who can be angry most of the time. These types of cats usually don’t like too much attention or affection but rather choose to enjoy themselves.

My grandma has a cat that’s angry and irritated all the time. She’s completely healthy but doesn’t enjoy too much attention. Very rarely does she come to greet you, and if she doesn’t come to you first, it’s better to ignore her.

A cat’s tail shakes most of the time when it’s angry and irritated. You should be careful if your cat’s behaving like that because this is usually followed by hissing, attacking, loud meowing, and similar signs that mean your kitty is irritated.

When you notice these signs, it means that your kitty is angry, and I suggest you ignore it and leave it alone until it calms down.

#7 Your Kitty Is Hungry

illustration of cat back

Another reason for your cat’s tail twitching may be that your cat is just hungry. However, your kitty may come to you with her whole tail vibrating for two main reasons:

• It’s happy to see you because you’re going to feed it

• It’s very hungry, so your kitty is very impatient

As soon as you pour the cat food into the food bowl, your kitty will calm down and enjoy its meal. My cat usually meows loudly while waiting for its meal, so maybe you should pay attention to that behavior too.

#8 Your Cat Has Health Problems

Sometimes when your cat vibrates its tail, it may be a sign that your kitty is in pain due to certain health problems.

This behavior is very rarely a sign of a health condition; however, it’s better to take a closer look at your cat, just in case.

So, here’s what you need to pay attention to if you suspect that your cat’s tail shaking is due to pain:

• Loss of appetite

• Weight loss

• Weight gain

• Joint problems

• Frequent mood changes

• Cat’s body twitching

It’s crucial to recognize these signs as they can help your vet diagnose more severe health issues that your cat may be suffering from.

Signs That Usually Follow This Behavior

illustration of kitty with her tail up

• Following you everywhere around – if your kitty follows your every step with its vibrating tail, it’s usually showing you love and affection, or it wants your attention. So, your kitty may also be waiting for you in front of the door or similar as a sign that it wants to be with you.

• Staring – a cat’s eyes can also tell you a lot about your cat’s feelings. So, if your kitty is staring at you, don’t worry. It’s normally a sign of affection, especially if it blinks slowly. However, intensive staring may signify that your kitty is ready for attack.

• Ear position – this is important as well. So, if your cat vibrates its tail with its ears up, they’re in a friendly mood. However, if cats flatten their ears, it’s a common sign that your kitty is angry and stressed and that you should leave it alone.

Straight up tail – if your cat’s tail is positioned straight up and vibrates, it’s a sign that your kitty comes to you in a friendly manner and that it’s happy for some reason.

Fluff tail – when cats vibrate their fluffed tails, it’s a warning sign to leave the cat alone. Cats usually fluff their tails when they’re extremely angry and stressed to warn you or to appear bigger than they are in front of predators.

How To Stop Your Cat From Vibrating Its Tail?

illustration of cute cat in a cup

As you can see, there are many different reasons for cats vibrating their tails. So, if you want to stop that, first, you should identify the cause of the cat’s behavior.

If your kitty wants your attention or to play with you, you should fulfill your cat’s wishes. On the contrary, if the cause is stress or anxiety, then you should find out what stresses your cat and try to reduce those stressors to calm your cat. 

Also, if your cat seems to be angry, it’s always better to leave it alone and ignore it rather than risk an attack or an injury.

Final Words

If you are wondering why is my cat’s tail vibrating, you should know that there are several possible reasons for this cat’s behavior.

Cats cannot talk; however, there are a lot of different ways we can read cats’ emotions. One of these ways includes their tail movements.

If the cats vibrate their tails and if it’s up, it’s usually a sign that they’re happy, excited, playful, or just happy to see you.

Still, this may also point to other cat’s moods. For example, if the cat’s tail is fluffed and vibrating, it’s usually a sign that your kitty is anxious and stressed. 

In that case, you should either find out what is stressing the cat or ignore it if you wish to escape attack and possible injuries.

It’s very interesting how cats communicate with us in many different ways, and our job as cat owners is to learn how cats function if we want to understand them and make them happy!

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