Purring is not the only way to tell the mood of your kitty. In fact, you can tell more about a cat's demeanor by how he or she is holding her tail than almost any other way.
Learn the language of the tail, they can move fast or slow, they can lash or flick, or stand straight up, or even have a curve at the end. Every stance means something different.The Basics to Cat Tail LanguageA Tucked Tail
. When the tail is tucked under their body, they are feeling scared or nervous, and sometimes are cowering or crouching at the same time. Sometimes a cat is in this position when he is in pain, too.A Tapping Tail
. If the cat is tapping its tail, she is relaxed and peaceful, but also may be observing something. If the kitty is sleeping, some experts believe she may be dreaming.A Whipping Tail
. A sharply whipping tail shows he is a cat on alert, and the cat may be potentially aggressive or angry, so stay back. It shows he is a 'fraidy cat at the moment.Tail Straight Up With a Hook
. The calm cat with a tail that looks like a question mark behind him is trying to be friendly, and playful. This is a time to take a break and play with your kitty.Tail Straight Up High Tail
. That means your cat is confident and content. She is willing to be friendly, and a little twitch in the tail can reveal a happy moment.Tail Up and Puffed
. This is a stereotypical Halloween cat stance, with an arched back, and the cat is as scared as you are seeing him this way. He is trying to look bigger than he is, and trying to scare off danger.Tail that Wraps Around You
. A cat will wrap their tail around you or curve around a person they are bonded to and will intertwine their tail with someone they trust.Tail With Downward Curve and Low
. A downward tilt to the tail shows that the cat is defensive and may be uncomfortable. Certain breeds like Persians tend to carry their tail down for no particular reason, but otherwise, most cats will signal aggression with a tail position this way.Tail that's Swishing
. A tail that sways back and forth from side to side means your cat is focusing on something, and does not want to be disturbed. It could be hunting, or ready to pounce on something.
Cat Tail Signals and How to React
Tail Position: Held high, upright
Means: The cat is happy and content
For You: It's time to play and cuddle
Tail Position: Curled like a question mark
Means: The cat is friendly and welcoming
For You: Time for some serious petting
Tail Position: Straight down
Means: Cat is nervous, aggressive
For You: Back off, try to figure out what's upsetting him
Tail Position: Curled under the body
Means: Cat is submissive or nervous
For You: Wait for her to come to you
Tail Position: Puffed up
Means: Cat is frightened
For You: Leave him alone
Tail Position: Whipping back and forth
Means: Angry, afraid
For You: Don't try to interact, act casual
Tail position: Swaying side to side, twitching
Means: Cat is focusing on something
For You: Watch what he's doing, it will be a good show.
Do Cats Like Their Tail Pulled?
No, cats hate having their tails pulled, and it's possible an injury with the cat's tail could actually paralyze a cat. Cutting the connection of the tail to the rest of the body means that the brain can't send signals to the rest of the body and could cause permanent damage.
Cat tails hold nerves that can affect their control of urination and defecation and pulling on the tail can cause nerve damage.
So, pay attention to your cat's tail and listen to what it's telling you.