Cats are incredible for so many reasons. Take, for instance, their quiet, steady companionship. They use their eyes to slowly blink “I love you”, and purr to show how happy you make them.

 But just because they don’t wag their tail like a dog doesn’t mean cats don’t express themselves with this communicative appendage. Instead, they use their tail to speak volumes. By closely observing distinct feline behavior patterns, you can understand (and appreciate) your cat more than ever before.

The Forthcoming Feline

Despite their reputations for being self-sufficient and low maintenance, pet cats benefit from significant amounts of affection and attention. They know exactly what they want and how to get it.

We may see their tactics as subtle at first, but once you know what to look for, their strategies are unbelievably direct. 

All One

Every single cat is unique in their own way, and yet, all cats employ similar elements of feline behavior to protect themselves, guard against territorial invaders, hunt, and defend what belongs to them. A complex system of feline body language that includes spraying and scent marking helps toward these goals.

Tail Positioning

Chief among important markers of feline behavior is the all-telling tail. To understand more fully what your cat is thinking and feeling, always check the position of their tail and how it appears.

  • Straight Up – You likely know the look of a friendly cat. Their tail is always pointed straight up to signal openness and happiness. There are few greater invitations than a cat with a straight up tail. Pet me, it says!
  • The Opposite – Conversely, a tail positioned downwards indicates doubt, fear, or defensiveness. Watch how the tail hugs the back legs or tips toward the floor. The tail is taut and rigid, ready to aid in the act of aggression or self-defense. 
  • Tucked In – When a cat tail is tucked between the hind legs they are preparing to take a negative encounter to the next level. Accompanied hissing, yowling, puffed up fur, and pinned-back ears are common.
  • Curly – A tail that points skyward with a little curve at the top conveys playfulness and confidence. Get ready to play laser tag or mouse chase!
  • Stay-Puffed – Cats are able to make themselves look larger to enemies by puffing up their fur coats. Their tail may also look puffy and may even whip around like a weapon.

Affectionate Feline Behavior

Have you ever been sitting on the couch beneath your cat’s favorite spot? They likely use their tail to drape across your head or shoulders. In this way, cats use their tail to show affection. 

Likewise, one of the greatest examples of feline behavior is when they weave through your legs as you stand near them. Watch how they use their tail to deliver the sweetest message of adoration and appreciation. They may even shake or vibrate their tail when near you to show you are their number one human.

Tail Talisman

An important feature of feline behavior is their ability to mask any symptoms of illness or injury. Always watch your cat’s eating, drinking, and sleeping habits closely, and let us know if you see any changes. Your cat’s wellness and preventive care is our priority at Huntington Veterinary Hospital.