Why Does a Cat Wiggle Its Tail?

A cat's tail can speak volumes about her current mood.
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When you're analyzing your cat's often mysterious body language, you may be inclined to examine her eyes and ears closely when looking for clues. However, a cat's tail, unassuming as it may seem, often can communicate a world of information about how your sweet pet is presently feeling. Pay attention to it.


If you notice your cat's tail wiggling very minimally in back and forth motions, it could mean that she's feeling rather pensive at the moment. Maybe she's reflecting on her next move. Perhaps she's not sure whether to jump in your lap for a quick cuddle session or to trudge over to the living room for a relaxing and leisurely afternoon nap. Oh, to have the hard life of a house cat!


A rapidly and almost violently wiggling tail can mean that a cat is feeling, simply put, belligerent about something. Watch out, world! Maybe a new kitten you just adopted is encroaching on your older cat's territory and he doesn't like it one bit. Monitor the speed of your cat's wiggling tail. Greater speed could mean an increasingly angry cat. In these situations, for purposes of safety, leave this kitty alone and allow her some much-needed downtime to cool off. Furious cats usually aren't shy about exposing -- and using -- their teeth and claws.


A cat's tail making very subtle trembling motions while pointing upward typically is a sign that the fluff ball presently is feeling really, really good about something. Perhaps you were away on a work trip for one week and your kitty simply is delighted to have you back. Maybe it's dinnertime and your cat sees you opening up her favorite can of chicken and cheese. Whatever the cause may be, this type of tail movement usually signifies a very pleased little feline.

"Leave Me Alone"

A very light wiggling or almost twitching of the tail also can mean that a cat just wants to be left alone for the time being, plain and simple. The cutie just isn't in the mood to have any interaction. If you attempt to pet your cat only to be "greeted" by a twitching tail, try again later. She just isn't interested right now, but that doesn't mean she won't be later, so don't feel insulted. Felines, as much as we adore them, sometimes are very moody creatures.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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