A Cat's Tail Is Puffy, Straight and Shivers

She's expressing happiness, interest or excitement with her tail.
i David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

Your big-eyed kitty is happily running along, batting a jingle-ball through the living room when she suddenly stops. You may see her ears perk forward and her tail go straight into the air while it quivers and becomes very puffy. Her tail is communicating her emotions.

Your Cat’s Body Language

Sure, your little kitty-gal communicates with her voice! You hear this bright and early as you hope for just a few minutes of additional sleep, but no! She wants you up and she wants food in her bowl -- NOW.

Just like her human, she is also very skilled at expressing her thoughts and feelings through her body language. She can move her ears, give you cat-love with her slow eye blinks and tell others how she’s feeling just by the positioning and size of her tail. She doesn’t have to tell you just how smart she is. But she does expect you to figure this out.

Your Cat’s Emotions

Your feline feels interest, happiness, fear anger, contentment and love. She won’t say so in so many words, but she will express them. As her human, you’ll get along much better with her once you’ve learned what she is saying with her body, tail, ears and eyes.

Let’s put it this way: You’ll have a much more loving and beneficial relationship with your kitty when you understand what she’s telling you. If she’s a ticked-off little girl and you want to avoid painful scratches from those sharp claws, then knowing the signals for “I’m angry” are definitely worth knowing. It’s just the same with her non-verbal expression of, “Oooh! I like this!”

Straight, Puffy and Quivering

If your girl is the alpha kitty in your house, she’ll use her tail to express this knowledge. She’ll usually keep her tail pointed skyward as she walks through the rooms of your house. She’s also telling you, “Human, all’s right with my world. You can proceed, after you give me some nom-noms.”

Take a quivering tail in one of two contexts. When you combine the quiver with the straight-up-in-the air position, your little girl is feeling very affectionate. If she rubs her body against you, you’re the object of her affection, so lap it up, human! If you’re stroking her back and she’s standing her tail will quiver in pleasure. On the other hand, a quivering tail without the other indicators may mean she’s about to spray.

A puffy tail doesn’t have to mean an angry kitty. When you combine it with the straight-up position and quivering motion, she’s interested in what’s going on around her, and she’s also excited. If she’s watching the bird activity outside and “chattering,” she’s interested in their activity.

Get to Know Your Kitty

Your feline girl loves living in your home, and she wants to get to know you. While she can’t talk like you, she is very capable of communication, so further the interests of human-cat world relations and get to know what your baby is telling you.

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.

the nest