Cat Tail Wagging Explained

Tail wagging is a means of communication in cats and it differs from tail wagging in dogs. If your cat is wagging his tail, this is not a good sign, as the cat is annoyed or in conflict. Knowing how to interpret your cat's body language is essential, so you can understand your pet better.

Cat Tail Wagging

A dog wagging his tail is a happy dog that shows excitement or contentment. However, a feline doing the same movement with the tail doesn't communicate the same thing. Cat tail wagging can be interpreted as:

  • Agitation
  • Curiosity, if the cat sees an object or a moving thing and he is not sure what to do next, as he is also a bit scared
  • Indecision, when the cat has a choice and doesn't know what to do next (i.e., when you call him but he would also like to play with an insect or climb a tree)
  • Hunting, the cat is preparing to attack and takes a moment to assess the situation
  • Stalking, the cat is after something
  • When fighting another dominant cat
  • When playing with another pet
  • When you pat your cat, the cat signals aggression
  • While sleeping, but this indicates that the cat is alert

While wagging his tail, the cat is deciding what to do next.

Identify Tail Wagging

Cat tail wagging is easy to detect. The cat stays in a position, he may be very attentive to one or several elements and his tail will be moving from side to side. It may happen that only the tip of the tail is moving and this means the cat is calmer.

What to Do

When your cat is wagging his tail, it's not a good idea to interfere. The cat may become aggressive and can scratch you if you disturb him. Allow the cat to calm down and get on with his activities. However, if your cat is fighting another cat, you should try to break them up. You can lift your cat, making sure he cannot scratch you. Take your cat to his room and leave him alone. You can give him a toy, so he can release his anger or energy on it.

If your cat starts wagging his tail while you pat him, you should stop patting him immediately, as the cat can become very aggressive and the more you pat him, the more irritated he will become. Be cautious when you see your pet wagging his tail, because he may easily become aggressive and hurt you. If you have children, make sure they are safe until the cat calms down.

The cat's tail is a tool the pet uses to communicate different things. While wagging the tail is not a good sign, when the cat holds his tail straight up without moving it, this means the cat is happy to see you.