Cat Tail Positions and What They Mean

Since your cat can’t talk or motion with hands, one of the main ways she expresses herself is with her tail. The best way to see your cat’s mood and feelings is by observing her tail. If you’re a first-time cat owner or just curious, read on as a Greenfield veterinarian offers insight on what the different positions and motions of your cat’s tail are signifying.


Many people call this the “question mark” position, since your cat’s tail is positioned in a curved shape that resembles a question mark. This position signifies a playful mood—your cat is happy and ready to romp around for a few minutes. Oblige her: get down on the floor and spend a few minutes playing. Your cat will love it, and it makes for good bonding time between pet and owner. Ask your vet for tips on safe and healthy playtime routines.

High in the Air

A tail that is hoisted straight up in the air signifies confidence and happiness. Your cat will be friendly and contended if her tail is in this position. Often, a cat will hoist her tail straight up as you are coming home—this means she’s happy to see you and is welcoming you into her territory.

Tucked Away

If your cat’s tail is tucked under her body, something is making her nervous. A tucked tail signals fright or submission. Talk to your veterinarian to make sure you’re not accidently doing anything to frighten your cat.


A tail that is straight up with the hair puffed out in all directions signals an agitated feline. She will puff up her tail in an attempt to look bigger and scare the danger away. Talk to your vet if your cat consistently puffs up her tail and attacks you or anyone else in your household, as this may be a sign of a behavior disorder.

Around Another Cat

Just as we would wrap an arm around a friend or loved one, a cat will wrap her tail around another feline to show companionship and love.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of feline tail signals—your Greenfield vet can tell you about many more. Also, it’s important to realize that not every single cat or breed will follow these trends. Some cats do different things with their tails that may not mean anything at all. Your vet can help you if this is the case. Otherwise, have fun interpreting and responding to your cat’s unique and amusing tail signals!


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