why does my female cat shake her tail
Humans usually associate the action of Átail waggingÁ with dogs. Canines are fairly straightforward with their tail communication. Cats, however, are way more subtle in their body language and cat tail wagging is very nuanced. , Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and author, says, ÁAlthough tails are expressive, eyes, ears and body positions combined with the tail language paint a more complete picture of how cats feel. Á Cat tail wagging can mean many different things. HereÁs how to decipher the messages sent by your catÁs wagging tail. 1. What ÁThe SwishÁ Means in Cat Tail Language
Marilyn Krieger advises, ÁThe direction and speed [with] which cats move and swish their tails conveys their feelings. When felines thrash their tails quickly back and forth, it indicates that they are unhappy and want to be left alone. Tails that move slowly from left to right often indicate that cats are mildly annoyed. Sometimes, cats who are playing will swish their tails from side to side before pouncing. Á This means we should pay attention to the way our cats swish their tails and not make assumptions. 2. What ÁThe TwitchÁ Means in Cat Tail Language WeÁve all seen it: A cat is sitting on a windowsill concentrating on nearby birds or rodents, when her tail begins twitching. ItÁs not the exactly the same movement as the previously mentioned Áthrashing,Á but it may look similar. Her ears, eyes and vocalizations will indicate if sheÁs upset or simply maintaining laser-sharp focus on a squirrel.
As with the thumping, the twitch also carries the message, Áleave me alone. Á 3. What ÁThe QuiverÁ Means in Cat Tail Language A ÁquiverÁ is a quick, tiny tail wag. When your cat is excited to see you, she may approach you with her tail in a vertical position, with just the tip of it making quick, little quivering motions, similar to a rattlesnakeÁs tail. Unlike the snakeÁs warning signal, a quivering kitty tail is a welcome sight and is typically accompanied by, face rubbing and sometimes even. Return the greeting, even if you canÁt quite do the tail-shaking thing. 4. What ÁThe Sleepy FlickÁ Meansá in Cat Tail Language Unlike dogs, who are more than happy to come when called, cats like to mull over the situation and decide if weÁre worth their time at that exact moment. When food is involved, thereÁs typically no question Á all they have to hear is the pop-top of a can and they race into the kitchen like a baseball player sliding into home base. Other times, if theyÁre sleeping when we call their names, they like to play games. Instead of blatantly acknowledging us, they choose to meet us with a single Á sometimes ever-so-subtle Áá flick of a sleepy tail. This is a catÁs way of saying, ÁYeah, I hear you Á IÁm just choosing to ignore you. Á This type of tail wagging is actually a sign of contentment because your cat is telling you thatá she feels comfortable remaining asleep in your presence.
The bottom line, however, is that cats are going to do everything on their terms, which is no surprise to anyone who shares their lives with a kitty. Cat tail wagging is a way to communicate those feelings with us, but we must consider the entire picture, including non-tail body language and overall demeanor, before accurately interpreting it. When we learn to read the messages our cats are sending us, we will respond accordingly and develop a trusting, respectful relationship with our beloved felines. Thumbnail:á Photography áGlobalP Thinkstock. á Read more aboutá how cats communicate with us on Catster. com: A cat tail is an amazing and beautiful thing. Not only is it, it s an excellent tool for feline self-expression. Even the most obtuse of humans can learn the secrets of this behaviorÂ â cat tail talk, if you will â with a little observation, and your cat will love you even more if you can interpret her special cat tail sign language. Here are the facts behind some of my favorite cat tail signs and what they mean. 1. Cat tail in the air When SinÃad and Siouxsie were kittens, they d come running up to me with their tails held high the minute I opened my apartment door. This would quickly be followed by purrs and head bonks all over my shoes. Nothing says, OMG, I love you so much and I m so happy to see you! quite like high-tailed kittens. It sÂ a cat tail sign that needs little translation. 2.
Question mark cat tail A cat that approaches you with an erect tail with a tiny hook at the end is saying, I m friendly and I m also just a tiny bit tentative and curious. May I come to you? I saw this a lot in my shelter cats, and my own kitty roommates do that when guests come over to visit. As soon as you say something like, Hello, darling, and reach out a hand, the tail straightens out and you re greeted with head bonks and love. 3. The tip twitch If you re petting your cat and you start seeing the tip of her tail twitch a little bit, that s an early sign that your cat is getting overstimulated and wants you to back off. If you see the tip twitch, you should heed this polite request. 4. The single flip When I scold Bella for getting on the counter while I prepare her food, she hops onto the floor and does a single whole-tail twitch. I interpret this as the cat tail language equivalent of a teenager s smart-ass comment and reply with, Don t you twitch your tail at me, young lady! 5. The cat tail hug When Thomas climbs into my lap while I m sitting at the computer, he either drapes himself over my arm or settles in for a snuggle and wraps his tail around my wrist. I call this a tail hug and I melt every time it happens. 6. Exclamation point cat tail When Bella gets startled, she jumps backwards and her tail instantly goes full vertical and all the fur stands on end. This is her equivalent of Eek! For her, it doesn t seem to mean I m terrified as much as You shocked the hell out of me and I kinda liked it!
When I see her in exclamation-point-tail mode, I gently stroke said tail and tell her, Oh, Bella, what are you all fat-tailed for? Then it s time for skritches around the neck and ears as she slowly de-floofs. 7. Cat tail tag Thomas absolutely loves to play tail tag with Bella. He flicks his tail back and forth, all the while looking at Bella with wide eyes. Bella gets all excited and starts smacking at his tail. Here s a video of a tail tag game in action. 8. Hunting tail When my cats are stalking rodents or their favorite interactive toys, they hunker down with their tails stretched out behind them. The very end of their tails twitch just the tiniest bit, as if it s the only way they have to discharge some of the adrenalin coursing through their bodies. Tell us: What are your favorite tail talk phrases? Share them in the comments. Bonus points if you have photos or videos of the tail talk in action. Thumbnail:Â Photography ÂGlobalP Thinkstock. Read more about cat tails on Catster. com: 5 Cool Cat Tail Facts About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, since 2003.
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