All Cats Communicate With These 6 Tail Movements, Here's What They Mean

By Marissa Leotaud

We've already known that cats communicate through their tails, but Professor Carlo Siracusa, a veterinarian in Pennsylvania, has identified six distinct tail movements that correlate with specific emotions. So if you've ever wondered what your cat was thinking, all you have to do is check out his backside! Nope, not weird at all.

Here are the six tail movements to look out for:

1. Stretched tail

Stretched cat tails
credit: Maya Sijan

According to Siracusa, stretched tails are commonly a sign of aggression. So if you see a group of stretched-tail kitties ... do yourself a favor and cross the street.

2. Tail stretched with an upward hook

All Cats Communicate With These Six Tail Movements, Here's What They Mean
Now this is quite the greeting. Aww!
credit: Internet Cats

When your little guy has his tail stretched and hooked upward, he's just saying hello! Petting just may be permitted.

3. Tail stretched with a downward hook

All Cats Communicate With These Six Tail Movements, Here's What They Mean
credit: GlobalP/iStock/GettyImages

An extended tail that hooks down presents a more defensive attitude. Either your cat doesn't trust someone nearby, or he is utterly offended that you'd accuse him of peeing on the carpet.

4. Intense tail flicking

Fighting cats
credit: giphy.com

These fierce felines are clearly at full attention. A rapidly flicking tail can indicate nervousness or alertness. Both in the jungle and in the suburbs, cats MUST. STAY. READY. Luckily for these sweet house cats, the biggest threats are not too scary.

5. Tail arched back

All Cats Communicate With These Six Tail Movements, Here's What They Mean
credit: Imgur

Mayday! Mayday! A tail that is arched back usually represents feline fear! Don't stress, little buddy!

6. Tail down and still

Sleeping cat
credit: Tbear102

Is kitty's tail down and still? That's a great sign! A still tail that's not flying in the air is a sign of relaxation. This is the optimum time to go in for some serious kitty cuddles.

Although these tail movements are a common thread through most felines, you must examine the rest of the kitty's body to truly understand the emotion at hand.

"For example," Siracusa explains, "a cat on the defensive may have the tail curved down, but so does the neutral or relaxed. The rest of the body, on the other hand, looks very different."

These six cat tail positions are a great starting point to knowing exactly what your little guy is feeling. Just don't forget to examine the rest of the body. You know because cats like to do things like this:

Group cat attack
credit: giphy.com

They're full of surprises!

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