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Why Does My Cat Move His Tail When I Pet Him?

If your cat has moved his tail when you pet it, you may be curious and wondering what the true meaning is…

Why does my cat move his tail when I pet him?

A cat will move its tail when you pet it to give you some feedback. Meaning, it is happy with what you are doing and wants you to continue. It is basically a signal that it loves you and at that moment in time it feels happy and secure.

So, now you know. But, what if your cat flicks its tail instead? What about if they wag it while you talk to them? And, what about if they wag their tail in your face? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

3 reason your cat moves its tail when petted:

Why does my cat move his tail when i pet him?

A cat with its tail in the air getting stroked.

Earlier I briefly mentioned some reasons why your cat may move its tail when you pet it. Therefore, in this section I will explain each one in greater detail:

01. It loves you

Your cat is unlikely to let you get near it unless it trusts you. So, when it willingly lets you pet it and waves its tail, it strongly signals that it loves you. It wants you to keep doing what you are doing and keep being loveable.

Also, it’s important to say that even if your cat does not let you pet it, or wave its tail like this, it does not necessarily mean it does not love you. It could just express its love in other ways.

02. Feels secure

When you stroke your cat like this it sends a signal that your cat feels secure with you. Cats appreciate their owners for more than just food, contrary to public opinion. They like to be in their presence and to feel secure.

This is why you may see these cats lay on their owner’s back, or other body language tells like this.

03. Wants you to keep going

If you see your cat purring and wagging its tail when you pet it then takes this as a clear sign it wants you to continue. It’s a bit like when you run your partner’s shoulders they may move and moan to show you they appreciate it.

A cat is no different, in this way, because they know that you will appreciate the feedback that they give and it will, hopefully, make you inclined to continue.

Why does my cat flick his tail when I pet him?

Your cat may flick its tail when you pet it because it is not happy with what you are doing. It is basically brushing you off and asking you, politely, to back off for a moment. If you refuse to take the hint it will get more agitated and may react aggressively.

You can compare this type of behavior to when you try to touch someone and they push or slap your hand away. For us, this is an obvious form of body language to tell us to back off. For a cat, their tail flick is the equivalent.

What do cat tail movements mean?

Tail movements, in general, give us an indication of how a cat feels. The speed of this movement usually indicates a heightened emotion like excitement or aggression. This means that vigorous movements like the cat banging the tail on the ground could suggest its worth backing off.

This is because this can mean they are overstimulated and would appreciate some space from you. If you violate this warning and continue it could end up with your cat getting aggressive with you.

Do cats wag their tails when happy?

Cat being stroked

Cat being stroked

Some cats will wag their tail when they are happy. But, they can be more difficult to decode than a dog, for example. With dogs, you can be pretty certain when they are happy, just by their tail wagging.

But, cats can be more complex. The speed and ferocity of their tail movement is usually a good indication of how strong that emotion is, whether that be happy or feeling angry with you, for example.

Why do cats wag their tails when you talk to them?

A cat is likely to wag its tail when you talk to it to acknowledge your words. They will then give you some feedback by wagging their tail, or maybe by requesting you stroke them with a head rub, or headbutt.

This is usually a good sign, and even if it headbutts you, don’t worry, it’s not the same as the human version, it is a good sign, not a form of attack.

Why does my cat flick her tail while lying down?

If your cat is flicking its tail while it lays down it is not happy, and you need to give it some space. Some cat owners make the mistake of going in for a hug or attempt to pet it, but this is bad timing.

In this context, your cat is showing signs that it does not want to be petted at this time, and could bite.

Why do cats wag their tails in your face?

When your cat wags its tail in your face like this, it is often an indication that it is happy and wants you to pet it. It may even throw more hints like rubbing up against you to make its feelings clear.

Some cat owners may get annoyed with this, especially if they are preoccupied at that time, but it will make your cat happy to show it some love at this time.

Why do cats wag their tails when sleeping

If your cat is sleeping and wagging its tail, the chances are, it wants to be left alone. It can easily be confused as a sign for you to stroke it. But, this is not the time to do it. It is likely to respond negatively if you persist.

When a cat sleeps they choose some random locations, such as laid out in from of your front room heater. And, you may feel that this is an invite to pet it, but it isn’t. In your cat’s mind, it’s their front room and heater, and you are there to serve them.

What is tail aggression?

Tail aggression is when your cat is signaling aggressive intent. For example, the tail may be curled downwards, towards the floor. Usually, when this happens, it is followed by an aggressive attack.

In some bad cases, there is a limited warning, such as a momentary display of this tail position, then it lunges in for an attack. This is usually the last resort for your cat though, so the chances are it was highly antagonized before this.

What is a tail quiver?

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Top 10 Cat Breeds

A tail quiver is when your cat extends its tail and slightly quivers the tip, like a rattlesnake. But, for cats, this is often a good sign. For example, it’s happy to see you and want to show you that it is.

If you see this quiver, feel honored, it means your cat is really excited to see you, appreciate you, and wants to spend some quality time with you.

Lindsey Browlingdon