what does it mean if a cat’s tail is up

When your cat holds their tail high in the air as they move about their territory, they’re expressing confidence and contentment. A tail that sticks straight up signals happiness and a willingness to be friendly. And watch the tip of an erect tail. A little twitch can mean a particularly happy moment.

A cat that has its tail held high is usually happier and in a better mood than one that has it down.

Evolutionarily, cats have needed a tail to help them stay balanced while they run, jump, and walk along those narrow ledges.

This tail position, which may or may not be accompanied by the tail puffing out, the fur along the spine rising up, or their legs stiffening, is a reflexive reaction to being startled or enraged.

A cat’s ability to stay hidden while hunting or attempting to elude predators is crucial to its survival in the wild. Your cat is displaying signs of openness to attention and lack of fear when they hold their tail high and become more noticeable.

This might be the result of an actual threat showing up, or it could just be one of your other animals being playful when it’s not appropriate.

There is also a selectively bred cat called a Munchkin, which is nicknamed “magpie cat” because the breed is predisposed to swiping shiny objects and caching them for later, says Dodman.

According to Dodman, some cats share dog-like retriever instincts, but similar to an abrupt outburst of energy, stealing could be a manifestation of a hunter’s instinct when there is nothing to hunt. These cats are probably “going through the motions” and returning to their territory, which is usually close to their food bowls, a “prey facsimile.”

According to Siracusa, these energy outbursts, sometimes referred to as “the zoomies,” are “probably outlets for accumulated arousal,” frustration, fear, or pent-up energy.

For example, the napping cat with the tapping tail is “relaxed overall but paying attention to something happening around him, a sound or movement,” meaning that while he’s at work, he’s not exactly asleep.

Cats are hunters and “speed merchants,” says Nick Dodman, author of The Cat Who Cried for Help.

FAQ

Should a cat’s tail be up or down?

On a calm cat a straight-up tail with a hooked tip is a friendly greeting, while an aggressive cat may just have its tail straight up. A fearful “Halloween” cat will have an arched back and “its tail up and puffed.”

Is a cat happy when his tail is up?

In general, a cat that’s walking around with its tail held high is happier and in a better mood than one with a low tail. If your cat approaches you with their tail held straight up – sometimes paired with a prancing walk or happy meows – they’re in a good mood and may be looking for attention.

What does it mean when a cat’s tail is laying down?

Cats Sometimes Wag or Thump Their Tails While Lying Down It may seem especially strange when cats wag or thump their tails while relaxing. Often, it means she’s beginning to feel a little overstimulated. If she’s lying down or even sitting calmly, she may swish her tail a little after you’ve been petting her.

Why do cats raise their tails when you pet them?

There can be a few reasons for this positive display: It gets the good spot even closer to your hand (many cats like being petted right at the end of their tails) It raises the nerve endings to increase the pleasurable feeling even more.