What Does My Dog or Cat’s Tail Movement Mean?

I was over at a friend’s house the other day and she was telling me that her cat bites her sometimes.  I asked her what the cat’s tail was doing at the time and she said nothing.  So I asked her to show me what’s going on when the cat ends up biting her.

She called the cat over and was petting the cat, then the cat’s tail was swishing on the floor and abruptly stopped, but the BASE of the tail PUFFED UP and then the cat bit her.

I told her the cat was over stimulated from being pet (yes cats can get over stimulated from the petting, their nerve endings get too sensitive).  I said when she sees the cat’s tail start to swish, stop petting for a while and let the cat come to her for more attention.  Another option, don’t pet the cat’s full body, just stick to scratching and petting the face gently, and stick close to their scent glands like their cheeks.  Most cats like to spread their scent on their owners.

She said it all made sense and that she was glad her cat wasn’t ill or anything.

The thing is, it’s difficult to determine at times what is making a cat angry.  Their tail tells the tale (haha) of what they are thinking and feeling.

Conversely, if a dog is happy, they wag their tail and are looking for attention and petting and loving from their people.  They want to play, are not overstimulated and are happy.  With a cat, it’s usually the reverse and best to back off from petting them.

A tail position can signal I’m happy, follow me, I want attention, leave me alone, I’m stalking something, or I’m just relaxed and calm and look at me.

How does one determine was is going on?  Well, as always I have links to great articles that can help you determine whether a cat or dog wants something or if they are just happy and want to be left alone.

Remember, all animals are different, so what might be right in these articles, may not be the way for your cat or dog.  If you think your pet has serious behavioral issues, contact your vet or a certified, licensed animal behaviorist.  I know many animals that do have issues beyond just wanting to be left alone and often an animal behaviorist can solve those issues WITH you and help teach you redirection so the pet doesn’t feel trapped or stressed.

What does my cat’s tail mean?

What does my dog’s tail mean?

I hope these links help to make things easier and to learn more about communication with your pet!


About furbabiesfurever

Just a furmom taking care of "less" adoptables-a dog and cat that are black, always adopting and not shopping. Love many activities,my oscar fish, animals, shopping, friends, family, life, my husband and of course my fur babies.

Posted on December 8, 2011, in Tips and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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