Cats have a reputation as being imperceptible, but they can be better understood. For example, a cat’s tail movement can reveal how it’s feeling. Tail swishing while lying down can be a particularly revealing body language in cats. Dogs wag their tails to denote happiness, but this isn’t necessarily the case for cats.
Tail wagging in cats can signify positive and negative emotions. These range from anger and annoyance to excitement and exhilaration to happiness and contentment. You can learn more about a cat’s mood by noting which part of the tail Is moving, the position of a moving tail, and the tail movement velocity.
Usually, a cat that’s slowly wagging its tail while lying down has a more positive explanation than a cat thrashing about or flicking its tail. Occasionally, a wagging tail is an involuntary display of pain. Consequently, you’ll need to check for other symptoms of discomfort, such as an arched back or uncharacteristic aggression.
Why Do Cats Move Their Tails Side To Side?
Monitoring a cat’s tail provides insight into its mood. Here are the different meanings:
|Swishing wildly from left to right (flicking)||Anger or a bad mood|
|Gentle swaying from left to right||Interaction is welcomed|
|Twitching at the tip||Excitement or stimulation|
|Swishing on the ground||Readiness to pounce|
|Thumping on the floor||Overstimulation|
Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails While Lying Down?
There are various explanations for this action:
- Happiness and contentment
- Annoyed and agitated
- Pain and discomfort
These readings have very different meanings. Pairing the action with another body language will help you understand what’s happening in your cat’s mind.
Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails When Being Pet?
A cat that is lying down may wag its tail while being petted. Your cat is sending you a message about how it feels, so consider where you are petting your cat.
As explained by Anthrozoös, cats respond to petting on different body parts, so your cat could go from purring to hissing if you get it wrong. However, if your cat lifts its rear and swishes its tail gently, it’s feeling happy.
If tail wagging speeds up, you should proceed with caution. This is a sign that your cat is growing frustrated. Note that purring can also occur when a cat is feeling agitated or sore. There is a time limit on how long cats find petting enjoyable, and your cat may bite or scratch if you stroke it for too long.
Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails While Playing?
A wagging tail while lying down is a precursor to pouncing, especially in kittens. Young cats are cautious about overstepping their boundaries. By wagging their tails, they announce their intentions in advance.
The wag may be a display of excitement mid-play. This suggests that your cat still has energy. If you stop the game, this may be misdirected as aggression.
Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails When Hunting?
A cat may be wagging its tail because it is concentrating on a hunt. Lying down on its front, tail wagging, and a wiggling body precede pouncing. The cat is making itself small and inconspicuous to avoid detection.
Cats also wave their tails to mesmerize prey, gaining a cat precious seconds to attack. If any of the following precedes the tail movement, it’s hunting-related:
- Wiggling the bottom
- Clicking the mouth
- Shifting weight between back legs
These behaviors are warning signs. So, if you see your cat lying down and behaving this way, you should distract it with a toy. If you fail to do so, the cat may start to hunt your toes or ankles.
Many cats lie down by a window and watch birds outside. This will lead to a twitching tail, as your cat imagines pouncing. It may also be imitating its prey by making sounds similar to birds. It may also attempt a physical impersonation of a bird’s quivering tail feathers.
Do Cats Wag Their Tails When They Are in Pain?
Cats will try to hide any signs of physical pain. It does not want anybody to realize that it is vulnerable as it leaves them open to attack from territorial rivals or predators.
Sometimes, a cat in pain will shoot its tail upward and shake it. This is an involuntary, reflex action. If your cat notices that it is doing this, it’ll stop immediately. It’s a subtle action that can be missed.
This tail movement can also denote excitement. Look out for other signs that your cat is in pain:
- Lethargy and depression
- Walking with an arched back
- Struggling to sleep
- Refusing to be handled
- Acting aggressively
- Loss of appetite
There are several reasons why a cat could be in pain. It may have experienced an impact injury, or its teeth may hurt, for example.
Why Do Cats Thump Their Tails When Lying Down?
If your cat thumps its tail, it is a warning sign. It usually means that it is reaching a saturation point with an activity, such as petting or grooming.
Perhaps you are petting it in the wrong place. All cats have different sensitivities and pressure points. Cats dislike being touched on the belly or feet. Get too close, and your cat will warn you to stop.
Your cat thumps its tail to inform you of its unhappiness and expects you to understand what it’s telling you. If you continue petting, it will assume that you are ignoring its visual cues.
Why Do Cats Move Their Tails When Sleeping?
The cat is informing you that it knows you are nearby. This could mean that it sees you as a threat, or it could be a sign of trust. It ultimately depends on how well you are bonded with the cat.
A cat nap differs from sleep. Cats doze lightly throughout the day, but they remain aware of their surroundings. The amount of tail movement helps you to understand your cat’s state of mind at that time.
A quick flick of the tale is a sign of irritation. The cat knows you are there and is annoyed that you are interrupting its nap.
A slow, lazy wag, especially with the tail erect, is an acknowledgment. Your cat is permitting you to remain in the room while it sleeps. This tail-flick means that your cat feels safe with you nearby.
Your cat may be dreaming, according to Trends in Neuroscience. It is believed that cats relive experiences of the day while sleeping. Your cat may be reliving a successful hunt, a petting session, or a meal it enjoyed.
Why Does A Cat Wag The Tip of Its Tail?
Twitching at the tip of a cat’s tail denotes happiness or excitement. It begins with the tail itself. As Behavioral Processes explains, cats that keep their tail erect feel confident and assured.
Twitching at the tip of the tail from a lying down cat suggests that it is:
- Observing prey through a window
- Enjoying getting attention
- Waiting for you to get home
Twitching at the tip of a tail can also denote frustration, but other behaviors will accompany this action. Your cat is unlikely to lie down if it’s in this state of mind. If your cat does not hiss, it is unlikely to be frustrated.