Cats are constantly waving their tales in the air. When they come close to you for a good pat, when they are waiting for food, even when they are just staring out the window! Their tails are constantly waving and cleaning your floors!

Depending on the breed and individual cat, a cat tail contains 18 to 23 tail vertebrae(Caudal vertebrae). Tail muscles rest below the lumbar vertebrae, lower-back sacrum and tail vertebrae and attach via tendons. Although this facilitates articulate movements, part of the tail’s musculature also is associated with the rectum, anus and pelvic diaphragm.

Believe it or not it’s all in the wave! Cats need affection and attention as well as much as they come across as mysterious and independently happy. Here are a few tips on learning your cat through their body language.

Taken by cat behaviorists, the best way to understand cats is through their tails and its position.


  • Tail up – This is a happy, cheerful cat that is most likely approachable.
  • Tail down – This may indicate a cat that is scared or threatened.
  • Tail moving rapidly back and forth – A cat’s wagging tail isn’t the same as a dog’s happy tail wagging gesture.
  • Tail moving slowly back and forth – If a cat is trying to decipher the situation, he may move his tail back and forth slowly as he makes up his mind about how he feels.
  • Hair Standing tail – Yes, cats with hair standing tails are scary and could possibly make your hair stand! A cat in this stance is not in a good mood and is trying to appear larger and scarier than he is.


Tails straight up is a good gesture from your cat. It is a sign that they are content, secure and happy with their surroundings. This gesture of tail also means that this cat is friendlier and therefore more approachable.

When cats have their tails high up they are usually running over to greet you as step into the door after a long day’s work. Most times it will follow with a good purr and perhaps a cuddle session. Other times that you see a cats tail up high is when they are waiting for food!

When in the company of other felines, cats greet each other with tails held high. The reason for this is because their scent glands are located somewhere near the base of the tail. These scents tell each other a story about that particular cat.


When tails are down or at an angle, this usually means that there is some uncertainty or fear in your cat and his environment. When he is defensive or afraid of his surroundings you will see his body more crouched and closer to the ground. When his tail is completely under his body, this is a sure sign that he is afraid.

When cat’s tails are down it may just be an impartial gesture. Your cat is minding his own business and doing his own plans today. Tails down with body focused and low usually give you the signal that your cat is waiting for his next move of action. That he is ready at all cost and in any measure to either fight or flight!


Cats wag their tails for various reasons, some of which to show curiousity! A strong raised up swish is a display of wanting to be left alone or frankly not in the mood to socialise. This move as stated by some people as “So what!” or “Forget you!” moves.

When your cat finds a particular interest in an invisible object on the wall, you will notice a sweeping mode of his tail. This most definitely would show that he is aware and concentrate on getting his hands on his prey!

Heavy sweeping of the tail usually fall under the following categories:

  • Intense interest if your cat is focusing on something, like a bird outside, or if he’s about to pounce on a toy (prey).
  • Ecstasy if your cat is really enjoying a grooming session.
  • Anger if the tail is thumping loudly on the floor.
  • An invitation to another cat to play.
  • High excitement or aggression if the tail trashes violently.

Most times you will notice a bushy tail, which most frequently means your cat is making himself appear as bigger than his actual size. This is when he is training and practice playing with you as prey or he has come into contact with another cat within his territory.

In moments of this, it is best to steer clear of your cat. Unless you are sure that he knows you and will do nothing in the world to hurt you, rest assure you may be a victim of a lot of scratches.

Take a look at our ITS IN THE SIGHTS section to learn more about cat body language.


Marble eyes are what come to mind when you think of cat’s eyes. The various colors that come with cat’s eyes spark magnificent, mystery, curiosity and intrigue all with a blind of an eye.

We humans see in vivid colors during the day but when night falls it is our feline companions that see the night in all beautiful colors. Don’t get us wrong Cat’s cannot see in the dark but their ability to see better at night is unlike our 180 degree scope of vision, cats have a 200 degree scope hence their sight is more sensitive to low light.

Fully Open Eyes : 

  • The cat is giving something his attention
  • The cat is alert
  • Situations when you will see this:
    • Catching the neighbourhood squirrel
    • Enjoying the resident lizard at home
    • Playing prey with his toys
    • Even at a light twitch of your hands on the sofa!

Half-closed Eyes : 

  • The cat is sleepy or content
  • May signal that your cat trusts you
  • Situations when you will see this:
    • When its bed time
    • When the household turns down
    • After using up all his energy!

Dilated/Expanding Pupils : 

  • Fear or aggressive excitement
  • Nervous or submissive
  • Excitement to see an owner, feline friend, food, or toy
  • Situations when you will see this:
    • This sight is seen from under a sofa
    • New visitors in the house
    • When play time with a prey mode setting is on
    • When a sudden curiosity comes to light like a flash light
    • When a sudden unfamiliar loud noise is heard.

Constricted/Narrowed Pupils : 

  • Angry
  • Confident
  • Content/calm
  • Situations when you will see this:
    • Nothing happening in particular
    • When something has made kitty upset

Slow Blinking : 

  • Relaxed
  • Trusting
  • Comfortable & Safe
  • Situations when you will see this:
    • When snuggled up next to you
    • When you get home to a hungry, cuddly kitty
    • During TV time with the family

Cats communicate with their eyes as much as their body language. When your cat looks at you, notice their small differences. You may even see an ‘eye kisses’, where your cat slowly closes his eyes and reopens them. When you do the same back to him, you have officially received a trust signal from your kitty.

The next time you are alone with your cat, watch closely the slight difference and how he behaves around you in comparison to other people.