Why Is My Cat’s Tail Lifted Up?

By Ameera Mills. August 27, 2018
Why Is My Cat’s Tail Lifted Up?

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Cats use their bodies to communicate with us, other animals and their environment. Thanks to their postures and facial expressions, our felines are able to transmit their state of mind and perceptions about their environment.

By understanding your cat’s postures and expressions, you will not only better understand its personality but it will also allow you to both improve communication and strengthen your bond. To help you better interpret your cat’s body language, in this AnimalWised article we tell you what it means when a cat has its tail lifted. Keep reading to find out more about these fascinating felines.

You may also be interested in: Cat Body Language - Examples and Pictures

What is you cat telling you with their tail?

A cat’s uses its tail to express itself, mainly with its feline counterparts, but also with humans. In short, a cat uses its tail to constantly interact with its environment. But why does a cat move its tail when you caress and pet it? Why do they move their tails when they are lying down? Or why they wag their tails when you talk to them?

The different positions of a cat's tail reveals a lot about its: perception of the environment, the emotions it experiences and everything it tries to communicate and transmit. For example, a cat with its tail raised expresses something totally different from a feline sporting a dropped tail.

Why Is My Cat’s Tail Lifted Up? - What is you cat telling you with their tail?

Every cat is different

Each and every feline possess a special personality, different from that of other species. This, however, can also vary enormously depending on an individual in particular. Due to their own: lived experiences, periods of socialization or genetics, cats can adopt different: postures, expressions and sounds. These cats, depending on their backgrounds, will express and communicate accordingly with their environment. For this reason, it is impossible to write a precise manual of "how to understand cats", since each individual is unique.

Because cats are so individually unique, each feline can have their own specific "dictionary of feline behavior." This means that in order to understand your own cat, you need to dedicate time and attention to discover and observe its specific behavior and body language. However, to help you, we recommend learning about the basis of general cat body language and what these postures may mean.

Keep reading to find out what it means if your cat has it’s tail lifted up.

Why is my cat’s tail lifted up? - Sign of happiness

In general, a raised tail is interpreted as a positive cat posture. This posture is also known to indicate a state of happiness, relaxation and/or well-being. However, it can express different emotions according to the specific "design" that the tail adopts when raised. To understand exactly what it means when a cat to have its tail up, we must pay attention to other "signals" that its body transmits to us. Take a look at this summary of the main meanings of a raised tail in cats:

  • Cat with its tail up and trembling: if your cat is sporting a raised and trembling tail, it means that your presence is generating joy. For example: you will probably note this specific tail design when you return home. Your feline uses this tail form to try and communicate to you that it is happy to see you and enjoy your company.
  • Tail lifted pointing up ("stretched"): a cat with tail pointing upwards is said to be experiencing a moment of friendly tranquility. If your cat sports this lifted tail, it means they are happy and feel safe in that specific environment.
  • Tail up and slightly forward (falling over its back): when lifting its tail this way, the cat leaves its anal glands exposed. This should not be interpreted as sexual behavior; it is a friendly gesture that invites interaction. In the feline world, cats do this not only to "present themselves," but also to demonstrate trust and complicity with the other individuals in their community. Therefore, when you notice that your cat is lifting and moving its tail over its back when stroking it, it is a sign that your cat is enjoying your company.
Why Is My Cat’s Tail Lifted Up? - Why is my cat’s tail lifted up? - Sign of happiness

Why is my cat tail lifted up? - Sign of interrogation

At times, a cat’s lifted tail can be interpreted as a feline’s personal question mark. This means that sometimes a lifted tail in cats may mean that a cat is uncertain about something in its surroundings. This action doesn’t necessarily represent anything positive nor negative, but rather signals curiosity or a state of intrigue. There are two main "intriguing tails" in cats, these include:

  • Tail lifted at an angle: this tail form may appear when a cat perceives new stimuli in its environment and does not know how to react to it. For example, when an unknown animal or person enters your home for the first time. In these cases, it is important that the initial contact made between the cat and this stimuli is done through positive reinforcement. Allow and encourage your feline to feel "invited" to exercise its curiosity and explore this new presence in its environment.
  • Tail up with a hooked tip: This tail literally visually forms the shape of a "question mark". This is generally recognized as a reserved or timid position, but does not hold or represent feelings of threat or anger. This form simply indicates that your cat is not sure about something that is happening in its environment leading it to adopt a conciliatory stance.
Why Is My Cat’s Tail Lifted Up? - Why is my cat tail lifted up? - Sign of interrogation

Why is my cat’s tail lifted and curled? Signs your cat is angry

If your cat has its tail raised and curled (like a pig’s tail), sporting thick and bristly hairs, be careful. This tail form usually suggests that your cat is angry or feels scared, therefore making it more aggressive. In this case, there are other cat body language signs which may clarify whether your cat is angry or scared. These sings include: ears pointed backwards or sideways, an extended spine or dilate pupils.

If your cat has a raised tail which appears agitated or spasming, it should also be interpreted as a negative signal. Cat’s often take on this position to express that they are beginning to feel stressed or angry. This tail form should be taken as a warning that your cat wants to be left alone. Therefore, in this case, it is best to distance yourself from your cat for a little.

In addition, if you notice that your cat is often scared or aggressive, we advise you consult your veterinarian to make sure that your cat is not ill. After discarding any organic cause, you can consult an ethologist to help identify the cause of this anomalous behavior. A professional will be able to establish adequate treatment according to your cat’s specific needs.

Why Is My Cat’s Tail Lifted Up? - Why is my cat’s tail lifted and curled? Signs your cat is angry

If you want to read similar articles to Why Is My Cat’s Tail Lifted Up?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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