Cats are one of the best animals to have as a pet in the world, and owning a cat is often filled with joy, mischief, and fun, which is why so many people decide they want to have one of these feline companions for themselves.
However, whether you’re an experienced cat owner or a first-time owner, all cats will agree that there are some things about cats and how they behave that are just a complete mystery!
One of the things about cats that confuses people the most is their tails, especially when a cat begins to wag its tail. Most people know what it means when a dog wags its tail, but what does it mean when a cat does it?
It may surprise you that a cat wagging its tail differs from a dog wagging its tail. So, if you want to learn more about why cats wag their tails, then read on, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know!
Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails While Lying Down?
One of the first times you may have noticed your cat wagging its tail is whilst it was lying down next to you, but what does this mean exactly? Some people might mistake it as a sign of the cat being happy and wanting more attention, which isn’t the case.
In fact, when a cat is laying down and wagging its tail, it can mean one of two things.
The first is that your cat is overstimulated, whether you’ve been playing around or petting it, your cat is now ready to relax and is letting you know that it is overstimulated, so you should leave them to calm down before you interact again.
Alternatively, it might also mean that your cat is ready for playtime! So if you’ve been cuddling, and you notice that your cat is getting excitable, why not reach for their toy and begin to play with them? This not only helps to stimulate your cat’s brain but also to prevent your hand from getting scratched by your excited feline friend.
Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails While Sleeping?
If your cat is lying down and asleep, then you might also notice that its tail wags then too.
If you notice your cat doing this, the likelihood is that your cat is simply sleeping deeply, and their tail just happens to be twitching as a result of the dream they’re having, similar to how we humans are known to twitch and move around in our sleep too!
Your cat might not be sleeping deeply, however, so if you call its name out and they don’t wag, but its tail begins to wag, then there’s a chance that your cat is actually awake, but is trying to make up its mind on whether or not it should disturb its rest to come and see you.
It’s essentially a way of signalling to you that they know you’re there!
Do Cats Wag Their Tails Whilst Hunting?
Natural predators, if you allow your cat to regularly explore the outside world, then there’s a good chance that they will begin to go hunting, as this is their natural instinct, and if you ever happen to see your cat attempting to hunt, you’ll notice that as it is lying down, their tail will wag ever so slightly, so why do they do this when they’re trying not to be seen?
Well, the tail has an important role to play for cats and their mobility, as it helps them to balance and maintain their high-agility whilst climbing, running, and of course, hunting! So don’t be surprised to see your cat’s tail wagging or thumbing whilst it tries to channel its inner tiger chasing rodents and birds!
Why Else Do Cats Wag Their Tails?
Aside from these reasons, there is actually another cause for cats and their tail wagging, and although we said that tail wagging meaning happy was more of a dog trait than cats, is it possible that cats will also wag their tails when they are happy too?
Whilst we understand that the difference between a dog’s wagging tail and a cat’s wagging tail is incredibly different, with a dog’s tail often wagging frantically and with little restraint, which makes a load of noise if they find themselves against a wall or a hard surface.
Your cat’s tail will wag much more softly, and will never make more than a soft thump, and it’s not unknown for a cat to wag its tail when it is happy!
When your cat is confident and content, it’s not unusual to see your cat strut around the house with their tail high in the air, with the end of its tail, most notably the slight curve that can occur towards the tip, and wag it ever so slightly as it walks, and whilst it’s not as obvious or clear cut as it is for dogs, it’s a good way to know that your cat is happy.
You’ll notice that your cat’s tail will also wag whilst they play with toys, and it will swish from side to side, this includes playing too, even with other cats, so if you’re ever worried about whether your cat and another is play fighting or fighting seriously, then a great way to tell is to simply look at the tails of the cats.
If they’re swishing and wagging their tails, then you know that they’re just playing around, whereas if their tails are puffed up and tense, that the fight is real!
So, there are a whole bunch of different reasons why your cat might be wagging their tail whilst lying down, so if you do notice your cat doing so, don’t worry, nothing’s wrong. Thanks for reading, and we hoped that this helped!
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.