Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails When You Talk to Them? 7 Reasons

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

why do cats wag their tails when you talk to them

For all cat owners, I bet you are familiar with your cats swaying their tails many times a day. It is normal that cats wag their tails while lying down, walking, or when somebody talks to them.

It’s a misconception that cats flick their tails to express contentment or dissatisfaction. Nevertheless, there are a variety of reasons why cats move their tails in different ways that you might not know.

Cats are known to be so complex that it’s extremely difficult to guess how they feel. Misreading your cat’s body language can lead to being snubbed by your beloved pet cat all day long.

If you’ve been in this situation, don’t worry because there is a solution for this problem – reading their tails! How does cat tail speak? Why do cats wag their tails when you talk to them? Your queries will be cleared up in this article. Generally, there are seven reasons why cats wag their tails when you are in a conversation with them:

  • They Are Overjoyed: Your cat is happy because you are giving them the attention they desire. This happiness comes with a quivering tail.
  • Their Feeling of Safety: Your cats feel protected around you, and they indicate this by waving their tails gently.
  • Territory Marking: Cats that haven’t been spayed often show this behavior by straightening their tails.
  • They Are Scared: If your cat wags their tail low to the ground, this is probably because they are afraid of something.
  • They Are Frustrated/Angry: Your cat might be annoyed when their tail swishes slowly from left to right. This can become a low flick because of the frustration, and they want to be left alone.
  • They Are Hurt: Inability to move their tails is alarming as your cat is in great pain. Take your cat to the vet as soon as possible if you notice this sign.
  • It is Hunting Time: A quick twitching with lots of running up and down means that your cat is aiming for its prey.

Moreover, have you ever found your cat tail wagging while they are sleeping? Stay until the end to find out why. Are you excited to learn how to read your cat tail language? Let’s get started right away!


Reasons Why Cats Wag Tails When You Talk to Them

1. They are Overjoyed


The first reason why cats wag their tails is to show their cheerfulness towards you. Knowing your cats’ tail movements while being in a conversation with them will tell you whether they enjoy talking to you or not.

If your cat’s tail goes upright instantly once you start talking, they are excited that you pay attention to them. Moreover, moving the tip of their tail horizontally during the talk means that they are having a good time with you.

In addition, some cats wrap their tails around your legs while you’re standing. This action is a warm greeting from your beloved cat indicating that they love to meet and spend more time with you.

Note that your cat might be looking for some treats or petting if this goes with some joyful meowing. In that case, give them snacks or cuddle them a bit to show your affection towards them. Also, when your cat does this with other pets, there is no doubt that they are very much in a good relationship and enjoy playing with each other.

2. Their Feeling of Safety

Have you ever wondered if your cats feel secure and comfortable with you? If so, here is how you can find the answer yourself while your cat is around. When your cat is chilling at a corner of the house, you can have a look at its tail to check.

The sense of calmness and relaxation will be shown through the gentle waving action. This is a sign that they are feeling confident that you can protect them from all dangers.

Therefore, they can take time to rest without worrying if something unfortunate will occur during this period of time. A cat shows this by twitching its tail while lying down and preparing to take a nap.

If you speak to your cat while they are chilling and see this gentle tail movement, it is certain that your cat is feeling safe around you. Moreover, it depends on the felines that they will give you a soft meowing or a blink in addition to their tail movement.

3. Territory Marking

Isn’t it unfamiliar that a domestic cat also wants to mark its territory around the house? Well, this phenomenon happens mostly to unspayed cats, who still have the instinct of a wild feline.

The tail language for this is to straighten their tail and quiver quickly. They might be triggered when you talk to them abruptly while they are unaware so their tails just go upright.

However, not every cat marks their territory noticeably or at all. Furthermore, your cat, especially male ones, might use their urine apart from an upright tail due to their instinct, especially when you move to a new house or have a new dog.

4. They are Scared

Your cat wagging their tails low on the ground is probably because they are frightened or scared of something. For instance, your cat might be upset if you scold them for having scratched your favorite brand new sofa.

Also, your cat may feel threatened by a loud noise or uncomfortable with a new pet you just brought home. Their feeling of fright can be indicated through their tail position. Cats tend to place their tails between their four legs when they are scared.

Besides, this behavior can result from the fact that they are suffering from great pain or some stress. If so, pay a visit to the vet for a medical checkup and tackle these problems.

5. They are Frustrated/Angry


What happens when your cats are annoyed by something around them? The easiest way to detect is by looking at their tails to see if they are swishing them vigorously.

This is a signal from your cat telling others to stay away and leave them alone as they aren’t feeling so cheerful at the moment. If you are talking to them and see this tail movement, it’s best that you let them rest.

Moreover, if you notice your cat doing this to other pets, try to alleviate the situation by separating them from each other. Otherwise, it can escalate and turn into an intensive fight.

6. They are Hurt

Cats don’t always show you how they feel so they will probably try to hide their pain from you most of the time. Hence, it is vital that you know their tail language to tell if your cat is in great pain.

Cats use their tails very often during the day. Therefore, if you feel like they are not moving their tails as much as they normally do, it’s possibly because they are having some discomfort that prevents them from wagging their tail. There is a likelihood that your cat has a tumor inside that makes them feel under the weather.

Furthermore, your cat might have been injured after a fight with other animals. My advice is to take them to the vet immediately so the wound won’t be infected and cause more pain to your cat.

7. It is Hunting Time

Last but not least, if you are talking and your cat suddenly twitches their tails quickly, maybe they found a prey and are waiting for the right time to catch it. As you may know, felines are known to have great hunting instincts.

Additionally, you can tell when it is their hunting time when your cat wiggles its butt and twitches its tail. It might also run back and forth many times while searching for prey.

Why Does Your Cat Wag Their Tail While Sleeping

There are some cats who always want to keep an eye on their surroundings to detect any danger. Hence, they will wag their tail slightly to have a sense of what is happening even when they are sleeping.

Besides, this can be a natural reaction of their body to their dreams. They might be dreaming about the treats you gave earlier, or about some good times with other cats.

If you would like to have visual illustrations, here is a short video on the cat wagging tail meaning.


Learning cat tail language is very important as you will be able to tell if there is anything going on with your cats. Consequently, you will find an appropriate method to tackle the problem.

So, why do cats wag their tails when you talk to them? I hope this article satisfied your queries. If you find this article informative, share it with your friends and family as well.

Read more: The meaning of cats’ wagging behavior while lying down.

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