Frequently Asked Questions: Cat Edition

June 24, 2019

My Cat’s Tail Movements Confuse Me

Dog owners are often confused by a cat’s tail movements. The movements seem, at times, to be similar enough that perhaps they should have the same meanings. Yet at other times, they are completely different. Cats like to keep us guessing!  A relaxed, comfortable cat will hold her tail slightly lowered and possibly moving slightly from side to side. Not wagging as a dog does; just gently moving it. A happy cat will often hold her tail upright with a curve at the tip.  An erect tail without the curve at the tip, held still, can be a sign of anger. A tail tucked between the legs shows fear, just as it does with dogs.  The tail is quite expressive, but your cat’s moods can be best read by looking at the whole cat. Body position, facial expressions, ear position, and the tail portray more of what the cat is thinking than just the tail alone.

Do Cats Purr When They’re Happy?


Most of the time cats do purr when they’re happy, but that isn’t true all the time. Some cats will purr only when happy while others will purr anytime they feel strong emotions. That could include happiness, fright, anger, or protectiveness. You may find your cat will purr when looking out the window at a trespassing cat; your cat isn’t happy at that strange cat but he’s still purring. Your cat might also purr after getting a vaccination at the veterinary clinic; he’s really not happy but is purring anyway.  These inconsistencies are what make cats so mysterious and confusing for people. Again, as with tail movements, don’t look (or listen) to one part of your cat’s communication. Instead, look at all of it to determine what she’s trying to communicate.






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