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Why Does My Cat Walk With Their Tail Down?

The majority of cats cannot talk. I say the majority because I believe that some cats can mimic words much like a parrot. Years ago, my hubby opened a curtain so his cat Elly could look out the window. As he turned to walk away, Elly plainly said, Thank you. Yes, it is true, and yes, we both heard her words and yes, we were shocked!

Cats can speak in various ways, and cat parents need to understand their cat’s unique and understandable forms of communication. All cat breeds communicate using their meows, eyes, ears, paws, and tails. One cat breed is no different than another.

Observe and learn to understand what your cat is trying to tell you. Your cat communicates with you every day. Perhaps you are missing what your fur baby is telling you. Maybe it is you who are not communicating with your kitty.

Can you only imagine how you would feel when you tried to speak to anyone, and they ignore you or dismiss your calls for help because they cannot understand you? Your words fall on deaf ears, therefore, it is not crucial to them, and they turn their backs on you and walk away. Wouldn’t you feel frustrated? I would, and I bet our fur babies get plenty frustrated.

Why Does My Cat Walk With Their Tail Down?

As I mentioned, cats use their bodies to communicate. Did you know that humans also use their bodies to communicate? Here are a few ways humans communicate with each other while not saying a word.

  • Have you seen a person who has a habit of talking with their hands?
  • How about this scenario? You make someone so angry beyond words that they have no comment for you except that you can see the fire in their eyes as they make eye contact with you.

While cats generally cannot speak words, they use their body to communicate. It would help if you learned the ways of communication that your cat uses to get your attention. Understanding your cat’s tail language is only one way cats communicate. Learning tail signals from your cat can open up a new world for you and your cat.

It may be challenging to understand what your cat tells you when it hangs its tail down. However, it is easy to understand your cat’s basic tail movements. When your cat walks around with its tail downward, look around and take note of its present surroundings.

  • Is there anything around your cat that puts it on the defensive? 
  • Is there something around your cat causing it to become submissive and hold the tail under its belly, such as another cat who may be the boss of your household? 

If your cat’s tail is entirely down, your cat is taking on a defensive position to protect itself against certain impending aggression. Another tail position that points to the fact that your cat is becoming the aggressor is if your cat’s tail is downward and outward at an angle.

Understanding Tail Positions of Your Cat

Whenever you are around your cat, become more vigilant of the different positions of its tail. According to seasoned cat parents and cat behavior specialists, the following cat tail positions prove true in many instances. Learn your cat’s communication techniques when they talk with their tail.

Understand that cats always have a reason for doing what they do. The individuals who are not cat lovers and those who strongly dislike these animals mistake a cat’s natural ability to appear aloof, antisocial, suspicious, and cold. Cats are quite the opposite.

The size of the cat’s tail also makes a difference in how the cat carries its body. For instance, cats with shorter tails tend to walk with their heads bent down more than cats who have long tails.

  • If your cat’s tail is in a straight upwards position

When you see your cat’s tail in this position, your cat is comfortable and happy with its present surroundings.

  • Quivering, straight upward tails

This tail position means that your cat, at that moment, is excited about something. Your cat is ecstatically happy about its current situation. This tail position could signify how happy your cat is to see you come through the door. Perhaps a bonded playmate returned from being away.

  • A fluffy tail

If your cat has just come into the house from the frigid temperatures outside, you will notice how fluffy the tail is. Cats do this to help keep themselves warm. Another reason for a fluffy tail is when your cat is trying to look bigger and more threatening to whatever may be posing a threat to them. Your cat may be getting ready to fight if the need arises. Cats do not like feeling threatened or cornered the same as any human.

  • A stiff and erect tail

If your cat’s tail is standing up erect and stiff-like, it means that your cat is angry, afraid of its current situation, or agitated at what is going on in its surroundings.

  • Did you know that your cat can hold its tail in a question mark? 

When you see a question mark tail position on your cat, it is unsure what to make of its situation.

  • Your cat is sitting or lying with its tail curled around its body

Your cat is comfortable and at ease in its surroundings. A cat curls its tail around them for warmth.

  • Tails held straight out from the body

Your cat is feeling neutral, good-natured, and friendly about its surroundings.

  • Tails at an angle slightly away from the body or quickly moving back and forth

Your cat is on alert and monitors what is going on in its surroundings. Your cat may feel irritated, angry, or on high alert.

  • Tails switching from side to side

Perhaps your cat is irritated, excited, or even becomes angry. I found this with my Mia. She wants me to brush her every evening, but when she starts switching her tail like a whip, I need to leave her alone for a spell, and is getting ready to swat at me with a paw if I don’t leave her alone.  She shows me her nails if I continue to bother her.

What To Do If My Cat Walks With Their Tail Down? 

If you notice that your cat is walking with its tail downward, there can be many things going on. Your cat may be feeling,

  • Cautious
  • Submissive
  • Frightened (tail down and tucked between its legs)
  • Insecure
  • Troubled
  • Lacking confidence
  • Ill and not feeling well and cannot use the little box as usual (it is time to see the vet)
  • Injured

You must assess the situation first and monitor your cat for changes in eating, drinking, sleep, and activity level. Assess significant changes in your home. Cats understand more than we give them credit for and can get upset over substantial changes in their environment.

A cat parent knows when their kitty is not acting well. Cats are masters at hiding an illness or pain. If you think that this is the problem, you need to have the vet examine your cat.

If you decide to visit a foreign country and you do not know the language of the land, it makes sense to learn a few essential words to help you with your visit. Understanding the various communication techniques a cat uses helps cat parents know what their fur baby wants or needs.

Learning these basics removes the anxiety and frustration between your cat and you. A large part of a cat’s communication is its tail and knowing all you can about your cat’s tail movements makes a lot of difference in the life of your cat and you. Cat parents need to know their cat, including its likes, dislikes, and fears. Every cat’s personality is different. Each cat has unique needs and wants and the tail always tells the story.