Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails in Your Face? (Explained)

Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails in Your Face

Deciphering a cat’s mood or behavior based on how they’re wagging their tails can be difficult at times.

Cat’s use their tails to communicate in a wide range of ways; from flicking their tails to display anger, to wagging their tails in our faces as a sign of affection.

If you want to better understand your cat’s mood, it’s important you pay close attention to how your cat is moving its tail, and what they’re doing at the time.

Here is a closer look at that cute – or annoying – habit of wagging their tails in your face:

Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails in Your Face?

Unlike dogs, when a cat is wagging their tail most people think they are annoyed or angry, not happy.

This isn’t always the case, however.

Cats use their tails to communicate a complete range of emotions and mood states from annoyed to happy.

The real answer lies in their overall body language. If your cat is crouched or laying down, and is pretty much motionless, it may be a sign they’re angry and accessing the situation.

If your cat is climbing all over you, rubbing themselves on you and moving around with their guard down while wagging their tail – it’s a sign that they’re comfortable and happy.

You also have to look at how your cat is wagging their tail.

Short, fast, flicking actions are not a good sign. While ‘quivering’, which is when a cat sticks their tail up and basically shakes their tail, is usually a good sign.

In summary; if your cat is being affectionate and wagging their tail in your face, they want you to interact with them!

RelatedDo Cats Have Prehensile Tails? (How Cats Use Their Tails Explained!)

Why Do Cats Lift Their Bum When You Pet Them?

Most cats raise their bums when they’re petted or fussed at the base of their tails. Some even do it when you pet their heads or other areas.

This ‘butt elevation’ as it’s often called is a sign that your cat is enjoying being pet, so it’s always a good sign.

There are some interesting theories into why this is such a common behavior:

I’ve seen some pet behavioral experts explain that this behavior ties into when the cat was a kitten.

Kittens raise their butts and stick their tails up when they’re being groomed by their moms, making it easy for their mom to clean them there.

Don’t worry, they’re not expecting you to clean their butts!

If your cat lifts their bum when you pet them at the base of their tail, I’ve seen some theories that this is because you’re scratching a hard to reach place for them.

If you’ve ever struggled to reach an itch, you’ll know how good it feels when you finally get it. In my head, I imagine it’s similar to that feeling.

Finally, we know that cats have scent glands all over their bodies. They have a gland called the supra-caudal gland, which is located at the base of their tails along their spines.

If you’re petting your cat there, the nerve endings will stimulate them and they will lift their bums and tails to release their scent.

Why Does My Cat Wag Her Tail When I Pet Her?

If your cat wags her tail when you pet her, much like deciphering their mood when wagging her tail in your face, you need to pay attention to their overall body language.

Wagging their tail could be a sign of overstimulation and indicate that they’re getting annoyed and close to snapping – just as it can be a sign that they’re loving the fuss.

If your cat is rubbing against you and not being defensive in any way, then it’s likely a sign that they’re loving the attention.

On the other hand, if they take a bite or nibble on your fingers, lay down, or start flicking their tails harder, I’d take a step back and give them some space.

See if your cat comes closer and pushes herself into you. Most cats aren’t shy about demanding petting and attention when they want it and will let you know.

In Summary

There is a lot you can do to decode your cat’s mood by observing their body language and how they’re behaving.

I’ll admit, it can be confusing sometimes as cats wag their tails when they’re happy, angry, and everything in between.

But the better you get to know your cat, and the more attention you pay to their body language, the easier it becomes to understand how they’re feeling and what they want.


Image credits – Photo by Aleksandra Sapozhnikova on Unsplash

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