Russell Hartstein, certified cat behaviorist based in Los Angeles, noted that cats not only use their tails for their impressive balance, but also they use it as an outlet to express emotion through.
“A cat’s tail is incredibly expressive and when taken in context to their immediate environment and the rest of their body language reveals a lot about what is going on emotionally and internally,” Hartstein said. “It helps acts as a barometer of their moods.”
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Although Hartstein said that actions like tail wrapping (when they wrap their tail around you), an upright tail, and a “question mark” shape of the tail are all positive mood indicators, he noted that you should watch out for lashing, tail puffing (when the fur begins to fluff up), and a lowered horizontal tail.
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“A lowered horizontal or general lowered tail means the cat is in a state of fear, retreat or an aggressive, hostile mood,” he told Insider. He said this is a sign they’re not happy and you may want to look into figuring out why.
He also noted that the lower your cat’s tail is, the more stressed your cat is, so keep an eye out for a lowered or tucked tail.
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