Cat are way more flexible that you or I could probably ever hope to be. While cats don’t have speech like we do, they can convey quite a lot simply by what they do and how they use their tails. There have been whole books written on cat body language, therefore it would be madness to try and cover every aspect in this one article. Why does my cat flick her tail and purr at the same time? Cat tail signs, such as a flicking tail, can mean many things.
If a cat is flicking it’s tail and is crouched, it’s usually an indication that they are stalking, or watching prey, ready to pounce. At other times, the flicking tail will indicate that the cat is annoyed and you should keep away. A cat will also sometimes flick his tail when he is being petted even though he is purring at the same time. In my experience, a flicking tail means caution. If you are playing with your cat, it’s a sign that they are really into playing and you shouldn’t get too close. This is a great sign, in that they are really engaged with the play and they should be interested for several minutes. On the other hand, it also means they may overshoot and hit your foot if you aren’t careful.
If you come upon your cat, and want to pet them, or call them and they sit still and flick their tail, this means that they don’t want to be disturbed. When my cats flick their tail while being petted, and they purr at the same time, I still take this as a warning not to make any sudden moves, or pet them too harshly. She shifts position several times, as if trying to get comfortable, and generally doesn’t stay for a long time. Who knows if it’s the temperature in the room, the way I’m sitting, or some subtle sign I’m giving her that I’m annoyed. Of course, the longer she takes to try to settle, I’m bound to actually get annoyed, so this isn’t far off. While my cats don’t flick their tail all the time, other cats do.
In this case, it is probably their way of saying they are happy, like a dog’s tail wagging. Only when you watch your cat for awhile and get to know him or her will you be able to determine if the tail flicking is a warning, or a sign of happiness. When it doubt, consider it a warning and tread carefully. At the very least, it will let your cat know that you aren’t threatening them, and they will be more comfortable with you. Why does my cat come up to get petted, then turn around and present her behind to me with her tail straight up? Does she want me to check out her behind? Cats use scent to recognize other beings the way we use faces.
Cats will greet each other by sniffing noses. Sometimes, you will see them go straight for sniffing each others’ hind ends as a way of greeting and making sure who they are. So, when it comes to humans, they treat us with the same greeting ritual. Could I please have the head end? I’m not that fond of the tail end. When they give us their butt, with tail held high, it’s an opportunity to make a quick visual inspection to make sure everything looks good. So, see straight up cat tails meaning a greeting, and an opportunity to do a quick health check.
Kittens do this as they snuggle against their mothers. It may help them to get the milk started. At one time, it was believed that this motion meant the cat was weaned too early. However, all adult cats do so, regardless of when they were weaned. No matter whether it relates directly to kitten-hood or not, when cats do it, they are happy. Often, they will purr at the same time.
Since it is instinctive, you won’t be able to break them of it, nor is it a good idea to punish them in any way for it. They will do it on many soft surfaces, be that a blanket, pillow, pile of clean clothes, or your lap. Trim your cat’s claws so that they don’t hurt during kneading. Place something between you and the cat’s paws. Perhaps a blanket, or what I like to do, is see if I can get my cat to settle on a pillow in my lap. It gives her something to knead instead of my leg. It also gives her a stable place to lie, so she doesn’t keep shifting, trying to get comfortable on my legs. Why do cats rub against you, or rub their face against things? What Is My Cat Thinking? Cat have scent glands on their heads and cheeks.