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Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails While Sleeping? 4 Possible Reasons

cat sleeping on its condo

Cats are difficult to understand since they do many things that people find out of the ordinary. For example, cats love wagging their tails even when asleep. They move in different ways and times, so it can be challenging to understand what it means.

Unlike dogs, tail wagging does not always communicate happy feelings. It can be either positive or negative, so it is essential to be keen on them so that you can understand what it means. This article will tell you all you need to know about a cat’s wagging tail.

Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails While Asleep?

It is unclear what is in cats’ minds when they wag their tails while sleeping since it is challenging to study this behavior. However, people believe that when your cat wags their tail when asleep, they are dreaming. It happens when they are deep asleep and are unlikely to wake up when something happens around them.

Cats not only wag their tails while sleeping but also when napping. This is usually to show that they are relaxed but attentive. If you happen to startle the cat at such a point, they may wake up and stop wagging their tail.

You may also notice the cat wagging their tail in a small, fast motion when they are touched while asleep. This is usually to warn the person from disturbing them. Also, it is a way of showing that they want to be left alone.

What a Cat Is Communicating with Its Tail

Cats wag their tails in different situations, and it is crucial to understand what they are communicating. You can determine this by watching the tail reaction, their body pose, and their eyes. The following are some of the feelings they show through their tails.

1. Happiness

cat wagging its tail while sleeping
Image Credit: photosforyou, Pixabay

There are various ways that the cat’s tail may wag, and this may communicate multiple things. For example, the following are some ways wagging tail may share different feelings.

Slow Back and Forth Wagging

This is usually a way to show that the cat is relaxed and happy. The tail will wag this way when around you or other cats in your home. This communicates a feeling of comfort and contentment.

You will also notice that the cat may rub their head on you or furniture during such times. This is a way of showing love and comfort in their spot. They may also wrap their tail around you, which is a show of affection.

Side to Side Wiggle

This is another way of showing that the cat is relaxed and in a playful mood. They may do this while standing and even while laying down. Do not be surprised if your cat playfully pounces on you and produces a light purr.

Slow-Twitch

Many cats will do this when they are happy but concentrating on something. For example, you will notice quick twitches of the tail when they are pretend hunting. However, the beliefs of many, this should not be a course for alarm since they are usually in a playful mood.


2. Aggression

cat sleeping outside
Image Credit: hapibu, Pixabay

It is normal for cats to feel aggression sometimes, while it is an everyday thing for others. An arched-up tail can communicate this with a slight curl close to the leg. It is a way of warning their aggressor before they pounce on them.

When the cat is furious, you will notice this tail arch, so it is best to withdraw if you are the aggressor. Likewise, if another cat makes your cat angry, you should remove them from that situation to avoid a fight.


3. Pain

orange cat sleeping on grass
Image Credit: ivabalk, Pixabay

It is difficult to identify that your cat is in pain since they are excellent at hiding this from everyone. However, you can see a slight twitch with a slow tail-flick when they are in pain. This is often accompanied by twitching of the eyes, especially when they blink when touched.


4. Fear

cat resting on roof
Image Credit: Felix Wolf, Pixabay

It is easy to identify that your cat is scared since its back hair will stand. Their tails will usually be erect in fear but in a way that also communicates aggression. Their eyes can also be wide open, and their bodies ready to attack immediately.

You may notice that their tail is also puffed up to double its regular width more than to show fear or when it is startled. This also happens to the hair on their back to their neck. They puff themselves up as a coping mechanism to avoid injury if attacked.

hepper cat paw divider

Final Thoughts

Cats are not the easiest animals to read, but they communicate in various ways using their bodies. It is easy to understand what they share if you pay more attention to your cat and how they react in different settings. It will also help you identify when your cat needs help, especially when they’re in pain or unwell.

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Featured Image Credit: Roy Buri, Pixabay