My Cat Wags Its Tail When I Pet Him – Explained

Cats are very affectionate animals and love to be pampered by human friends, and you may wonder why your cat wags its tail when you pet him.

They wag their tails when petting because they enjoy the attention, especially if given a gentle stroke or pet on their head, neck, or back.

If you want your cat to be fond of you, you must give them lots of attention.

Why Does My Cat Wag His Tail When I Pet Him

You might have noticed a time when you gently pet your cat, and it reacts by wagging its tail.

The tail wagging could mean it is overstimulated, happy, or even annoyed.

This article explains what causes a cat’s tail to wag when stroked or petted.

Reasons Why A Cat Wagging Its Tail When Petted

1. Sign Of Love

When petted, a cat wags its tail to show that it likes people.

It does this so that other cats will notice how much it loves people and that they would like to get close to them.

Cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, and they are one of the most popular pets in the world today.

They are also brilliant enough to understand human language.

So, if you talk to your cat, he understands every word you say.

He may not respond verbally but shows his understanding through body language.

2. A Sign For You To Back Off

He might start growling at you if you try to pet him too long.

It means that he doesn’t like you touching him.

A cat’s tail held straight up and puffed out is the universal cat sign for a frightened or aggressive cat.

It is easy to read this since it isis often accompanied by hissing, growling, or showing off her teeth.

To avoid getting scratched or bitten, you should stop petting him as soon as he shows signs of aggression.

A fluffed tail with an arched back means” back off” or “leave me alone!”

It could also mean, “I’m not too fond of that kind of petting.”

It is commonly seen in older cats.

3. Stressed, Nervous Or Submissive Cat

When a cat feels stressed, nervous or submissive, he will tuck his tail between its legs.

It is a typical behavior seen in cats who feel threatened.

Cats do this mainly to protect themselves from any possible threat. However, he will also use its claws to scratch his fur and skin.

Also, when a cat wags his tail while being petted, it signifies he feels submissive.

The reason why he does this is that he knows that you are stronger than him.

So, to avoid fights, he must submit to you and let you control him.

4. It Is A Sign Of Happiness

A cat’s high tail with a quick quivering motion can mean, “I’m so happy to see you!”

Cats mostly wag their tails when they feel happy.

Their tails act as antennae that pick up signals from their environment.

So, whenever they feel happy, they waggle their tails and send positive vibes into the air around them.

Cats can wag their tails, too, when they’re happy.

But they don’t always do it because they want to be friendly.

Some cats wag their tails when someone comes into their house, but others wag them when they see something interesting outside.

For example, a cat might wag its tail if it sees a dog walking by.

A cat may wag its tail when it sees an unfamiliar person coming near.

When playing, cats may wag their tails more energetically, swishing them from side to side.

Your cat may do this when chasing the feather wand you’re holding and is more likely to do this if it feels threatened.

If your cat is playing, it is less likely to wag its tail.

My Cat Wags His Tail When I Pet Him

5. They Feel Threatened Or Startled By Your Petting

Some cats wag their tails in response to being petted.

It happens when they are unexpectedly startled or threatened.

They will curl up their tail and arch them upwards in response to this.

A cat might also puff its fur up to look more prominent and scarier as a warning signal for you to stay away.

6. It Is A Way Of Saying Thank You

If you pet your cat, he will probably wag his tail.

However, if he does not wag his tail, it could mean he is angry with you.

He has no idea that you are trying to make him happy.

So, if you want to express gratitude to your cat, you should always pet your cat before doing anything else.

7. It Is A Sign Of Affection

If your cat wags his tail, then it means that he likes you.

He is telling you that he wants to be friends with you, and you should pay attention to what your cat is trying to say.

It could be a sign that he needs some love and care.

8. A Sign Of Irritation

Sometimes, cats might get irritated when we pat them on the head.

They may even start to scratch us.

It happens because they think that we are hurting them.

So, if your cat starts to scratch you when you pet him, you should stop immediately.

9. Feeling Good

When your cat wags his tail, it shows he is feeling good.

It is because he is happy about being petted.

A confident and relaxed cat will hold her tail high in the air, proudly displaying the entire length of her tail.

10. Suspicious, Scared, Or Aggressive

A cat wags its tail when it feels suspicious, scared, aggressive, and worried.

Your cat may be thinking about attacking you.

So, if your feline friend is wagging his tail while looking at you, it could signify that your cat is ready for a fight.

When a cat holds her tail straight and points toward the ground, it is defensive because she thinks you will attack her.

It can be hard sometimes to tell because many cats, especially Persian species, walk with their tails in this position, even when relaxing.

If you know your cat that well, you’ll be able to spot this behavior by its stiff tail and tense, guarded body.

11. Your Cat Feels Confident

If you are petting your cat while you’re playing with it, hanging a cat toy in front of its face, you may notice your cat wagging its tail.

It could be that as it keeps on wagging its tail, it will leap on the toy, successfully grab it, and play with it with its paws.

In that sense, your car feels confident about getting the toy while you are petting it.

12. Your Cat Feels Secure

While petting your cat during a time of rest, and you find that it wags its tail while you’re at it, your cat is probably telling you that it feels secure.

If this is the case, feel free to continue petting your cat, as if telling it that you care and can trust you.

In return, your cat will be more accommodating whenever you pet it and even let you have more petting time that it usually allows.


The tail of a cat is an interesting part of its anatomy.

There are so many different reasons why a cat might wag its tail.

Some cats wag their tails when they are excited, others when they are frightened, and others when they are just curious.

Don’t worry if your cat wags their tail when you pet them.

Just remember that there are many reasons why your cat might do this.