Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails While Lying Down? (5 Reasons)

Cats can be difficult to understand at times. They aren’t always as transparent about their moods and feelings as a dog, but there are many ways that cats let you know how they are feeling with their behaviour. One such way is by tail movement.

Why do cats wag their tails while lying down? That’s a question that even today as scientists and people who genuinely want to understand cats still don’t know the answer to. Not all cats enjoy this habit, but it can be a common dominator for some.

However, here are five common reasons or factors that contribute to a cat chasin’ their tail:

1-Happiness or Contentment

When a cat thumps its tail on the floor or couch while lying down, it’s usually a sign that it’s a relaxed and content animal. However, if the cat happens to be sitting upright when it thumps its tail against the furniture, it could mean your pet is feeling playful!

That said, a wagging tail doesn’t always mean your cat wants you to come over and pet it. Cats are sometimes just comfortable being at ease either because they feel lazy that particular day or maybe they’re just not feeling social.


If a cat is lying on the floor and making large, slow circles with its tail, it could signify frustration. If you try to pet your cat when this happens, she may scratch you or turn and run away.

Cats can be feeling frustrated in many ways. You might have seen your cat grooming itself, fidgeting its tail, or otherwise straining its extremities. All these behaviours show that your cat is feeling particularly vexed about something.


Cats are just like dogs in the sense that if they’re wagging their tails and lying on their bellies, this could mean that they’re about to pounce.

This is similar to when a cat plays the “chase” game with you. Also, like dogs, cats will sometimes “wiggle their butts cheeks” when excited or playful.

Cats don’t always pounce immediately when they strike a ridiculous pose, but it is important to spend time with your pet and break out the cat toys together so that both you and your cat can have fun!


4-Discomfort or Pain

Cats are predators, but larger animals also threaten them, like dogs and coyotes. They tend to hide their Pain to avoid looking weak and drawing the attention of animals that could seek to kill them.

If your cat is wagging its tail very strangely, it may be in Pain. Many of the bodily signs of discomfort are hard to distinguish, and it’s difficult to tell if something is wrong or not.

You might notice strange behaviour instead, such as unusual aggression or hiding, changes in appetite, and restlessness. Maybe make an appointment with your local vet so you can have your cat checked out just to make sure.

5-Restful Sleep

You may notice that your cat’s tail is wagging while it appears to be deeply asleep, but this is common during slow-wave Sleep.

Your cat’s movements tend to be subtle and small during its slumber, but smaller muscles at the tip of the tail are still moving.

If your cat is in the middle of a dream and dreaming about playing or getting some fishy treats, their subconscious thoughts likely caused their tails to wag while they slept.


Cats wag their tails for various reasons, from happiness and playfulness to insecurity or even anger. In most circumstances, you will find yourself reading your cat’s tail wag by observing its body language and sounds.

If your cat is hissing or growling, then the tail wag may indicate an attempt to communicate assertiveness or dominance, given that it takes up such a significant portion of your cat’s silhouette as it walks around.

Also, if your cat is prowling with intent – low and quietly while stalking and planning his next move – this could also suggest that it is being aggressive by showing off its weapons (its teeth) without making a direct attack on you.

All of these clues will give you insight into what your cat wants to communicate when its tail flicks back and forth, so make sure you keep an eye out for them!

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