Why Do Cats Shake Or Vibrate Their Tails? Here’s Why, With Examples

Even for experienced pet parents, it can be somewhat hard to understand a cat’s mood and needs. Cats communicate majorly through vocalization or body language.

But even though your kitty does not have an issue with getting its point across through meows, chirps and yowls, the simple fact that you do not speak meow makes communication difficult. So all you can do is monitor your precious feline companion to understand its body language.

The tail position is one of the most expressive aspects of a feline’s body language. Unless you’re a pet parent to a bob-tailed breed like the Pixie-Bob or the Highlander, you can learn a whole lot just by taking note of the way your cat moves or positions its tail in different circumstances. 

The most interesting out of the several ways a cat can move its tail is vibrating or shaking (don’t confuse this with wagging).

Whenever cats shake their tails, they are expressing a range of emotions. The vibrating/shaking can affect the tip or even the entire tail. It often happens when the tail is slightly bent at the tip or facing upwards.

So What Does It Mean When Your Cat Is Shaking Its Tail And Why Do They Do It?

Based on the circumstance and the cat’s immediate environment, it can give off positive or negative emotions. Below are the basic feelings a kitty with a vibrating/shaking tail is experiencing:

Happy And Excited Cats Are Tail Shakers

The shaking tail often signifies negative emotions, but every rule has exceptions. In other words, it might be that your cat is happy or excited when its tail is shaking/vibrating.

 Tail shaking can happen if you own a dog-like loyal cat and its approaching you to welcome you whenever you arrive home. If its tail is upright with a vibrating tip, it clearly shows excitement, whether an inanimate object, a human being or even an animal is the reason.

You might also catch your feline furball doing this tail movement whenever it is sitting on the window perch while its attention is glued to something outside.

Another common scenario in which the shaking tail shows excitement is when you open a new can of cat food in the same moment that your cat is coming towards its food bowl as you pour it in.


My cat often stands in the kitchen and vibrates her tail whenever I bring home a little package of treats for her.

The hyperactive tail of your feline furball is the most expressive aspect of its body language.

Other expressive fragments include its sitting/standing/lying positions, its ears and eyes, etc. No matter the circumstance, it is essential to monitor the body language of your furball. Learning how to read its body language will enable you to understand your kitty’s needs, emotions and even possible reactions to its environment.

Your Cat May Be Angry and Annoyed

Anything can annoy a cat. The easiest way to upset your feline pet is to not pay enough attention to it or go to the extreme to get it to do what you want. 

If you notice that your cat shakes or vibrate its tail during long play sessions, it’s a sign that you should leave it alone already. 

Trying too hard to get it to do tricks or petting and hugging it excessively will get your pet annoyed. Stay alert from tail shaking when children or house guests are trying to play with your cat. Quickly stopping their attempts at bonding with your feline pet can prevent your cat from displaying any aggressive behavior. 

As the kitty’s annoyance heightens, the vibrating will turn into rapid tail whipping. If the cat’s tail or the fur on the rest of its body bristles, you need to give it time and space to get calm.

Could Be Anxiety and Restlessness

Whenever the upper part of your feline’s tail is vibrating or shaking, it signifies that something is getting your feline furball anxious. Several things can trigger this restless mood- even a simple thing as being unable to find its favorite cat toy.

Cats possess notably heightened senses; hence, they can sense things that we humans can’t. So your feline companion’s anxiety could be as a result of a noise you did not hear or an odor that you cannot perceive.

If the cat stays in an apartment or a house with a noisy family, it can develop chronic anxiety, over time. Also, it can start to develop some health problems caused by stress. Some cats are suitable for large families, but others are not that laid-back.

If the tail of your feline furball is regularly vibrating, consider making the cat’s space /room more comfortable and noiseless.