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Pet Doctor

March 31, 1985|ANNA P. CLARKE DVM

Q: My cat frequently wags its tail. Does this indicate happiness and recognition the same way it does in dogs?

A: Cats do not use their tails the way dogs do. If a cat's tail moves vigorously, it ususally indicates excitement or annoyance. Tail wagging accompanied by dilated pupils may signal an attack. Some cats enjoy roughhouse games with their owners and will display such behavior before engaging in a mock attack--an assault without the use of teeth or claws. Relaxed cats move their tail gently and slowly; often only the tip of the tail moves. Cats that greet owners or ask for food usually run around the owner's feet and hold the tail straight up with little movement. Most cats accompany this behavior with some vocalizing.

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