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So my cat Lilith likes to jump on my lap when I'm on the computer and just lay there. I've noticed after she stops her purring and gets settled in and everything, if I talk to her, her tail will twitch. Very hard. I've heard that means they're annoyed - does it mean she gets annoyed that I'm talking to her? I'm not even talking very loudly when I do it, so... :p I just thought it was funny and I wonder if she just wants me to shut up or what.
 

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I don't think she is annoyed. If she was annoyed I think she would get up and leave. Some cats thump their tails from excitement/happiness. My boys' tails will start waving around when I talk to them or pat them on the butt while they are curled up next to me. It isn't annoyance because they will usually roll around or mush-mush and ask (read meow) for more butt pats.
 

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Some cats just don't use the classic tail signs. My Rochelle flicks the tip of her tail...and thats it. Really. Very rarely she'll hold it straight up when she's really excited, but other than that...flicking the tail tip. When we first brought her home, I thought she was either really uncomfortable, scared, or annoyed, but in the 6 months we've owned her she's still done nothing but the tip of the tail flick. And I know that when she's getting petted in the spots she loves, or is being groomed with her favorite brush, or when she's kneading and purring, that she's not annoyed or scared, even when she's flicking the tip of her tail. She's just doesn't use her tail expressively.
 

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My girls will do that when they are excited and playing with each other...right before they pounce or anything that simulates hunting.
 

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My parents' old cat used to do that when she was annoyed, but Apollo does it all the time when he's being playful. For him, it means he's all excited/all worked up about something.
 

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Is it a tail quiver? If so, that's a sign of excitement. Murphy does that every night when he's excited that we're home from work and giving him treats on the kitchen counter.
 

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I think her tail-thump is just her reaction to your voice. To determine if she is reacting positively or negatively ... what is the rest of her body language saying?

Our Louie *thrashes* his tail. I swear, his tail is only still when he's fully asleep. In all other cats, that much movement in a tail means Ouchy-Bleedy is about to occur! But not in Louie, it simply seems to be his 'happy-meter' and while I still find myself *feeling* wary of that much movement in a cats' tail ... I know it is *Louie* and is just his way of saying how happy he is.

It's all about learning what your individual cats' language is.
 

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It's all about learning what your individual cats' language is.
It's really funny how much it differs from cat to cat! I thought I knew all the "cat mood signs" from my parents' old cat, but these guys showed me I only knew her behavior signs!

Apollo is so expressive with his tail. It displays dozens of different moods and is always waving about wildly for most of them. It's like a furry snake, always undulating and waving in different ways.

Athena on the other hand doesn't quite seem to have her tail figured out. It has two positions: up and down. She usually keeps it totally straight and just lets it follow her without doing much else with it. My boyfriend calls it "her little rat tail" because that is kind of what it looks like. XD She has a skinny little pointed tail while Apollo's is more poofy with a blunter tip.
 

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I think her tail-thump is just her reaction to your voice. To determine if she is reacting positively or negatively ... what is the rest of her body language saying?

Our Louie *thrashes* his tail. I swear, his tail is only still when he's fully asleep. In all other cats, that much movement in a tail means Ouchy-Bleedy is about to occur! But not in Louie, it simply seems to be his 'happy-meter' and while I still find myself *feeling* wary of that much movement in a cats' tail ... I know it is *Louie* and is just his way of saying how happy he is.

It's all about learning what your individual cats' language is.
That's interesting that not every cat follows the Rulebook of Tail Movement. :) One of my little rituals (which I thought only I enjoyed) is finding Murphy on his queen-sized bed and saying goodnight to him. Every single time, I pet him and his tail starts thumping. I assumed that meant he wasn't into it, so I stopped doing it. Now you're saying he could just be different? I'm glad, if so.
 

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Every single time, I pet him and his tail starts thumping. I assumed that meant he wasn't into it, so I stopped doing it. Now you're saying he could just be different? I'm glad, if so.
Its the same with dogs. Most wag their tails because their happy. I knew one that wagged his tail only when he was about to bite.
 

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This is pretty interesting. Both my cats move their tail around almost non-stop. So much that I just take it as normal if it's moving. But I can see if Miu is very happy because she holds it up vertically like a flag and waves it about. Other than that, I can't really tell either of their emotions from the tail movement.
 

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My girls only thump their tail when they're playing with each other...but my "grand-kitty", Neko, always shakes his tail when he's excited.
 
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