Why does my cat raise its tail when I pet it?

Every time you indulge in a cuddling session with your cat, it’s the same thing: it pointedly lifts their tail to show you their butt. Sometimes it even turns around so you have a bird’s eye view of their backside. But why is it doing this? 

A sexual message? 

As you know, the language of cats is particularly complex to interpret for us humans, unlike that of dogs. However, once you have all the elements in hand to decode their body language, everything becomes clearer. This is the case here with this strange habit that your cat has of raising its tail during your petting.

One could think that it is a movement of a sexual nature, the caress giving them pleasure. It would then have the reflex to lift their tail to expose their genitals, a sign that it is ready to welcome a partner. In reality, it is nothing. Your cat actually wants to send you a very different message.

Above all, a mark of trust

If you look closely, your cat does not adopt this behavior with anyone, and even less with a stranger. And for good reason, the fact of raising their tail straight up when petting means, in their language, that it trusts you and that it feels safe with you. It’s a mark of affection, in short.

In reality, your caresses remind them of the gestures of affection their mother showed them when it was still a kitten. Indeed, the latter had the habit of grooming them and cuddling them. In addition, it licked their anus to help them evacuate their needs. This may therefore explain why your hairball tends to show its buttocks, as a kind of reflex from its earliest childhood.

A way to say hello

If your cat has a habit of raising its tail when it comes to greet you at the door when you come home, this is its way of greeting you. Indeed, with this gesture, it discovers their anal and perianal glands. However, these glands give off an identifiable odor which is specific to each cat and which allows them to recognize each other. This smell indeed contains a lot of information about the feline that produces it.

So of course, you can’t smell this particular smell, but the cats between them can. And your cat, even if it knows full well that you are not aware of this common practice among felines, adopts this behavior again by pure reflex. Because don’t forget, in cats it is instinct that speaks above all.

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