As a ragdoll cat owner, one thing you’ve likely noticed is how much they wag their tails.
But why do they do it? And is it something only ragdolls do?
For ragdoll cats specifically, tail-wagging usually means one of two things: either they are feeling especially relaxed or extremely agitated. The wagging of tails is not unique to ragdoll cats, however – all cats can do it and they do so for a variety of reasons.
Ragdolls tend to be very loving and docile animals, so wagging can indicate that they are content in their environment and are ready for some attention or play.
It can also mean they’re seeking comfort, such as when they curl up on your lap or snuggle with you in bed.
Tail-wagging can also be a sign of agitation or stress in cats.
If you notice your ragdoll’s tail wagging rapidly, it could mean they are feeling threatened or scared.
When this happens, it’s best to remove whatever the source of their fear or annoyance is and give them space.
4 reasons why ragdoll cats wag their tails
Ragdoll cats wag their tails for many different reasons, but there are four key ones that stand out above the rest.
If your ragdoll is shaking its tail, it’s likely due to one of these things.
1. They’re feeling relaxed and content
Ragdolls are naturally happy-go-lucky cats who love chilling out and having their own space.
I’ll often find my ragdoll, Poppie, lying on a rug or on the couch (or even perched up high on a shelf sometimes) with her tail gently wagging from side to side.
When she does this, it’s a sign she’s completely content and at peace – and I know not to interrupt her by trying to hold her, or play games with her, and ruin her Zen-like mood.
2. They’re seeking attention or looking for comfort
When they’re in the right mood, ragdolls love to be cuddled or given scratches under their chin or on their belly.
One of they ways they encourage this is by wagging their tails – if they’re purring at the same time, then usually it’s a green light to start showing them affection.
If they try to push you away, though, their wagging tail may mean they’re becoming agitated and if this happens it’s best to stop.
3. They are feeling excited and playful
Another reason your ragdoll might be wagging his or her tail is because they want to play games.
Ragdolls are often described as ‘puppy-like’ due to their similar personality to some dog breeds – including their ability to play fetch and not clinging to you 24/7.
Some great games to play include throwing them toys (whether it a soft mouse or yarn ball), running a laser pointer along the ground for them to chase, or even hide and seek, which is a personal favourite of my own pet ragdoll.
4. They are feeling agitated or fearful
One of the main reasons your ragdoll will wag their tail is due to agitation, fear or discomfort.
For example, if my ragdoll isn’t in the mood to be petted, she will absolutely let me know by wagging her tail aggressively and pushing me away with her paws.
Similarly, ragdolls may wag their tail if confronted or threatened by other animals, which is why it’s important to keep your cat separated if ever you have friends or family bring their own pets (especially dogs) around to your house while visiting.
Other body language including pinned back ears or growling, when coupled with tail wagging, is usually a sign your cat is unhappy.
Why do ragdoll cats wag their tails laying down?
Ragdoll cats are known for their relaxed and laid-back attitude, so when they wag their tails while laying down it usually means they are feeling especially content. They may be seeking your attention or comfort, or simply enjoying the moment of relaxation.
You’ll often find your ragdoll sprawled out on the end of a bed, couch or rug, gently wagging their tail while watching things happen around them.
Paying attention to the context of their body language can give you further insight into what they are feeling.
For example, if their ears are back, it may indicate that they’re feeling threatened or scared.
By contrast, if they’re purring, it likely suggests they’re very happy and content.
Ragdoll cats have a wonderful way of expressing themselves through body language, to complement their vocal cues.
Tail-wagging is often a sign of happiness, relaxation and contentment – but it can also be a sign of fear or agitation when accompanied by other indicators of distress.
Knowing why your ragdoll wags its tail can help you better understand and cater to their needs, and the best way to do this is by assessing their body language, as described above.
Doing so will help you determine when their tail-wagging is an invitation for cuddles, or a warning to give them space.