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The Mystery of Why Cats Slap with Their Tails

Cats Slap

Have you ever been minding your own business, only to have your cat come up to you and give you a good whack with his tail? It’s not exactly a gentle love tap; more like a full-on attack. So, why do cats do this? Let’s explore a few possible reasons.

Possible Reasons Why Cats Slap with Their Tails

Reason #1: They’re angry or frustrated.

Cats are notoriously independent creatures, so it’s not uncommon for them to get angry or frustrated when they feel like they’re being ignored or mistreated. If your cat has been giving you the cold shoulder lately, he may be taking it out on you by slapping you with his tail.

Reason #2: They’re trying to tell you something.

Cats communicate through body language, and tail-slapping is one way they can get their message across. For example, if your cat is swatting at your hand while you’re petting him, he may be trying to tell you that he’s had enough and wants you to stop. Pay attention to the context in which your cat is tail-slapping and see if you can figure out what he’s trying to say.

Reason #3: They’re in heat.

If your cat is female and of reproductive age, she may be slapping you with her tail as a way of attracting your attention (and perhaps that of other potential mates). If this is the case, she’ll likely also be spraying urine around the house in an attempt to mark her territory. If your cat seems unusually affectionate or agitated, it’s possible she’s in heat and seeking some relief.

Reason #4: Your Cat May Be Showing Affection

One reason that your cat may be swatting you with his tail is that he is trying to show you affection. When cats rub their bodies against each other or against objects, they are leaving their scent behind. This is called bunting. When a cat swats you with his tail, he is essentially trying to mark you as his own. He is also trying to show you affection in the same way that he would if he were rubbing up against you. If your cat swatting you with his tail is accompanied by purring or meowing, then this is likely the reason why he is doing it.

Reason #5: Your Cat May Be Playing With You

In some cases, your cat may simply be playing with you when he slaps you with his tail. Cats are natural hunters, and their tails help them balance when they are stalking their prey. When a cat swats at something with his tail, it’s called lashing. Some cats enjoy playing a game of “tail lashing” with their owners by swiping at them lightly with their tails. If your cat seems to be enjoying himself when he does this, then there’s no need to worry; just enjoy the playtime with your feline friend!


There’s no one definitive answer as to why cats slap with their tails, but there are a few possible explanations. Next time your feline friend decides to use you as a pinata, take a step back and try to understand what he might be trying to tell you.