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Why Do Savannah Cats Wag Their Tails?

Savannah cats, because they are hybrids of domesticated cats and servals, sometimes have somewhat different characteristics than your average cat. One thing to do share with their domestic cousins is that they wag their tails, but many are unsure why.

Savannah cats can wag their tails when they’re happy and excited, much like dogs do. They can also show their happiness by fluffing the base of their tail. Often, Savannah cats will greet their owners and others by wagging their tails too. 

However, wagging their tail is not the only way Savannah cats can show their emotions. There are certain tail movements that can help you understand your Savannah’s emotions. It’s always important to be able to understand your cat’s moods, so let’s take a closer look at why they wag their tails.

Do Savannah Cats Wag Their Tails When Happy?

A cat’s tail can signal major emotions and whether your cat is scared, content, or very happy. With Savannah cats, however, there are a few differences in how they act, and how their tail can move. Because Savannah cats are hybrids between domestic and Serval cats, there are a few differences when compared to purely domestic cats.

Usually A Good Sign

For the most part, a Savannah will wag its tail when it is happy. In fact, many Savannah owners have noticed that their cat wags their tail when happy and excited, much like a dog does. Savannahs are also known to greet you at the door when you come home, their tail wagging, just like a dog.

So, if you see your Savannah cat wagging their tail and looking up at you, this usually means they are happy. They can also show their pleasure by fluffing the base of their tail, something they often do as a happy greeting. Savannahs have many similarities with dogs, and these tail movements are just one great example.

Tail Flicking

Savannahs can also flick their tail when they are happy, something that domesticated cats can also do. You’ll also see these quick flicking motions when a cat is on the hunt or playing, two things that Savannah cats also love to do! These flicking and twitching motions are also often seen when your cat is window watching and surveying a bird or animal outside.

So, for the most part, if your Savannah cat is wagging or flicking their tail in any way, they’re a happy cat. No need to worry here! And, if they’re fluffing the base of their tail, this is their interesting way to say hello and greet you, as well as others they like.

They’re Not Scared

Don’t mistake this fluffing as a sign that they’re scared (something that other cats do). When they are scared, cats can fluff their fur on their back and their tail, rather than just the base of their tail. But don’t worry, we’ll detail how Savannahs show when they’re scared below.

Do Savannah Cats Wag Their Tails When Mad?

Usually Not

For the most part, Savannah cats do not wag their tails when they’re mad. As we’ve discussed above, Savannah cats’ tails can be constantly moving and wagging, and this tends to mean they’re quite happy and excited. If your Savannah is mad or getting aggressive, they’ll let you know in other ways.

Savannahs still have characteristics in common with domesticated cats. For example, when cats are mad and about to get aggressive, there are two common tail movements they can do. If you see your cat’s tail arched upwith the tip of their tail turned down, twitching, this could be a sign that they’re about to attack.

Pointing Straight Up

A tail that is standing straight up on end and fluffed can also be a sign that your cat is mad and about to get aggressive. These common traits can also be seen in Savannahs. Often times, however, you won’t see these movements for long, as potentially aggressive cats will attack quickly, rather than let you survey their tail movements for too long!

They Might Hiss

A clear way to understand when your Savannah is mad is to listen to them. Just like domesticated cats can do when scared or angry, Savannahs will hiss when they’re severely displeased. However, this hiss is slightly different from your average cat and sounds almost more like a wild animal or snake. They definitely get this hiss from their serval side!

Savannahs can hiss when they’re angry and about to attack, or when they’re scared (just like other cats). If you hear this hiss, it’s best to step away and give your Savannah room to breathe and calm down, or eliminate the person, animal, or situation that is causing your cat so much stress.

Do Savannah Cats Wag Their Tails When Scared?

Savannahs may be hybrids of domesticated cats and servals, and they may act a bit like dogs, and they may seem much larger than your average cat, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also get scared. Everyone has something they’re frightened of, and if you own a Savannah or are looking to adopt one, it’s vital that you know the signs of a scared Savannah.

Fluffed Up Fur

Just like with domesticated cats, Savannahs will fluff the fur along their back and their tail if they are truly scared. It’s very easy to notice the difference between this reaction of fear versus how they fluff the base of their tail in a happy greeting (which we discussed above).

Arched Back

When they’re greeting you, they only fluff the base of their tail. When they’re scared, you’ll see their fur on their back and on their tail fluff up. You’ll also likely see them arch their back, their fur looking like it’s standing straight up, when they’re scared. Many theorize that all cats do this when they’re frightened, as they try to look like they’re bigger than their predator.

Your Savannah cat will often do this when they are immediately frightened by something, such as another animal or person. Scary situations can also make them hide or try to leave the room (just like other cats). Even really big Savannah cats can get scared and seem skittish over certain things, so it’s important to look out for these signs.

Keep Them Calm

If you realize that your Savannah is scared over something, calmly help them understand that they’re not under threat. You can either remove them from the situation, pet them or hold them to help calm them down, or remove the scary person, animal or item from their vicinity until they calm down.

Final Thoughts

If your Savannah cat is wagging its tail, it is probably happy. They will often greet you wagging their tails, but they use their tail to show anger and fear too. While a hiss is the best sign that your Savannah cat is angry, if their entire tail is fluffed up, along with the hair on their back, they are likely scared.