HA- I can always tell when mine are upset and grumpy- especially if it's something someone is doing- the tail slams up and down- side to side. BAM BAM BAM ;) There might even be a growl if who is doing it doesn't stop.
I haven't paid much attention when they aren't upset. Hmmm
Jade will twitch her tail when she's annoyed.
However, she will THUMP her tail like Ali is describing when she is playing and wound up. Yep, BAM BAM BAM. So funny!
Yeah. I think my husband gets her goat a little. I think he doesn't respond to her the way she wants him to & to show him she's like bam bam bam.
He always thought it was like a dog & she's happy. Then I said. Nope your ticking her off! He talks to her & says, " look at that tail go!". It makes her do it more!! Ha ha lol.
The traditional explanation is that a cat lashes its tail when annoyed, and I could verify that in some of my cats. But my most indulged boy actually is a lasher at times when he definitely is not displeased. Like, he comes in out of the cold and I pet him and give him a combing. Or he curls up in my lap and purrs. Lash, lash, lash. I think he does it when he is when he is very intent, or thinking things over. I'm glad to have had this experience, because in a lifetime of kitties I've never seen one talk so much with his tail.
The majority of the time when a cat is swishing her tail, she is definitely annoyed or irritated. Often there is a facial expression of annoyance, too, and sometimes the ears go back. If the cat is also growling, someone's husband better get a clue, because that cat may just decide to jump at him and give him what for. And, I would say that he would deserve it for not listening to the cat or her body language.
I actually find it annoying when people want to compare cats and dogs as if cats should be just like dogs just because they're also common household pets. They just aren't the same. It's like comparing apples with oranges. And, the whole dog v cat thing really gets old, too. They're just different, and that's all there is about that silly subject. One is not better than the other, and many people have both dogs and cats in their households. But, the body language of cats is not going to be the same as it is for dogs. Besides, dogs are in the canine family of animals, and cats are in the feline family of animals. You wouldn't compare a wolf with a cougar, right?