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The Tail of the Cat! Tail Positions and What They Mean!
Cats are amazing animals. It's no wonder that they are popular pets (just ask one of the millions of cat owners around the world!). It is no secret that cats have a language all their own. Some cats are incredibly vocal while others barely meow at all. Yes, it is true, cats make many different sounds in order to communicate (hiss, meow or even growl) but they also communicate using their bodies as well.
A cat's tail does many things; however, its main purpose is balance (it helps keep kitty on all four paws!). Getting along with and caring for your kitten or cat is much easier to do if you know how to read the signs that his or her tail is sending! Pay attention my cat loving friends, knowing how to read your cat's tail could one day come in handy (and even prevent a scratch or two!).
The Tail Tells The Tale!
Think of your cat's tail as a barometer…a mood barometer to be exact. Just as a dog can send signals with its tail, a cat can too! When a cat's tail is hoisted high and proud that means he is happy and confident. A tail that is high and erect means he is content and willing to spend some time with you. If you are ever approached by a cat and his tail is standing tall, he is happy to see you! Let the bonding commence!
Cats are playful creatures. They love attention (most of the time) and enjoy bonding and playing with their owners. If your cat approaches you with his tail in what is called "the question mark" position (which is standing tall but slightly bent like a question mark) kitty is ready to play so get out the cat teasers and jingle bell balls! If your cat's tail is in the "low" position…quick, put away the cat teaser as kitty DOES NOT want to play! Danger! Danger! When a cat's tail is flying low it usually means that he is in an aggressive mood and you should proceed with caution. Of course, certain breeds such as Persians, Exotics and Scottish Folds normally carry their tails low or straight down…so they are the exception to this rule.
Whip It! Whip It Good!
While we are discussing DANGEROUS tail scenarios, I must warn you about tail whipping. When a cat whips his tail back and forth in a rapid manner…run for the hills. Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, however, it should be a warning that is taken some-what seriously. When a cat whips his tail it indicates that he is very afraid and will attack (or show aggression) if necessary. It is best to stay away from a cat that is whipping his tail in a frantic manner until he has calmed down.
A puffed tail is also an indicator of fear, however, it is not as quite as dangerous as a whipping tail. A puffed tail (sort of looks like a puffed up pipe cleaner) means that your cat is very agitated and frightened. A cat puffs his tail in order to look "big and bad." Most of the time, a cat with a puffed tail just looks cute and well, for lack of better words…puffy. No matter how cute a cat with a puffed tail may look….proceed with caution as puffy tails can lead to whipping which can lead to…well, you being attacked by a cat. Get my drift?
A cat that completely tucks his tail under his body is usually frightened and going into a submissive state. In other words…."I'm afraid and I'm going to bow down to you." A tucked tail is an indication that kitty is very nervous, so again, proceed with cat-like caution. A swishing tail, on the other paw, oops, I mean hand, usually means that the cat is incredibly focused. Whether it be a mouse, bumble bee or your face….a tail swishing from side to side means that kitty is about to pounce…so watch out! Swishing is all part of a cat's predatory behavior and is totally normal.
Finally if you see two cats sitting side by side and one of the cats has their tail wrapped around the other…well, this means that they are best buddies. It is equivalent to two humans with their arms around each other. Personally, I have never seen this, however, it sounds too darn cute for words! Caring for your kitten or cat is much easier to do when you know how to read your cat's body language. Your cat will appreciate being left alone when he is angry and enjoy being played with when he's "in the mood." Cats are wonderful, independent, loving pets. The more you know about your cat and his body language, the better! MEOW!