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Saturday: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
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 1642 Jefferson Street South, Athens, AL 35611 (256) 232-0698

Cat Tails: More Than Meets the Eye

A short-hair, stripped cat with a curled tail, raises a skeptical eye

The feline species comes equipped with some pretty phenomenal capabilities. They can jump up to six times their length, have the largest eyes of any mammal relative to their head size, and have two times as many neurons in the cerebral cortex than dogs. What’s more, they use their whiskers to feel their world around them, and among their 230 bones, the collarbone isn’t connected to other bones, allowing them to squeeze into – and out of – tight spots. 

Cat tails are another aspect of a cat’s incredible anatomy. Their tails help them balance when walking narrow ledges or jumping to high spots, but they are also employed to communicate some of their deepest feelings.

Important, But Not Critical

Amazingly, cats can live without their tails. The Manx breed, for example, are born without them. Even if a cat’s tail is amputated, they figure out ways to compensate for the loss. 

That being said, it is much easier to understand a cat’s mood or feelings via the wide expressions of the tail.

What It All Means

Kneading is just one feline behavior that is straightforward. They do it when they feel super content and comfortable, and owners can relish that fact. Remember, they are good for our health, so when we see that they are happy, we delight in this and feel the stress melt away.

The Bigger Picture

Truly supporting feline wellness at home involves dedicated attempts to understand their behaviors, personalities and proclivities. To that end, we think it’s essential to observe cat tails that usually mean the following:

  • Up and down – A cat that walks around with their tail held straight up and down is feeling really good about life. They may be heading toward their newly filled food bowl, or watching their favorite person return home. 
  • Toward the ground – This can indicate a stalking behavior or general unease about their environment, but it can also show neutrality. Watch carefully for other signs, like pinned back ears, squinted eyes, and hunched shoulders. 
  • Puffy – Cats puff up their tails to appear larger to potential threats. 
  • Quivering – Cat tails can shake, shimmy and vibrate to show absolute affection and admiration for their preferred person. If that’s you, congratulations! There are few compliments more genuine than quivering cat tails!
  • Whipping – Watch out for a low-slung cat tail that swishes from side to side. While this can be a sign of predatory play they may be agitated or feeling aggressive in this posture. Watch for flicking or whipping, too.
  • Question mark – A vertical tail with a slight curve at the top shows inquisitiveness or friendliness. 
  • Curved around – When seated with the tail curved around the body, a cat may feel nervous, insecure, or submissive.

Cat Tails Speak Volumes

Town & Country Animal Hospital is committed to helping cat owners know and understand their cats as best as they can. In this process, trust is earned and the bond can grow between them. 

If you have further questions about cat tails and their many possible meanings, please let us know. Until then, happy feline de-coding!