If you were to sit and watch your cat for any amount of time, it would appear that their tails have a mind of their own.
Whether it’s swishing from side to side when you play with them, or seeing their tail go straight up when they walk across the room, or even thumping around when they sit down.
This will of course make you wonder whether cats can control their own tails, or whether the tails do in fact have a mind of their own.
So, can cats control their tails?
That’s the question that we are going to try and answer for you today! By reading our article, you will learn more about how exactly a cat controls their tail.
So even though it may appear as if your cat’s tail has a mind of its own, it is all down to your cat in terms of how it moves!
Let’s take a look at how cats move their tails.
Do Cats Consciously Control Their Tails?
Yes, cats do consciously control their tails. Even though it may appear as if your cat’s tail is acting of its own accord, there is actually a lot of work behind the scenes.
This is because your cat’s tail is made up of lots of muscle and ligaments, which your feline friend uses to move their tail around at will.
This is especially important when your cat is walking along high areas where they need to balance themselves.
Their tail is designed to work as a balance aid, so that they can walk along narrow areas, jump around the place, and generally keep their balance as they move around.
The tail works to maintain balance as they walk, which is a conscious decision on your cat’s part.
If you’re thinking about when your cat is lying around, swishing their tail, this is also a conscious decision. This is because your cat will also move their tail to display behavior or mood.
Similar to how we control our facial expressions to show different emotions, your cat will do this with their tail.
Do Cats Move Their Tails On Purpose?
Yes, cat’s do move their tails on purpose! If you see your cat moving their tail as they walk along a narrow surface or along fencing, this is because they are using their tail to counteract their weight as they walk.
If your cat didn’t have a tail to help them do this, then they wouldn’t be half as well balanced as they are in tricky spots.
Thinking about the way your cat’s tail swishes from side to side sometimes when they’re sat down? This is simply your cat’s way of expressing their emotions. Some cats use these movements to show when they are irritated and wish to be left alone.
Do Cats Have Feeling In Their Tails?
Yes, cats do have feeling in their tails. Their tails are an extension of their spine, so they will be able to feel everything that happens to them in this area of their body. This bone is of course then covered in muscles, ligaments, and skin, which will all have feeling.
You may notice that your cat isn’t able to feel as much if you were to stroke the fur part of their tail - but if you were to contact the skin directly, or something were to happen to the muscles or bone in their tail - they would definitely feel it.
In fact, your cat’s tail is arguably the most sensitive part of their entire body. If they were to suffer damage to their tail or the nerves in their tail, this could then affect other parts of their health and how their bodies work.
For example, their balance would most noticeably be affected.
Why Do Cats Thump Their Tails When Lying Down?
So just as we have briefly mentioned above, your cat will use their tail to show their emotions and how they are feeling. Unlike dogs, cats don’t tend to wag their tails.
So if you notice your cat starts to move their tail when you are playing with them - it’s time to be wary.
This is your cat’s way of saying that they have had enough playtime, are feeling overstimulated, and need a bit of time to themselves.
As we’re sure that you’re aware, if you were to keep trying to play with your cat when they have started thumping or swishing their tails, then they will send another message with a thwack from their paw.
It’s important to read your cat’s body language like this so that you know when they need a bit of alone time. Unlike people, cat’s aren’t overly big on physical affection, so will need a bit of a time out every now and then.
So there you have it! You now know that yes, cats can control their tails. Even though it can sometimes appear as if their tails are doing their own thing, your cat is fully in control of what they are doing with their tails.
This is because their tails are made up of lots of muscles and ligaments, which help them to move the tail as needed.
Your cat typically uses their tail to help them balance when walking along narrow surfaces or leaping through the air. The tail can also be used to convey emotion, similar to how we humans show emotion using our facial expressions.
It will be important to read your cat’s body language so that you know when they’ve had enough play time and need to be left alone for a while.
The tail is arguably the most sensitive part of your cat’s body. So if something were to happen to your cat’s tail, this will then affect their overall balance, and could have health implications.
If you notice that your cat’s tail has suffered damage in any way, you will need to take them to your vet.
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.