If you have ever seen a cat’s tail puff up, it looks super cute. But, why do they do this? Cats do this for many reasons, and some may be shocking. Often, they do this because they are excited, angry, or scared.
Cats are one of the most expressive domesticated animals, and you will typically know if your cat is grumpy or excited, all by the look of their tails, face, and body language.
Your cat may flap its tail around when it is annoyed. But, why, and how, do they puff their tails up? In this article, we are going to be finding out more about this, as well as answering some other kitty questions. Let’s get started!
What Do Cats’ Tails Do?
Cats have long tails, and you may think that they are pretty useless. However, this is not true. Your cat’s tail is actually there because it helps balance out their body and movements.
It helps them walk, and saunter through narrow and tight spaces. This is often why cats are able to climb high without falling, and fit in small spaces. Their tails are responsible for their great balance; a reason why cats almost always land on their feet if they fall!
Cats also use their tails to communicate. As we said, cats are some of the most expressive animals, and they can communicate with other cats and humans, just with their tails. If their tail is down, they are probably scared. If their tail is wagging a lot, they’re probably grumpy!
Do Cats Need Their Tails?
Yes, cats do need their tails to balance. However, even though they use their tails to keep them upright, they can actually survive without it.
If the tail needs to be amputated, or they lose it in an accident, the cat will learn how to live without its tail. A few breeds of cats are even born without tails, proving that their tails are not always necessary to their life.
Do Cats Have Control Over Their Tails?
Cats can control their tails, but they are also involuntarily controlled. A cat’s tail is made up of tendons, nerves, ligaments, and muscles. This gives them a lot of control over their tails.
If they are choosing to control their tail, they are letting you or another cat know how they feel. If they ever slap you or hit you with their tail, they are also trying to communicate with you.
Additionally, domestic cats are one of the few types of cats that can keep their tails controlled and vertical when they are walking around. They never lose control of their tail, but it can have a mind of its own when they are walking around.
Do Cats Like Their Tails Being Touched?
If you have a cat, you probably know the answer to this. Cats do not like their tails to be touched, because it is sensitive, and it aligns to their spine.
If you pull slightly on a cat’s tail, it is likely that they will bite or scratch you, because it is uncomfortable for them.
Why Do Cats' Tails Puff Up?
Tails do not puff their tails up often, but there is a good reason when they do. Some cats may be easily scared, some may be angry, and some may just be playing. Let’s look at the various reasons why a cat may puff its tail up.
Firstly, a cat will probably puff its tail up because it is scared or feels threatened. Some cats are just more easily spooked, and they will puff their tails up because of this.
They do this to make themselves appear bigger than they actually are, trying to get whatever they are scared of away from them. By puffing their tail up, they are alerting others that they are bigger than them, trying to get them to go away.
If you see an unknown cat in the yard and your cat’s tail has puffed up, it is probably because they are scared, and they were not expecting it. If they arch their back and flatten their ears, they are pretty scared of whatever it may be.
Believe it or not, another common reason for a puffed tail is because your cat is feeling playful. This may be hard to believe, especially for cat owners who know the puffed tail all too well.
If your cat is feeling happy and excited, it will puff up its tail. The cat may be full of energy too, and they will not be running away from anything. Try to play with them, as this is what they are communicating to you.
If your cat is angry, their tail will puff itself up. If your cat is an alpha, they may not be scared of other cats, but angry. They puff their tails for the same reason as they do when they are scared; to look big and intimidating.
This will hopefully get rid of the threat, and their natural predatory instincts will come out. If your cat is angry, their tail will be puffed up, as well as the fur on their back. They may hiss, meow loudly, and keep their ears firmly behind their head. Do not mess with an angry cat!
How Does A Cat’s Tail Puff Up?
A cat can puff its tail up pretty easily. The muscles in the tail will contract, similar to when we humans may get goosebumps if we are cold.
It is called a piloerection, and it will make their tail super puffed and fluffy. It can also occur if your cat is cold.
Cats are super expressive, and it is not hard to know when they are annoyed, playful, or scared.
When your cat’s tail is puffed up, try to look out for their body language, and play with them if they are feeling playful. Otherwise, leave them to it, and make sure they are safe.
Thanks for reading!
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.