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Question about cats & their tails.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok, this might seem like a weird (and stupid) question.

I have heard from a few people that cats can not control the movement of their tail. Is that true? I'm asking because I didn't believe it to be true, but then I found Precious. She does this thing when she's really happy, about 20 times a day actually, where she sucks on her tail and kneads. She doesn't seem to be able to control her tail. Like, she will be standing on my chest and I'll be loving on her and she will lay down. When she lays down, she will want to suck her tail. So, she has to grab it and pull it to her mouth, then she will start sucking it and kneading my stomach. Then, she will get really into it, and her tail will get away from her mouth. She will then either grab for it again (sometimes she has to grab at it more than once to be able to "catch" it and bring it to her mouth) or she will reposition herself in order to get her tail. Because she is the only cat that I've seen who sucks her tail, I've never noticed that what I heard about cats not being able to control their tails possibly being true. Does anyone know if there is any truth to that?
post #2 of 10
Sure they control their tails. It's a great mood-o-meter. They communicate what they are feeling by their tails.
post #3 of 10
But sometimes it seems as though they don't know their tail is attached to them! Squeak has even chased that crazy long tail of hers like it is a toy, and then she looks confused when it escapes her grasp! Silly kitty!
post #4 of 10
I think they can control the tail (otherwise, how would she be able to grab it in the first place). I think that the position she wants to be in is not natural for the tail so she needs to hold it in place.
post #5 of 10
They can control it to some extent, but it's not prehensile, like a monkey's tail. I think the control is largely involuntary.
post #6 of 10
Originally Posted by katachtig View Post
I think they can control the tail (otherwise, how would she be able to grab it in the first place). I think that the position she wants to be in is not natural for the tail so she needs to hold it in place.
i agree. there are people that can bite their own toenails (eww, haha), but i doubt if any can do it without holding their leg/ankle in place with their hands. there is some control there, but the position isn't natural and therefore they need a bit of help holding it in place.
post #7 of 10
Sometimes I think my cats' tails act independently from their brains! Ripley will chase hers round & round then act surprised when it hurts when she bites it. Newt will be lying in my lap all relaxed & sleepy except for her tail which twitches and flicks, she often wakes herself up by hitting herself in the face with it. I can tell what sort of mood they're in by their tails but am convinced they do not have complete control over them!
post #8 of 10
I think they have more control than is commonly thought. Yes, the tail is an indicator of mood, but remember, ther tail does have muscle that can be moved when desired. Been experimenting with my cats about this, and a tail hair pull (not hard, I am not mean) will produce a pull in the opposite direction. and ruffling the tail hair will make the cat move the tail. How much control they have can easily be seen on the cats with ringed tails - they can hold that tail straight up or down if they wish, and those cats will actually flick the tail and wrap it around your hand or arm and squeeze lightly, and in the case of Da Magpie (arial tail) around my cane if it is handy. I have seen my ring tailed boys curl and uncurl that tail to find the right balance for a leap or have the tail straight out behind when running madly to the house just in case I have food when I step outside. FWIW, these cats have a more muscular tail than cats with normal tails. Also, some older lines of Siamese could kink and unkink the end of their tails (a friend had two like this, both registered), not sure if the new version of Siamese does this though.
post #9 of 10
I know for a fact that Alley controls her tail consciously...she will move it like a game if I am trying to touch it when he is not in the mood for it.I have read that a cat`s tail is actually an extension of thier spine(i.e. connected) and this allows them to have such excellent balance and nimblness.Interesting,eh?

I can tell Alley`s mood pretty much by her tail. lol

post #10 of 10
When Rusty is happy, and walking across the floor, her tail is flying high, curled above her body and almost touching her head. You can tell when she is mad because of her tail too.

Dusty on the other hand, has a deformed tail. She can't hold it high like her sister does. I think it got broken at the base during birth, or in the womb. It goes to the side and she cannot hold it erect. It also has a couple of kinks at the tip. It never has given her any problems, so I haven't talked to the vet about this.
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