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Do Cats Have Control Of Their Tails – 6 Things To Know!

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If you have a cat, you’ve probably had moments to catch yourself mesmerized by their tails. It’s cute to see your sleepy kitty laying there with their tail wrapped around their bodies to keep them warm. I always find it fun to see my cat get all wound up and start to chase their tail. It always makes me wonder, do cats have control of their tails? 

Cats do have control of their tails. Some tail movements are involuntary due to mental or physical conditions. Cats express emotions through their tails. A cat’s tail habits communicate their mood and focus.  

Some movements in your cat’s tail may be involuntary. Much like we automatically blink our eyes without thinking about it; however, if you want to stop blinking for a moment or keep your eyes closed, you can easily do so. Some involuntary movements you may have seen are your cat’s tail twitching or thumping while they’re asleep and dreaming. 

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Can Cats Feel Their Tails

Cats can feel their tails. Their tails are somewhat of an extension of their spine, made up of multiple vertebrate. The tail also has a ton of nerve endings running throughout it. The sensitivity level of your cat’s tail may be more or less sensitive than another cat’s. It can vary from cat to cat. 

I’ve seen some cats that hate having their tail brushed. As soon as you start brushing it, you can expect to be swatted at immediately. Their tails are probably too sensitive to handle the feeling of the brush. Some other cats enjoy having their tails brushed along with the rest of their body.  

What Does A Cat Use Their Tail For

Cats use their tails as more than just a fun little rope they can swing around. One of the most important reasons for their tail is their balance. Cats rely on their tail to keep them balanced, which is why they’re so agile. 

If a cat is naturally born without a tail, has a nub, or potentially had some injury that caused them to lose their tail, they will eventually adjust. They may not be quite as agile as when they had their tail, but they’ll still have a good quality of life.

They also use their tails to express their emotions and show their owners and anyone surrounding them how they’re feeling. We’ll go into a bit more detail about this below. 

What Does A Cat’s Tail Movements Mean

The way a cat moves their tail can tell you a lot about their mood. The way their tail moves when they’re agitated will typically be different than how it moves when they’re sleepy or calm. There are specific movements cats will do that tend to be similar from cat to cat. 

If your cat is irritated or angry, you may see your cat thrashing their tail around as somewhat of a warning sign. If they’re lying down, you may notice they start smacking their tail off the ground. These are both signs that your cat wants some space, and it’s best to leave them be. 

If your cat is scared or extremely irritated, you may notice their tail gets super puffed out. It’s as if all the hairs on their tail shoot out, and it makes it look huge. If you have multiple cats, you’ve probably seen this happen when they get angry with each other. 

You’ve probably witnessed your cat’s tail flowing from side to side, but not necessarily in an agitated, aggressive manner. You’ll probably also notice their face looks extremely focused when this happens. If you have any little toys around that your cat enjoys playing with, a lot of times, you’ll see them pounce on it right after. 

If your cat’s tail is up in the air, almost like a question mark, it’s typically a sign that they’re ready to play. So grab your favorite cat toy and help your kitty run off some of their energy. Laser pointers work great for this and can tire them out quickly!

When your cat is twitching the tip of their tail like a rattlesnake, you’ll want to keep an eye on them. While this can mean they’re angry or possibly playing with another animal, watch to make sure they aren’t marking anywhere. If you notice them back up against a wall, that signifies that they’re going to urine mark that area. 

If your cat has their tail tightly wrapped around their body, it could be a sign that they’re afraid of something. In that situation, you would typically notice they’re crouched down. This can also mean they aren’t feeling well, so it’s a sign you want to look out for. 

If your kitty welcomes you with their tail straight up in the air, they’re in a great mood. It typically symbolizes they’re in the mood to hang out and ready for some loving attention. However, if their tail is opposite and low to the ground, keep an eye on them. It can mean they aren’t feeling well or are scared and anxious. 

You should feel loved when your cat comes up to you and wraps their tail around you. That’s their way of showing you some affection, almost like they’re giving you a kitty hug. 

Why Do Cats Flick The End Of Their Tails

There are a few different reasons your cat decides to flick the end of their tail. If you’re ever petting your cat and notice they’re starting to flick their tail and just don’t seem to be enjoying the attention, they’re probably telling you to back off. They’re using their tail flick as a way to signal their agitation. 

It could also mean that your cat is in the mood to play. Sometimes when they’re focused and kind of wound up, you’ll notice they start to flick their tail then. Consider getting a fun toy you can have to play with your cat and feed their need for fun. 

You may also notice your cat flicking their tail while they’re sleeping. Much like dogs running in their sleep, your cat may be flicking their tail just the same. This is a more obvious one since you’ll typically see them twitching and making other slight movements while they’re passed out.

Why Do Cats Thump Their Tails When Lying Down

A cat thumping their tail is typically a sign that they aren’t happy with what’s happening around them. Maybe you’ve decided it’s an excellent time to brush your cat, and a minute in, you start hearing their tail smack the ground. They’re probably letting you know they’re over it. 

Sometimes this thump is a warning sign that you’re about to push them over the edge. When I’m petting my cat, and they start their infamous thumping, I know they’ve had enough. If I continue petting them, there’s a good chance I’m about to have some claws wrapped around my arm and them trying to bite me. 

How Do Cats Move Their Tails

As discussed earlier, a cat’s tail is part of their spine. This makes it easy for them to move. However, the actual spinal cord does not extend throughout the tail. That is why if they have an injury to their tail, they typically aren’t paralyzed. 

The tail is made up of not only vertebrae, but also nerves, muscles, and ligaments that allow them to move easily move it around. Think of how a human’s leg works. There are tons of muscles, ligaments, and nerves that all have to work together to get us to move the leg where it needs to go. 

Overall, it is true that cats have control of their tail. Try to pay closer attention to how your cat uses their tail and how it expresses their mood. Reading the signs from your cat will help you know what type of mood they’re in.