What Does It Imply When a Cat Puffs up Their Tail?

the cat runs with its tail raised

Most of our readers will doubtless have seen a cartoon cat with a puffed-up tail sooner or later, and should you’re a cat proprietor or lived close to a cat you may need seen it occur in actual life too. Within the cartoons, cats is likely to be depicted with a puffed-up tail for comedy worth, however what does this conduct actually imply? Must you be nervous about it?

Fast Overview


Cats can puff up their tails with the identical piloerection mechanism that causes our hair to face on finish.


Cats normally puff up their tails in response to being startled or feeling threatened, as a result of it makes them look greater and really feel braver.


Generally cats, particularly younger ones, puff up their tails throughout playtime – particularly if their searching, stalking, or wrestling is lifelike!

Fortunately, a puffed-up tail is a really regular conduct in cats and is simply one other means that they present their feelings. It occurs in response to sure conditions or stimuli, comparable to once they really feel threatened or fearful. Let’s check out how a cat puffs up their tail and what may trigger it.

What Makes a Cat’s Tail Puff Up?

Your cat’s tail is roofed with fur, identical to human pores and skin is roofed with tiny hairs. The mechanism by which a cat’s tail puffs up is named piloerection and is just like when our hair stands on finish when we now have goosebumps as a result of we’re chilly or a bit of creeped out.

Every hair is hooked up to a muscle often known as a piloerector muscle. In response to sure stimuli, the muscle pulls on the hair shaft inflicting it to face up quite than mendacity flat alongside the pores and skin. For us people, this creates an insulating layer of heat air trapped between the hairs, however cats produce other makes use of for this phenomenon!

Additionally Learn: What Your Cat’s Tail Can Tell You

Why Do Cats Puff up Their Tails?

Typically, cats puff their tails as much as make themselves look greater and extra intimidating. If you happen to’ve ever seen a cat with a puffy tail, you’ll know they’ll attain double and even triple their unique quantity! This doesn’t simply scare off any potential threats, however it may additionally make them really feel a bit of bit braver too!

It’s feline intuition to make use of a puffed-up tail together with different cat body language alerts to warn off different cats, bigger wildlife, canine, and even folks. So, alongside a puffy tail, you may discover the hair standing on finish in your cat’s again. They may even have dilated pupils and will hiss, growl, yowl, arch their back, hold their ears back and flat to their head, and squint or frown.

What Does It Imply When a Cat Puffs up Their Tail?

small bengal kitten meowing

Cats usually puff up their tails to make themselves look greater and scarier within the face of a threatening state of affairs.

Listed below are among the most typical the explanation why you may anticipate your cat to puff their tail:

1. Your Cat Feels Threatened

A risk of any description may trigger your cat to puff up their tail. It is likely to be a sudden motion, a loud noise like a firework or shaken plastic bag, or the surprising presence of an unfamiliar cat or canine.

A puffed-up tail occurs principally as a response to being startled, quite than a progressively growing hazard, but when your cat is squaring as much as an opponent, they may puff up their tail as they get nearer. It’d seem to be an odd factor to do, however out of your cat’s standpoint, they’re making themselves appear as massive and scary as potential to attempt to make any potential attacker suppose twice!

2. They’re Offended

It’s not simply worry that would make a cat puff up their tail, it can be used as an indication of aggression, particularly if they’re concerned in a confrontation with one other cat whereas defending their territory. Whereas cats most frequently swish their tail once they’re indignant, in the event that they’re feeling notably weak they may additionally puff their tail.

This provides everybody, be that cat or human, a transparent sign to cease doing what they’re doing and provides them some area. There are another clear signals of anger your cat may show on this case.

3. Your Cat Is Scared

Something that causes your cat to really feel afraid, shocked or anxious may trigger them to puff their tail, even when it seems to be one thing fully harmless, like a door slamming or a stampede of younger kids enjoying in the home. Puffing their tail is your cat’s pure response to attempt to preserve themselves protected, simply in case. As well as, you may discover other signs of your cat’s battle or flight response.

In case your cat usually appears scared and shy, our article 8 Ways to Help a Scared and Fearful Cat be Confident may assist.

4. They’re Preventing or Prepared To Assault

In case your cat is engaged in a one-on-one with one other cat from the neighborhood, particularly in the event that they’re backed right into a nook or really feel like they don’t have the higher hand (or paw!), they’re prone to puff up their tail. This may assist make them really feel braver, in addition to give the impression that they’re stronger and extra assured than they really are.

5. Your Cat Could Be Enjoying

Sure, you probably did learn that proper – cats don’t simply puff up their tails once they’re mad or scared, generally they puff up their tails as a result of they’re having enjoyable. This occurs most frequently when younger cats or kittens have interaction in play that simulates searching, pouncing, or fighting, both with different cats or a toy. Though it’s not ‘for actual’, your cat’s tail may nonetheless puff up in response to it! Whereas this conduct is much less widespread in grownup cats, in case your cat is especially playful you may nonetheless discover it.

What Ought to You Do if Your Cat’s Tail Is Puffed Up?

A black and white cat walks

Cats with a puffed tail might have some area to settle down, or reassurance if they’re frightened.

A overrated tail normally signifies that your cat is experiencing one thing destructive, whether or not that’s worry, anger or risk. They could want a bit of time and area to settle down – maybe in a snug mattress or raised shelf. In case your cat has had a fright, they might search out reassurance from you, so present some light petting if they need it, and a soothing tone of voice.

It’s normally nothing to fret about in case your cat’s tail puffs up – it shouldn’t final lengthy and as soon as the state of affairs is over or the stimulus has disappeared their tail must be again to regular. Nonetheless, as a pet mother or father, you’ll get to know your cat’s regular conduct and also you’ll know when issues don’t appear fairly proper.

If you happen to begin noticing your cat with a puffed-up tail usually, the place you hadn’t seen it earlier than, it may imply that they’re discovering one thing of their atmosphere irritating or scary. If they’re an outdoor cat, it may imply that there’s a brand new cat on the town, whereas in the event that they spend all or most of their time indoors it could possibly be as a result of noisy constructing work or boisterous kids.

In case you are involved about your cat and suppose that one thing isn’t fairly proper, it’s all the time a good suggestion to talk to your veterinarian.

Associated Circumstances:

Steadily Requested Questions

What does it imply when a cat’s tail puffs up?

A cat puffing their tail up normally signifies that they really feel threatened by one thing. This could possibly be a serious incident like being chased by a canine, however it’s equally prone to be an harmless loud noise like a sudden door slam. A puffed-up tail is widespread in fearful cats, however it ought to return to regular measurement in a short time.

Do cats flap their tails when completely happy?

When a cat swishes or flaps their tail it normally means they’re feeling fairly cross. Check out their physique language – are their ears again? Is their forehead furrowed? Is their again arched? If that’s the case, it is time to give them some area.

Why do cats’ tails go up once they’re completely happy?

Cats usually increase their tails when they’re completely happy. Generally they do that when they’re being petted to make sure the switch of their scent from the scent glands on the base of their tail onto your hand. Equally, although, a raised tail is an indication that they’re feeling assured and protected in your presence – approach to go!

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