Why do Cats Chase Their Own Tail

Flickr: play4smee

Kittens often have a tail fetish of their own. When they are hyped up, their tail twitching can get them up and turning, doing circles, somersaults, trying everything they can to grab and bite it.

Cats do not usually chase their tail until they are in a certain mood. This behavior is triggered by the same motivation when an excited kitten sees a strip of paper, hair pin or q-tip on the floor, it compels the kitten to arch his back, stand up on his hindquarters to try to appear taller or even raise his hair on his back. The whole reaction comes from cats’ natural predator instinct.

(Play the video below to check out Conan, the tuxedo cat chasing his big bushy tail.)

When an extremely excited cat sees his tail moving, he may treat it as prey or find it extremely annoying that he needs to do something about it, thus he goes after it. Of course he is well aware that it is part of his body. That’s why when cats finally wrestle down their own tail, they will start licking and grooming it.

Cats make a lot of cute and silly antics. Chasing their own tail is definitely one of them. However, there are a few cases where chasing their own tail could be a medical cause if the cat detects discomfort or irritation from their tail. In those cases, it is better to fully examine their tail and make sure everything is OK.

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6 Responses to “Why do Cats Chase Their Own Tail”

  1. Liz says:

    what a playful cute kitten Conan is! Seems like he knows he’s being recorded and wants to entertain the videocamera person! hahaa 😀 Amazing how he doesn’t experience any headaches from all that spinning! :)

  2. Robin says:

    Conan is very cute! The first time I saw my (@) 10 month old kitten -Aristotle – “chase his tail”, I thought it was hysterical as I haven’t ever witnessed a cat do that…and when he stopped and stood there – obviously dizzy – I thought I would die laughing!! HOWEVER, he continues to “chase” his tail constantly…many, many times a day and for long periods and now, as I watch closer, he doesn’t seem to be after his tail, but rather, just spinning in circles! Is this normal behavior? I’ve had several cats in my life and, as I said, have never seen one do this…I’m growing more and more concerned…any ideas?

  3. Robin says:

    Oh, and I should state that he seems healthy as far as any noticeable problems with his tail and “hind quarters” are concerned…he eats fine and exhibits otherwise “normal” kitten behavior…

  4. Jonny says:

    My cat still does this and she is six years old now.

  5. Kirsty says:

    My kitten is 6months old now and she does just the same Jonny
    I was worried about it too until (after close observation) I realised she would only spin in circles in certain rooms when the light was on… Turns out she is trying to catch her shadow…

  6. Kirsty says:

    Sorry meant robin there not Jonny

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