Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Tale of a Tail

Cats are very expressive, as we all know, and have a thousand ways of telling us what they are feeling. Despite this, I, at least, am at a loss as to their desires half the time. But I am aware of the slowly whapping tail and what it means. Kola, for instance, loves being petted, having my fingers run firmly down his spine. But when he’s had enough, his floofy tail starts slapping the surface on which he is lying. It’s time for me to stop.

Yet this indication of annoyance is not universal. Cats are individuals and Josie is no exception. She enjoys being fussed over, and receiving chin rubs more than most other attention. She has an interesting tail; I call it a rat-tail because it is so wide at the base and is short, relative to her body. It’s thick and strong. And she whaps it when she is enjoying her attention.

At first I thought I was doing something wrong. But stopping led to unmistakeable protests, while resumption returned the tail to whapping. My Chubs will lie on my lap for quite a while, almost still, and bask in the good feelings of a chin-rub. All the time, her tail is slowly whapping.

Her complaints are more vocal than visual, and why she uses her tail the way she does, I don’t know. If I were less acquainted with her, it would be misleading. It simply goes to show that cats are indeed individuals and, though we can generalise about them, to be fully aware of each, we must learn about each. The same may be written about people.

As an addendum, another interesting thing about Josie’s tail is its pattern and colour. It is ringed, black and what I call ‘tabby grey’, with a black stripe down the length of its top. I recently saw a picture of another cat who had Josie’s body colouring (white with ‘tabby grey’ patches) and a very similar tail. This little beast lived two thousand miles away, so a family resemblance was most unlikely. I wonder if the pattern of tail accompanies the type of body colouring.

Even so, my Chubs is unique, from the tail up.


  1. It is very interesting to watch the behavior of the cats. Just like people, they are all different. They have some wonderful personalities. You all have a wonderful day and thanks for all the good thoughts for Joe.

  2. cutie!! Mo give mom the "tail of annoyance" when he is not happy with her (usually he is up to something and she wants him to stop). But it is interesting how the things that people come to rely on for "cat language" are not universally true.

  3. Perhaps Josie is "setting the rhythm" for the strokes with her tail? I know that my Silver would always let me know (and anyone else foolish enough) when she'd had enough petting with her wicked tail. But Sami is a bit like Josie in that her tail continues to go much of the time.

    Whatever her meaning, it's apparent Josie has her own way of asking for more.

  4. Josie's found peace and contentment with you and her lovely, lashing tiger tail lets you know this. I have one happy tail lasher in the family but the out!

  5. Flynn doesn't move his tail when I pet him. If he is annoyed or not feeling so good he waves it gently. He very rarely waves it vigorously, but if he does, back off or suffer the consequences.

  6. Ralphie swings his tail slowly from side to side when he gets angry. It make it a bit harder to read Marty since he doesn't have a tail. He arches his back and stands on his toes when he is happy and wants petted though :)

  7. This is oh so true. Buddy Budd whaps his tail endlessly whether happy or angered at some slight only he can understand. The test for Big Buddy is him butting his gray noggin against a hand or my noggin. Something he is ready, willing and able to do if I happen to be a second late with our sharing of small repast as I sit after work.