cat tail position

franklinsmother

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i’m planning on calling my vet monday as i’ve notice off behavior with my cat. i was just wondering if anyone knows what a tail straight down means? i searched it but couldn’t find the exact position. thank you.
 

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Caspers Human

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Without context, tail position doesn't have a definite meaning. Generally speaking, when a cat's tail goes up its mood is more positive and, when it goes down, a cat's mood is more negative. However, if a cat's tail goes straight up like a broomstick, it can mean that the cat is aggravated and ready to lash out. Without knowing what's going on with the cat, it's really hard to sort things out.

In your picture, your cat is sitting on the window sill, supervising the neighborhood. If the cat is preoccupied with important business like that, it's probably not going to care much about its tail. Seeing the tail hanging down like that seems pretty normal in such a context.

What do you think is wrong with your cat's behavior that makes you want to call the vet?

What about your cat's tail makes you think there is a problem?
 
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franklinsmother

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Without context, tail position doesn't have a definite meaning. Generally speaking, when a cat's tail goes up its mood is more positive and, when it goes down, a cat's mood is more negative. However, if a cat's tail goes straight up like a broomstick, it can mean that the cat is aggravated and ready to lash out. Without knowing what's going on with the cat, it's really hard to sort things out.

In your picture, your cat is sitting on the window sill, supervising the neighborhood. If the cat is preoccupied with important business like that, it's probably not going to care much about its tail. Seeing the tail hanging down like that seems pretty normal in such a context.

What do you think is wrong with your cat's behavior that makes you want to call the vet?

What about your cat's tail makes you think there is a problem?
change in eating habits, not playing as much, and he doesn’t seem relaxed. he always is meowing and on edge it seems (which is why i thought maybe the tail had something to do with it).
 

FeebysOwner

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I think the things you are describing - regardless of his tail - are enough to warrant a vet visit - or some investigation on your part to see if something is going on outside (even maybe inside the home) that is bothering him. If anything, I would have expected to see his tail moving about a lot if he appears on edge. I pretty much wouldn't consider the tail to be involved, even if it might be - unless he could have injured it and that is the cause of his other behaviors.
 

Caspers Human

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There's no reason you shouldn't take kitty in for a checkup, especially if it's been a while since his last visit.

Main question: Has the cat been neutered?
In your picture, he is sitting by a window. He's probably looking out for other cats. The weather is changing or will start changing soon. There are probably more cats outdoors. Fifty percent of those cats are likely to be females.

Un-neutered males are almost ALWAYS on the lookout for females. The reason why he's sitting by the window might be because he's looking out for a girlfriend. It could also be the reason why he doesn't play and eat like you expect.

Yes, if he's on the prowl for a girlfriend, his tail might start doing different things, too. There are scent glands in a cat's tail and he'll wave his tail in the air when he wants to send a message to available females... "Hey, baby! Wanna' go on a date?"

Available female cats will be able to smell your cat's pheromones and will start peeing on the ground around your house in order to advertise their presence. Your male cats will be able to smell the scent and he'll know that there are girl cats, ready to mate. It doesn't matter if you close all the doors and windows. Cats can smell each other's pheromones from a mile away, almost as if the walls weren't there.

I don't know whether your cat is neutered or not but, if he isn't, that would explain a lot. If he has been neutered then just consider this as a public service announcement for others who might come along, later.
 
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franklinsmother

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There's no reason you shouldn't take kitty in for a checkup, especially if it's been a while since his last visit.

Main question: Has the cat been neutered?
In your picture, he is sitting by a window. He's probably looking out for other cats. The weather is changing or will start changing soon. There are probably more cats outdoors. Fifty percent of those cats are likely to be females.

Un-neutered males are almost ALWAYS on the lookout for females. The reason why he's sitting by the window might be because he's looking out for a girlfriend. It could also be the reason why he doesn't play and eat like you expect.

Yes, if he's on the prowl for a girlfriend, his tail might start doing different things, too. There are scent glands in a cat's tail and he'll wave his tail in the air when he wants to send a message to available females... "Hey, baby! Wanna' go on a date?"

Available female cats will be able to smell your cat's pheromones and will start peeing on the ground around your house in order to advertise their presence. Your male cats will be able to smell the scent and he'll know that there are girl cats, ready to mate. It doesn't matter if you close all the doors and windows. Cats can smell each other's pheromones from a mile away, almost as if the walls weren't there.

I don't know whether your cat is neutered or not but, if he isn't, that would explain a lot. If he has been neutered then just consider this as a public service announcement for others who might come along, later.
he is neutered! i have just noticed he is very restless lately and his tail has been straight down eveytime he sits on there. i just wanted to make sure i have pictures of any possible symptoms before the vet
 

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When Belle sits in the window like that, something’s going on outside. It means she’s in her guard tower, protecting her Realm.
 

Caspers Human

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It's good that he's neutered. :) That eliminates a whole lot of questions. We now know that he's not being disturbed by other cats outside.👍

The tail hanging down when he sits by the window sill?... Gravity? 😁

I betcha' the cat's tail weighs half a pound. It takes a lot of energy to hold that tail up all the time. It's gotta' hang down, some time. Right? If he's occupied, looking out the window, supervising the neighborhood, he might not care what his tail is doing and just lets it hang down and allows gravity to do its thing.

Cats also use their tails as stabilizers to help them balance. Maybe your cat feels like he has a better center of gravity when he holds his tail down, like that.

Sometimes cats will use their tails like a person might use hand gestures. If they're happy and want to be friends, they'll rub their tails on you and stuff like that. Our cat, Casper, will "flip the bird" with his tail if he gets peeved off at you! Let's say that you're going into the kitchen cupboard to make dinner and the cat comes, thinking you're giving him a treat. We tell him, "No, Casper! After dinner!" Casper will turn around and walk away. He'll stop, turn to give you a stern look over his shoulder. Then, he'll flick the tip of his tail, right at you, before turning and walking away.

You KNOW that Casper is saying FU when he does that!

I'm sure, if you don't know already, that if you watch your cat enough, you can tell what his mood is like by the way he moves his tail in relation to his body. It's hard to know, for sure, unless you've known a cat for while. Like I said, it's context sensitive. How would I know that Casper was peeved off at me when he flicks his tail at me unless I'd seen that behavior, before, and understood the context.

There could be an element of confirmation bias or, as psychologists put it, "Motivated Perception." In simple terms, sometimes, people only see what they want to see. I see my cat flick his tail then I imagine that he's mad at me. Then, I make the assumption, based on motivated perception, that he's flipping me off. I don't know. It could be true or it could just me with a case of seeing what I want to see. I guess it doesn't really matter whether it's true of not. They're our cats and we can treat them any way we want as long as we're not hurting them. Right? Besides, true or not, it makes a funny story to tell! 😁

With all that... Is your cat doing anything unusual with his tail that leads you to believe something is wrong?

Not diagnosing, here. Just trying to provide some perspective... The season is about to change. The days are getting longer. Animals' circadian rhythms change in response to the length of the day. Maybe your cat's got himself a little case of Spring Fever? I dunno'. :dunno: It's contextual. You know your cat better than we do.

You mentioned his eating habits. How much less is he eating? Is it because he's not eating at all or because he's just not eating as much as he used to? How much less?

How have his litter box habits been? Is he going as much as usual? Also, how frequently or how much does he leave a deposit in the litter box, compared to how you think he usually does it. Finally, can you make a comparison on the estimated amount of food he eats versus the amount of deposit he leaves in the litter box. The amount of food he eats should be roughly the same as the amount of deposit he leaves behind.

If a cat stops going to the litter box, that might be bad. Sometimes, a cat will skip a day going to the box. I've even seen Casper skip two days going to the box. But, if a cat goes three days without using the box, you would be well advised to get on the horn to the vet.

Does he show any signs of injury like favoring a paw or walking funny? Usually, when a cat is hurt it will move slower or move less. Sometimes, if they are really hurt, a cat will sit in the "Loaf Position" for a long time. All cats sit like that, on occasion, but, if they do it all the time when they didn't, before, it's probably time to call the vet.

Your cat seems to be able to jump up to the window sill and balance long enough to supervise the neighborhood. That sounds pretty healthy, to me? If he was hurt, he'd do it less or not at all.

What's so different about his behavior, compared to before, that makes you worried?
What can't be explained by applying reason? How bad is it, really? How long has it been going on?
Are his litter box habits good? Are his inputs and outputs roughly equal?

Like I said, above, if he hasn't been to the vet in a while, now's as good a time as any. Right?
If the vet gives him a good checkup and doesn't see any problems they he's probably okay. Right?
 

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Have you been able to get him to the vet since your last post? If something is going on with his heart or lungs, he won't be playing much.
 
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franklinsmother

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Have you been able to get him to the vet since your last post? If something is going on with his heart or lungs, he won't be playing much.
Yup took him to the vet! Heart and lungs sound great, no fever. She gave him convenia for his sneezing, which she thinks is causing him not to eat as much. We have a callback in a weekZ
 

Alldara

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Yup took him to the vet! Heart and lungs sound great, no fever. She gave him convenia for his sneezing, which she thinks is causing him not to eat as much. We have a callback in a weekZ
Wonderful! Ah congestion was causing the sitting position then. So glad for you all. 💕 That will hopefully clear soon.

I think his tail just sitting straight down when he's sitting like that is just how he's cozy.

If it's down when he's walking around it can be an indication that he's still not feeling well.
 
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