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Why Do Cats Chase Their Tails?

cats tail

Almost everyone who ever had or seen a cat has seen a view of a cat chasing its tail. I must say it is quite funny to look at and I always ask this question: ”why do cats chase their tails? Is it normal behavior or something is wrong?” So in this blog, I will talk all about cat’s tails to answer this and many other related questions.

After some research, I found out that cat tail chasing is more popular amongst young kittens because they still learn hunting skills and love to play around. Kittens still learn how to live in this world and usually, they understand after some while that it is better to chase something else. Unfortunately, there can be situations when an adult cat’s tail-chasing is not so positive experience and your cat tries to show signals that something is wrong.

This is why it is so important to observe your pet’s behavior and get a good understanding of what is normal or not because this is the best way how to recognize that a visit to the vet is necessary.


1. Playing

Kittens are full of energy and like to discover things and a tail that looks like a moving snake seems like a fun kitten toy. It is a bizarre view how your kitten is spinning around and seems like never stops. Adult cats can chase their tails because they are bored, but it is not as often as dogs. In this case, make sure that your cat has enough toys and that you take time every day to play with your feline. At the end of the day playing with your cat is a good bonding time for you both.

2. Stress

Cats like their order at home and are not big fans of changes like moving home or loud noise because of some party. Let your cat adapt to changes slowly and do some extra effort. Not always cats want to be around humans and they like hidden places, so it is good to have different areas in the house for hiding and also for playing. One of the options is to buy a good quality kitten tree and a comfortable bed. You can also use a catnip if your cat hesitates to use any of these things.

3. Fleas

Fleas are nasty parasites that are the most common for cats because they like a warm and comfortable place to live. This is why a cat’s tail base is a good option. Fleas bites give a very unpleasant and itchy feeling and this is why a cat can chase a tail not to play, but actually to relieve its itchiness. You can read our blog on how to treat fleas on your kitten here. Professor William Miller from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine says: “A flea doesn’t actually bite,” he points out. “It sticks its proboscis into the skin and sucks blood. It doesn’t take too much of this sucking to cause anemia in a kitten that is carrying innumerable fleas. You don’t see this problem very often in adult cats, but it’s frequently seen in kittens.”

This is why treating fleas as soon as possible is very important and after treating to choose the best kitten shampoos to avoid fleas in the future is a good idea.

4. Infections

Stud tail or sapracaudal gland infection typically shows on male cats because there are many glands that can get overactive at the base of a cat’s tail causing pain and irritation. Your cat can have panic attacks and act very weird so make sure you see a vet to fix this infection.

Cats also can cause infection of their tails because of biting and also there are many types of injuries to cat tails for example limp tail, fur loss, inability to keep a tail up, and swelling.

Why Do Cats Chase Their Tails?
5. Allergies

One more reason why cats chase their tails is allergy reaction. Allergies are caused by allergens (proteins) that overreact in a cat’s body and a body tries to remove them. If your cat has an allergy you will see her scratching in one place or all over the body and it can include the cat’s tail. There are different things cats can have allergies to and only your vet can determine the cause by doing different tests. If you think it can be food, the elimination technique is often used. Steroids are used in more serious cases.

6. Compulsive Disorders

Compulsive disorder symptoms are too much grooming, excessive chewing, vocalization, hunting unseen prey, tail chasing, and other odd behaviors you might see in your cat. There can be genetics involved as well. By VCA animal hospitals information wool sucking is common for Oriental cat breeds.

One compulsive disorder condition is called Hyperesthesia which causes a too big sensation when a cat has been touched. Cats can have hallucinations, dilated pupils, tail chasing, and other symptoms. It is very important to understand the main cause of this disorder. After a vet visit, the right behavioral therapy and medications will be provided.

Why Do Cats Chase Their Tails?


In fact, Manx cats are born without tails and can adapt very easily as cats, in general, adapt quite fast if they have some injuries or they start to lose their sight.

The Importance Of Cat’s Tail

Cats tail is not only for a beautiful look, but it has also some other benefits:

  • Balance to jump around and hunt,
  • Keep a cat warm,
  • Communication for example a straight tail means greeting, curvier your cat is relaxed, and up straight puffy means your cat shows his dominance.



Hopefully after reading this article “why do cats chase their tales” you have a bigger understanding of the main reasons. Cats are all different and they behave in certain ways. Cat chasing a tail can be very fun and playful, but on another hand, it can be something dangerous as a tail can get infected and it is a red signal of some illness. That being said as long as you try to get to know your cat’s behavior and be aware of when it changes to be able to see a vet as soon as possible you should be fine.


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