Why a Cat Tail Puffs Up

By Kelsey Apley 2 years ago2 Comments

I have always wondered…why a cat tail puffs up? Have you ever walked into a room and your kitty puffs their tail up almost instantly? Do you wonder if it is because you startled them or maybe they are feeling playful? I am going to share some insights here on the reasons why.

Why Do Cats Tails Puff Up cat tail

Cats are similar to humans, we have certain ways to display body language. When your kitty’s tail puffs up, it is a way to communicate with you and other animals. You just need to watch the rest of their body language to see what the intent of the puffy cat tail is.

So, Why does a Cat Tail Puff Up? 

why my cats tail puffs up  cat tail

Defensive or Startled 

Sometimes when your cat puffs up their tail followed with an arched back it means one of two things. They are scared or in defense mode. If you see your cat raise their tail high in the air, they are displaying a reaction to a surge of adrenaline that runs through their system. You could think of it like goosebumps on a human body, how they stand up if we get scared. If you see your cat hiss, that is a sign they are in defense mode. If you think you just startled your cat, let them cool down and all will be okay.


When a cat or even a kitten is playing, you might see them getting their tail puffed up often. It is a sign of excitement, and even that they get frightened and react. This happens often, and if your cat acts okay, just keep playing with them.

Happy or Affectionate 

When you cat is happy to see you or wants to show some love and affection, they might rub up against you and puff their tail up. Generally, you will hear them purring like crazy, soaking up love from you.


A puffed-up tail can be a sign of submission. If a cat is trying to avoid a confrontation between another animal or cat, they will puff up the tail, or even tuck it behind their legs. When your cat displays these signs, they are being submissive to the opponent at hand.


There you have it, the most common reasons that answer the question of why do cats tails puff up!

Want to know more? Check out these other interesting cat facts:

  Cat Care
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 Kelsey Apley

  (188 articles)

I am a city girl who has now moved to the country for a more relaxed lifestyle, with my husband and son! We love to be outdoors in nature, doing crafts, and just taking each day as a new adventure. I am a freelance writer and stay at home mom by day!


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