Why Do Cats Tails Puff Up?

Cats are playful and fun-loving creatures. Their tails are straight up when they are happy and confident. They love to play and enjoy interacting with people.

Playful cats often give a quick flick of the tail to express their happiness.

Cats use many different ways to communicate with each other and their tails are very important to convey emotions. A happy cat wags its tail proudly while an angry cat holds its tail down low.

In addition, a relaxed or sad cat stretches out its tail as if it were a human’s arm.

As we can see, cat’s tails are very expressive. When a cat’s tail twitches, they feel happy. When they curl up, they feel sleepy. When they flare out, they’re angry. 

And when they puff up, they feel scared. Cats use their tails to communicate with other cats as well as their owners. If a cat’s tail gets puffed up, it means that it’s feeling scared. Cat tails generally do not puff up because they are excited. 

In the wild, cats are naturally aggressive predators. Their tails are used to intimidate other animals as well used to detect threats. 

A big, puffy tail makes you appear bigger than you really are and also gives off an intimidating presence and works well in the wild as a way of putting off potential predators. In the comfort of their homes, domestic cats won’t attack anything unless there is a real threat. 

How Does It Happen?

The official name for fur standing on end is piloerection. It refers to the physical process of fur changing from sleek and smooth upright. It happens as a hormone response when the central nervous system goes into flight or fight. 

Cat tails appear larger than usual when they’re frightened. Their fur stands up because it traps air inside their coats, acting as insulation. When cats get stressed out, they might stand up their hair to trap more air. 

A cat may also be having a flashback to something bad when it was a kitten, causing them to stand up their hair. Cat fur stands up as a way to protect them from danger. 


Cat tails are used as signals. When cats hold their tails straight up, they are in an offensive position. Their tails are puffed up to show that they are ready to fight. When cats hold their puffy tails straight down, they are afraid or detect something that they dislike. 

These two positions are used by cats when looking at threats or things that scare them. A cat is afraid when it arches its back, yowls, hisses, growls, flattens its ears, or spits.

A cat’s tail is used as a warning signal when it feels threatened by another cat or by a human. When a cat puffs up his tail, he is saying stop! He doesn’t want to fight.

In addition to the upright fur, their ears are often pushed back, too. Puffing up the whole body means that the cat is very angry. 

Cats do not fight unless they’re provoked. They don’t want to fight but if they must, they’ll bluff first instead of actually fighting. 

How Do You Know If The Cat Is Ready To Attack?

Cats are more likely to be aggressive when they feel threatened and their tails will be curved up, showing they’re ready to attack if any danger comes near them. Playful cat tails are usually straight and curled, and they’re happy to play around with you.

Cats are playful creatures who love to play. Their tails help them move around while they’re playing. When cats feel threatened, they may back away. Whiskers point forward when cats are feeling playful. 

Erect ears indicate that cats are interested in what others are doing. Paws point out where cats want to go. Dilated pupils show that cats are alert and squatting is a sign of playfulness.

Writhing the tail indicates that cats are feeling playful. Pouncing on toys shows that cats are feeling playful and excited.

A puffed-up tail  can also mean submission. When a subservient cat tries to avoid a confrontation with an aggressive one, his tail poufs up and is lowered or tucks between his legs. This shows he wants to avoid a fight. Let’s have a look at specific ail behavior. 

Twitchy Swishy Tail 

Cat tails are usually swishy when they’re excited. However, some cats use their tails to signal irritation. When cats watch prey, their tails may twitch.

A cat uses its tail to greet people when they walk by. They use their mouths to mark territory and they use their tail as an extra appendage as though to shake hands with people. When people get too close to cats’ faces, they give them head bumps.


When a cat is thrashing its tail it’s best to beware. This is his way of telling you he’s had enough and wants to be left alone. 

Tucked Tail

Cats can be insecure creatures. When they tuck their tails behind them, they show fear and anxiety. Their tails are low, and they are not moving around. This shows that they are unsure about what is happening but feel confident enough to investigate the situation.


Cats often sit or sleep with tails wrapped around them. Usually, this indicates that the cat feels relaxed in its environment but it also may suggest that the cat wants to be alone and shouldn’t be disturbed. 


A cat’s tail can be used to express love towards humans. Cat tails can wrap-around legs, and cats can also drape their tails over people sitting beside them. When cats feel safe, they rub their bodies against you, purring loudly.

Aggression In Cats 

Cats show play-related aggression when they’re bored. Their playful nature comes out when they’re around other cats. When they get tired of playing, they start biting and scratching. Playing with your cat doesn’t mean he’ll never bite you so always feel cautious as cats can be temperamental. 

Cats are territorial creatures and territorial aggression is common. Furthermore it can also be caused by underlying medical conditions or medication. Medications such as anti-anxiety drugs can help calm your cat, always speak to a vet for advice. 

Separation anxiety that can occur if you separate your cat from another cat. When you reunite the two, the returning cat may smell differently and react aggressively towards him/her. 

Fear or stress-related aggression occurs when there is a frightening or threatening encounter, such as visiting the vet, moving into a new place, or having a new roommate or pet. These events cause fear or stress, and this causes aggressive behavior.


In general, cats are loyal pets who love being around people. They appreciate human attention and affection. When cats are treated well, they become more trusting of humans.

Courtney Trent
Latest posts by Courtney Trent (see all)