Tail Talk

A funny thing happened, on the way to writing this post.  I decided I had to have an elderly gentleman named Gus.  I contacted Gus’s guardian and asked if Gus could be spared.  The answer came back “no.”  Humbug.

It was something about Gus’s face that did me in.  Have a look.

At the time I didn’t know why I should feel so moved at Gus’s little cat face – I just did.  Now I have the explanation.

Gus has a hard time communicating with his brother Julius and sister Calpurnia.  The guardian – on whose insights into all things feline I have come to rely – explains that it’s because Gus has a kink in his tail.  This makes it difficult or painful for Gus to carry his tail vertically, in order to express the proper “happy-handshake”-type message.

The guardian explains that the other cats misinterpret, and seem to be under the mistaken impression that Gus is – threatening!

With a face like that?

Still.  That’s cats.

Enjoy this post, over at Gus’s.

I can totally relate.  As I said in my pee-mail over at Gus’s:  I have a kink in my tail too.  No wonder I look suspicious to everybody.

No wonder I’m misunderstood.

Pee Ess: Want to find out why we love Jackson Galaxy so much over here?  Check this out.  I believe Jackson pretty much agrees with the above schematic, on tail-posture — but here’s what makes the difference, to us, about lovely sweet cool Jackson:

“The bottom line here is to know the rules; then you can break them as you develop a deep individual bond with your pet . . . . A cat is born a cat, of course, but to a degree these communication skills must be honed, just like hunting. So, in short, this primer is just that; a way for you to begin looking at your cat a bit more deeply, while leaving other aspects of his or her world open to interpretation.”

Ahhhh Jackson.  If only the rest of the world were like you.

About nadbugs

Anita loves cats. This must be because she, too, has had nine lives. She’s been dancing since she could walk, she was a commercial artist and advertising producer, she earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, she is a drummer with the Afrique Aya Dance Company, she is an attorney, and she’s a meditator and a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. She also spent one lifetime sidelined with a devastating back injury in 1992. Since then – FELDENKRAIS METHOD® to the rescue. The FELDENKRAIS METHOD is all about dreaming concretely – thinking intelligently and independently by way of a gracious and kind physicality. The work affords all who study it a process by which to reach, with movement, into the mind and the heart, to make nine lives into one whole being.
This entry was posted in Empathy, Things Cats, Humans Do and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Tail Talk

  1. MelanieJ says:

    Huh. Romeo never held his tail up either, and the “girls” HATED him. I never knew why, but maybe this was part of it… they thought he was just a big stinky rude boy. I find the tail posture stuff fascinating. Now that I’ve seen those drawings, I’m going to watch the cats closely to see what they’re trying to tell me. I hope it isn’t the third picture!

  2. These are so true! Even if you can’t touch or get really near a cat (i.e. feral) you can see how they feel by the tail. This is how I know Scouty likes us, his tail is always sky high.

  3. ewok1993 says:

    this is very informative. mama is still learning how t0 read our body/tail language 🙂

    emma and buster @ http://emmaandbuster.blogspot.com

  4. Eleanor says:

    The tail is such a great indication of mood. I love those illustrations. I never thought how a cat with a damaged tail might be affected body-language communication-wise. It might be why one of the regular strays here has so many howling matches with the other cats – his tail is all wonky and over to one side – maybe they all think he’s being rude.

    I’d want Gus too, he looks like such a character. I’m a sucker for the old boys.

  5. lifewith4cats says:

    I clicked that first link and got completely sidetracked reading all about the three cats. Where ever did you find them?

  6. nadbugs says:

    I think the marvelous bean-guardian showed up here one day and started leaving comments. A happy day for us, I can tell you. I love that person’s stuff & have subscribed.

  7. IsobelandCat says:

    How did I miss this one? Gus has a very sweet face. i am interested in the tail talk, but not sure i agree with all of it. Both Cat and Not Cat have expressed pleasure in seeing me and other friends with their tails upright and kinked over. I don’t think I ever saw Cat’s tail quiver, though I witnessed the fully bristling one on numerous occasions when other cats dared to come into ‘his’ garden.
    Not Cat does a funny little excited dance that precedes racing about the garden. His ears go back, his front legs stick out so he looks like a capital A, and he bounces for several yards, all the time with his tail curled over to one side like a curtain hook.

  8. Pingback: For Gus | catself


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