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.

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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.
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13 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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