She Thinks She’s a Kitten: Why Cats Chase their Tails

Video

Some cats chase their tails. This is Gizmo, chasing her own tail. When I took this video, she was 13 years old. One year later, she still thinks she’s a kitten. We have our suspicions about why she’s so “kittenish” at her age, but we really don’t know, other than she’s healthy and happy. And funny. Watch below:

We know that dogs like to chase their tails. Many of us have, or have at least seen, a cat that likes to chase its tail. Gizmo, in the video above, doesn’t chase her tail very much, but when she does, she goes after it for all she’s worth. Why do some cats chase their tails?

Cats chase their tails for a variety of reasons

Dr. Steven Zawistowski, a science adviser with the ASPCA, says that they turn around, or look over their shoulders, see their tails moving, and it’s like seeing prey. He says it’s a natural reaction to want to start chasing it. The tail is a small moving thing, and so they’ll spin around while trying to catch it, the same way they’ll chase small balls that go past them or around them.

Love Meow says it’s also possible that cats chase their tails because they see the motion, and it somehow annoys them. They go after the annoyance, and try to make it stop.

Other reasons cats chase their tails are boredom, seeking attention, and medical problems like skin allergies, fleas, or even impacted or infected anal glands, according to an article on Canidae. They could also have a neurological problem causing the behavior. A cat that’s compulsively chasing her tail might also suffer from feline hyperesthesia syndrome, which is a disorder that makes cats extremely sensitive to touch along their spines and tails. With this disorder, even their own fur can bother them. If you notice that your cat is chasing her tail frequently, and especially if it’s a new behavior, consider taking her to the vet to rule out medical problems.

In Gizmo’s case, this is kitten behavior, despite the fact that she’s now 14 years old. She doesn’t appear to have anything wrong with her tail that would make her chase it, she’s got no symptoms of anything else, and she doesn’t do it very often.

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