A #Feline's Tail Tells the Tale--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith



This week as I sat on my easy chair sipping my morning coffee, Halo jumped on my lap for a few moments of cuddling and petting.  After a bit, I felt a furry nudge at my feet followed by an annoyed Halo squirming in my lap. Paddy had found Halo's dangling tail and was playing with it as she does with one of her wand toys. Needless to say, my quiet time with my coffee and Halo was short-lived as the session turned into a feline squirmish and a mad dash throughout the house. The "event" got me to thinking about the stimulus for the disruption...Halo's tail. The feline tail reveals a lot of information about what is going on in the feline head. I gathered some photos this week which depict how the tail tells the tale.    



When one of the cats is sleeping on their condo, a tail often dangles over the side of the shelf. Sometimes this is simply because of their position on the shelf as they sleep, and other times it seems that the tail balances them and secures them from falling off. In a peaceful sleep, the tail is usually still, but in an awake pose, the tail is more active, perhaps revealing what the next move will be. A fluffed tail indicates agitation and I know in a few minutes there will be a cat chase through the house or the pursuit of a fly or ladybug. When Bonnie comes in from outside, her tail is often fluffed, indicating she has just been in pursuit of a mouse or a bird.

On the other hand, when I see more of a cat's tail than of her face, I can be pretty certain that she is up to some sort of mischief. In the pictures below, Paddy is about to jump up on the shelf in my closet and Zoie has found a long lost toy under the corner hutch in the kitchen. In both cases, the photo did not capture the rapid swish of the tail that accompanied the next move.     



When the cats play together, their tails are usually relaxed, but at the slightest irritation (which Paddy is good at providing) her playmate's tail will quickly rise. At times the playmates tail becomes a plaything.  Below, as Paddy rescues a wayward toy that has rolled under brown packaging paper that I often put down for the cats to play on, Halo eyes her tail, perhaps waiting for a signal that Paddy has successfully retrieved the object of her search...or perhaps contemplating a tail attack. Kittens love to chase their own tail and adult cats are still curious about an inviting swish of fluff.      



And, of course, the tail often aides in finding a missing feline who has fallen asleep at some unexpected spot that is not usually a part of their daily routine.


Of course, a cat's tail has a biological function to provide balance and stability as they walk, play, hunt and run.  But when we learn to interpret our pets' mood through their tail movements, we can also predict their next behavioral move. When London's tail is thumping and swishing, I know she is agitated and needs space free from human intervention. When one of my furry family's tail is fluffed and raised, I know she was startled and is on the defensive. When Clyde sits outside in the breadloaf position with his tail wrapped around him, I know he feels safe. When Halo comes to me with her tail raised after eating, I know she wants her back scratched near the base of the tail. When one of my cats is sleeping on the bed and they let me play with their tail, I know they totally trust me. The tail really does tell the tale!    


Happy "TAILS" to you!!

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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 97th novel will be released in 2017.
Karen and Paddy

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 




©2017 Karen Rose Smith









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