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Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails?

Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails?

A tail can tell many tales. We all have that image of a friendly dog who with his tail frantically wagging so hard it seems as though he may take off. In this case, the message is pretty clear- you have a happy dog. However, according to the experts, in some cases, the message isn’t quite so clear. When it comes to cats, movement and tail posture are not always easy to interpret. Still- they are sending a message.

Tail Flick

If your cat is carrying his tail low, rigid, and flicking it back and forth- he is showing signs of aggression. This is definitely not a happy cat. This often occurs during a visit to the vet- the cat is letting everyone know that he doesn’t want to be there. On the other hand, you may have a cat that is relaxed and surveying the area that also has this tail posture. However, the movement is leisurely and reflects contentment.

Vertical Hold

If your cat is holding his tail upright, you can believe that he is in a playful mood. There may be some motion back and forth, which is his way of greeting you and letting you know that he’s in the mood to interact.

On the other hand, if the upright tail is quivering on a cat that is backed up into a corner, wall, or furniture, it could be that he is spraying- keep in mind that female cats are just as likely to spray as male cats. If the tail is held upright, but is concave, it’s a defensive aggression stance. The cat does not want to interact.

Arched Tail

If your cat has his back arched, his ears pinned back, and his tail erect- he is either ready to react in a defensive or offensive attack. The cat will do anything it feels is necessary and is letting everyone around him know that he’s ready to react in whatever way he needs to.

The truth is that cats are quite expressive and will use their posture, their ear position, their facial expressions, and the position/movement of their tail to show feelings and intentions. Basically, unlike a dog who wags his tail to show happiness, a cat that is ‘wagging” his tail is likely not expressing joy.

Why Do Cats Hiss?

Why Do Cats Hiss?

A hiss is a sound that every cat owner has heard at some time. Even if you believe that you have the sweetest, most perfect cat on the planet- if he has ever felt threatened or needed to warn a potential enemy- he has probably hissed at some point in his life.

While hissing may sound funny to you- be assured that your cat is not trying to be funny. If he is hissing, it is because he feels threatened in some way.

How does the Hiss Happen?

A hiss happens when your cat forces air through his arched tongue. If you are close enough to the cat when he lets out a hiss, you may feel the air being shot through his mouth- but you may not want to risk getting caught in the crossfire. He will pull his lips back and flatten his ears against his head as well.

Why do they Hiss?

Put simply, a hiss is a warning to the other party. Since a cat typically doesn’t want to engage in physical confrontations, they will rely on their posture, vocalizations, and marking to fend off potential opponents. A hiss is a verbal warning to his opponent- a reaction to something in the immediate area that is making him feel he is in danger. This could be anything from the vet, owner, or another cat. The hiss lets the opponent know that if they don’t back off, there will be repercussions. A hissing cat is scared, but willing to engage in a fight if needed.

Many of the animal behavior experts believe that the hiss is meant to mimic that of a snake to chase off potential opponents. After all, mimicry is quite common in the animal world when it comes to surviving. There are some animals that will mimic a predator either visually or vocally to deter others. The cat counts on the hiss providing enough of a warning. Mother cats will often hiss if another cat or a human get too close to the kittens- or a cat may hiss if an unfamiliar guest (animal or human) comes over to visit. Hissing is often heard in vet offices- and if you have been the one handling or medicating a cat that is not comfortable, you’ve probably been hissed at.

Why Do Cats Growl?

Why Do Cats Growl?

Though cats are typically sweet and cute, they are also quite confusing and mysterious. If you are a cat owner, you’ve probably spent more than one sleepless night, scratching your head trying to figure out why he does what he does- growling/hissing are no exception to this.


Typically, growling and hissing seem like angry sounds- but actually, they are typically indicative of feeling fearful and vulnerable. For example, your cat may growl/hiss when he meets a new, bigger, and unfamiliar cat. Maybe he feels like he needs to put up a defense against a potential predator. This is completely understandable.


In addition to fear, hissing and growling can also be indicative of annoyance. Perhaps you feel like everything is perfectly fine in the world. You’re just spending a nice, cozy evening holding your cat in your lap and watching some television. Suddenly, your cat starts growling and hissing and starts to squirm. He’s not necessarily angry with you- he’s just communicating to you that he has had enough and wants to get down. Don’t take it personally.


In some cases, a cat will let out a growling/hissing sound when they are surprised by something- whether a predator or anyone/anything else they perceive to be a threat to their wellbeing. For example, if a new cat shows up on a cat’s “turf”, he may start to hiss and growl to show that it’s his territory and the new cat better watch out.

Warning Sign

If you ever hear your cat let out a grave, prolonged, deep growl, chances are that he is trying to communicate a serious warning. He will either be communicating to those around him to back away or he may even move in the opposite direction of the perceived threat. If the perceived threat does not retreat from the growl, chances are the teeth and claws may come out next.

The truth is that cats do have some mysterious and confusing behaviors- such as growling and hissing. However, for the most part, they’re really cute and sweet- and make great pets. Though, you must keep in mind that they’re not nearly as needy or loving as dogs can be.

Why Do Cats Vomit?

Why Do Cats Vomit?

Chances are, you’ve seen your cat vomit every now and then and you didn’t really give it a second thought. When a cat vomits, it can be something minor such as eating too quickly or can be an indication of a much more serious condition that will require immediate medical treatment. Typically, though, a cat will vomit because he ate something that didn’t agree with his stomach, ate more than he should have, or even played too soon after eating. On the other hand, vomiting can be indicative of systemic or gastrointestinal issues.

Diet as a Common Reason for Cat Vomiting

Poor Quality/Rendered Diet

If you are feeding your cat a diet that is poor quality or rendered, that can contribute to vomiting. The term rendered refers to the fact that the proteins found in the cat’s food are not approved for consumption by humans. They typically are made up of leftovers from the slaughterhouse such as hooves, heads, eyes, beaks, bird feathers, and animal skin. While it’s true that these pieces are considered to be packed with protein, they can also be quite difficult for your pet’s body to digest- which can result in vomiting.

Allergies to Foods

In some cases, your cat may develop an allergy to his food. This is actually a very common reason for vomiting over a period of time. If your cat is acting fine, is maintaining a healthy weight, has normal energy levels, and doesn’t seem sick chances are that it is most likely a food allergy.

Allergies to certain foods develop over time when a cat is given the same foods over and over again. There are lots of people that think, “But I can’t get my cat to eat anything else!” This is the main reason why cats are given the same thing repeatedly- not necessarily because their owners don’t know any better, but because the cat won’t eat anything else.

You may need to use a few tricks to get some variety in nutrition into your cat’s diet. You can look on YouTube for some great videos that address the issue of changing your cat’s food/diet.

However, if you find that your cat is vomiting on a regular basis, you need to address diet as the primary cause. Giving them the same type of protein on a regular basis- even high-quality, human-grade, can cause food allergies and even gastrointestinal inflammation. Therefore, it’s not just about the quality of the protein, but the need to switch from one protein to another on a regular basis.

The experts recommend that you gradually transition your cat to human-grade cat food and then to a raw-food diet, if at all possible. You can find videos on YouTube that will walk you through the slow process of diet transition step by step. Then, make sure that you do this every three months to avoid triggering a food allergy.

Cats are going to vomit every now and then. As long as your cat is healthy overall, you really don’t need to worry too much about it. On the other hand, if your cat starts losing weight and seems unhealthy, you need to visit your vet to figure out the cause.

Why Do Cats Throw Up Hairballs?

Why Do Cats Throw Up Hairballs?

If you are a cat owner, there’s a good chance you’ve found them in many places, such as behind your furniture, on your bed, and on your rugs. Maybe you’ve even seen your cat hack up a hairball or two. This is definitely not a pretty sight, right? The truth is that nearly every cat is going to suffer from a hairball every now and then, but if you find that your cat is vomiting up hairballs on a regular basis, you may need to visit the vet for some help or even take some preventative measures.

Hairballs Explained

Cats are naturally clean animals, and therefore, they groom themselves on a daily basis- several times a day, in fact. During the cleaning process, he will often end up swallowing some of his hair. Most of the time, this hair will go through the digestive system just fine, ending up in his feces. On the other hand, the hair that does not completely go through the digestive system will collect in the small intestine or even the stomach. He will eventually hack this up. Even though they are referred to as “hairballs” they very rarely look much like a ball and are not fun to step on, especially in the middle of the night when walking around barefoot.

Risk Factors for Hairballs

The older your cat is, the greater his risk for developing hairballs. In addition, the more hair your cat has, the more likely he is to develop hairballs. During the season when your cat will be shedding, he will be much more likely to develop them. One of the side effects of being the proud owner of a fastidious cat is increase in development of hairballs.

Preventing Hairballs

If you’d like to help your cat avoid hairballs- or at least decrease the frequency of them- you should brush your cat on a regular basis. If he has long hair, it should be done on a daily basis. You may even want to splurge a little on a groomer for cats with very long hair. You can use petroleum-based, fish/liver-flavored to help keep your cat regular. This should be given to your cat once to twice a week. If you can’t get him to lick it off of your fingers, you should smear it on his paws and he will lick it off from there. If you have a cat that has constant problems with hairballs, there are special hairball prevention foods you can find.

Problems Caused by Hairballs

The truth is that in some cats, hairballs can cause some serious problems. If you notice that your cat is refusing to eat, or seems to be constipated, you may want to get in touch with your vet. If he is always vomiting, but not getting anything up, this is another issue that will warrant a visit to the vet. In some cases, a hairball can end up passing into the intestine, which causes a blockage. This is a very serious situation, which may require surgery to save your cat’s life. If you have a cat that is vomiting up hairballs on a regular basis, it could be indicative of a more serious condition such as gastrointestinal diseases or cancer.

Can Cats See Color?

Can Cats See Color?

Since there is really no way to communicate with a cat, it’s quite difficult to determine what they are able to see. The only way that we can really describe the way a cat can see is to use modern science as a hitch and examine the eye. While in most cases, cat owners believe that their cat can clearly see them- and can see them in color- the truth is that the cat was not made this way.

We can use modern medical science to learn more information than we ever could before that can tell us what cats can see and why they are only able to see a limited amount of color.

Science of a Cat’s Eye

When it comes to the eye, the main component that is responsible for differentiating colors is the retina. This is an outlet of nerves containing cells known as rods and cones. The cones take in light and turns an image to color. The message will then be sent to the brain, where the concept of color is realized. On the other hand, the rods pull in light through the eye and contrast an image into black and white.

The theory that cats can see color is related to the number of cones and rods that are in their retinas. However, recently, modern science has been able to point out that there is a much higher concentration of rods than cones in the retinas of cats. Therefore, since cats do have some cones in their retina, they can see some color. However, due to the fact that only 20 percent of the cells in a cat’s retina are cones, that leaves 80 percent as rods, which means that while they can see color, they are not really able to differentiate between one color and another.

Why are Cat’s Eyes Important?

When we look back into history as far back as we can trace the cat, they have always been known as hunters. They were able to live and survive in the wilderness by doing their hunting at night and keeping themselves concealed during the daytime. This means that their eyes were a very important asset because they were able to see much better at night, which was critical in order for them to survive.

One of the things you must understand is that a cat’s ability to differentiate colors was never really necessary in order for a cat to survive. In a dark, wooded forest, a cat really didn’t need color. The only thing that was really necessary in order to be a successful hunter was bright contrasts.

As a pet owner, you may wonder if your pet can see colors. As far as cats go, they can see some colors, but not clearly. They can see bright contrasts- but due to the lower concentration of cones versus rods- they are really better able to see in shades of black/white than they are specific colors.