Why Do Cats Like Their Tail Pulled?

Cats love their tails.

Due to their slender and agile bodies, they’re able to quickly shift between walking and running. Their tails serve many purposes, and cats often use them to communicate.

Some cats like to have their tails pulled gently, which reduces their anxiety or stress. So, why do cats like their tail pulled?

Cat owners are often curious about why their cats like to have their tails pulled. One answer is that cats are naturally aggressive and have predatory instincts.

Therefore, cats enjoy attacking their owners with their teeth and claws. Pulling their tails encourages this behavior, so cats are drawn to the action.

Cats also like to have their tails pulled when they’re frightened or angry. Their tails act as a warning system for their predators.

Therefore, when a cat’s tail is pulled, it acts as a signal that he or she is in danger. This explains why cats like to have their tails pulled.

Why Do Cats Like Their Tail Pulled?

Physical Contact With You

Cats and humans share many similarities.

In fact, our brains are wired differently, and we feel the same emotions. However, there’s one very important difference between us: physical affection.

Humans typically hug and kiss their loved ones to show affection. Humans also touch each other to show affection.

Cats don’t do this, and for a good reason: they don’t like it. Cats’ claws are very sharp, and petting a cat can be painful.

Some cats might be okay with petting, but many cats are really uncomfortable. Consequently, cats don’t like being touched.

However, cats still love physical affection. Being petted and kissed on their head or body makes them feel happy and loved.

So, although cats don’t like to be petted on their body or tail, they’ll still love being petted on their head or neck.


Cats love to be petted and stroked, and petting them often causes them to roll onto their back, exposing their belly and tail.

This rolling behavior is called “flehmen response” or “soothing” behavior.

When a cat exposes its belly and tail, it also releases a pheromone called allomone. This chemical is emitted when a cat is threatened or uncomfortable.

However, allomen is initially attractive to cats because it contains pheromones that trigger a calming and soothing response.

When a cat is exposed to allomen, they relax by curling into themselves and exposing their belly and tail.

Allomen also helps cats feel calm when being petted and stroked. Fur follicles on the cat’s tail release allomen when stroked or petted.

When cats are exposed to allomen, they release the same chemical, creating a calming effect.

Some cats find the mild pull on their tails relaxing because they get the same calming effect as when they expose themselves to a pheromone.

As a result, some owners find that stroking the cat gently while their pulling its fur creates the same effect as exposing the cat to allomen: the feline feels calm and relaxed as a result.

Many owners find stroking the cat while gently pulling its fur comforting for their pets, too!

Stretches Back

The most frequent advantage of tugging the tail of the animal is that it increases the flexibility of the spine of the animal and also removes any unnecessary fat deposits in the spine of the animal.

This process improves the circulation of blood in the spine of the animal and reduces the pain that the animal might face in the future due to spinal problems.

Another advantage of tugging the tail of the animal is that it increases the strength and the muscle mass of the body and also improves the grip power of the animal due to its improved strength.

Why Should You Not Touch A Cat’s Tail?

Cats dislike having their tails stroked or touched and this behavior is not peculiar to domestic cats alone.

It may also be unpleasant since the cat has to spend time cleaning its tail in order to remove the oils on its fur which the cat uses to mark its territory.

This is why most cats prefer to keep their tails tucked away between their legs when they are being petted.

Do Cats Like When You Grab Their Tail?

Although cats dislike having their tails caressed, they may like it if they are grabbed firmly and pulled upwards, especially if it is accompanied with other actions such as scratching behind the ears and other petting activities.

The act of grabbing the tail may seem strange but to your cat it may be pleasurable since it may feel like his/her own private massage session.

These actions may also indicate that your cat enjoys physical contact with you and is therefore comfortable around you.

Since your cat may not like it if his tail is pulled too tightly, you should only do it gently and casually when your pet is comfortable and relaxed.

However, not all cats will, or should, enjoy having their tails handled this way.

Do Cats Appreciate It When You Grab Their Tail?

Cats dislike it when their tails are grabbed firmly or when the person who is handling their tail suddenly stops doing it.

It may throw them off balance and make them uneasy when they are being petted in this way.

This indicates that tugging, grasping, and/or pulling the tail is a poor way of showing affection to a cat that you may not even know very well.

Is It Cruel to Pull a Cat’s Tail?

Tail injuries may result if your cat’s tail is pulled too hard or for too long a time.

The tail contains nerves that govern its movement and if the nerves are damaged then the movement of the cat may be affected.

For example, if the nerves controlling the movement of the hind leg are affected then the cat may not be able to walk properly after the injury heals.

The risk of nerve damage is higher in kittens since their bones are not yet fully developed and so they are still growing and developing.

If caught early, however, nerve damage can be treated effectively with rest and proper medical care.

Nerve injury might result from the cats playing rough with each other or with other animals in the house such as dogs or rodents.

Nerve injury may recover on its own with time and treatment if caught early.

Also Read: My Cat Overgrooming the Base of His Tail

Final Words

Cats that appreciate having their tails tugged are those whose owners play with them regularly and enjoy physical contact with them.

Owners of such pets are likely to notice changes in their pet’s behavior if their action changes while petting their pet.

Such changes may include increased purring, rolling over to expose their bellies, and other actions that indicate comfort with the owner and pleasure from being touched.

Your cat may also allow you to hold him/her more tightly if you begin to pet them differently.

This is unusual, but it is not uncommon for cats to become comfortable with touching their tails if they enjoy it from a young age and are touched often by their owners.