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31 July 2008

Does anyone else's cat attack their own tail? My 1.5 y/o kitten doesn't seem to perceive his tail as part of himself. Sometimes he gets spooked by it and bites it. Weirdo.
Cats (esp. kittens) not only sometimes attack their own tail, but they also yelp in surprise when they feel the pain that the bite has caused. Most of them figure it out, eventually.
posted by Melismata 31 July | 10:32
I hate it when my cat attacks my tail.
posted by dismas 31 July | 10:46
I lived with a wonderful cat named Arthur, who used to chase his tail when he thought no one was looking. (He was very smart, though, and knew exactly what he was doing.)

He also used to play tag with me, a fact that still amazes me.
posted by Specklet 31 July | 10:58
Smooshie does that occasionally. He's five years old.
posted by amro 31 July | 11:05
oooh, Specks, a tag-playing cat? I want one of those! ours mostly sheds and sleeps, except when he's busting shit up at 3AM.

My old horse would play tag, which sounds dangerous but wasn't, it was actually pretty awesome (except when he'd get in a "tag" mood when I was actually trying to catch him for some reason). Horses have a walnut-sized brain and are roughly as smart as a really stupid dog, but to make up for it they have fantastic pattern recognition and astonishing memory which makes them pretty good at learning games like tag and "snag-the-rag/bucket" (equine version of keep away / capture-the-flag), and stuff like counting tricks.
posted by lonefrontranger 31 July | 11:16
I knew a horse and a dog that used to play tag! It was hilarious to watch.

But yeah, Arthur and I would play tag. I'd get home from work and call (in a sing-song way) "Aaaah-ssssurrr, Ah-sur dahlink, vere aaaaah you?!" And he would come running from wherever he was hiding. We'd wrassle for a little while, then suddenly he would leap away from me, tail swishing, then suddenly run under my bed.

This was my cue to jump on top of the bed, and remain motionless until he ran out: through my bedroom! through the living room! through the dining room! and into the kitchen! where he would freeze, tail lashing. I, having just run after him, would pretend that I'd just run into the living room to examine a bowl of fruit or something. Then, suddenly, I'd run out of the kitchen! through the dining room! through the living room! and into my bedroom and jump on top of the bed. Arthur, who was in hot pursuit, would run under the bed, and we would wait until the tension was unbearable, then he would pelt out again, me chasing him.

We'd do this for about half an hour, then we were tired and would watch TV.
posted by Specklet 31 July | 11:32
Bees use to catch her tail when she was a baby but not any more. Maybe part tail injury, maybe it bores her now, but she's not the brightest bulb in the cat house. She can be clever but mostly just cute. Still curious.
She's getting heavy on the bottom. We need to figure a good lower body cardio but she's very about the forepaws.
posted by ethylene 31 July | 12:26
My little cat did that when she was a kitten. She's too lazy to do it now. However, if she's lying around cleaning herself and I grab her tail, hold it in front of her face, she'll clean it viciously for five minutes or more. She's very good about cleaning her tail on command.
posted by mudpuppie 31 July | 13:31
Specklet that is great.
posted by CitrusFreak12 31 July | 16:18
yea CF, I just checked in and that story makes me want a tag-playing cat even more now.

however I fear that if I attempted this with Mephistopheles, the psychotic, evil tuxedo-clad feline villain-in-residence at chez lfr, I would wind up with shredded extremities.
posted by lonefrontranger 31 July | 16:57
Specklet, I just remembered! back when I was a kid I had a cat who'd play Magic Laundry Basket! You know, that game where you flip the laundry basket upside down, then rattle it and lift the edge? then your cat runs underneath and is trapped! And then he sits there and glares at you while you circle sloooowly around the laundry basket and he goes all tail-lashy and butt-wiggly! then you flip the edge up just a teeeeensy bit... and he quickrunsawayandhides! Then comes zooming back into the room and you start all over again!!
posted by lonefrontranger 31 July | 17:14
My cat sometimes attacks his tail. The damn thing is always following him. Every goshdarn time he turns around the fool thing is just sitting there, mocking him. Poor old Bert sometimes just can't take that dang thing's persistence. So he attacks it, but it doesn't ever seem to get the message. Next time he looks? The tail is still back there! It is MADDENING!
posted by mmahaffie 31 July | 17:15
I've had kitties that attack their own tails. They grow out of it.

As for cats playing tag - I once had the honor of being friends with one of those.

Way back in the early nineties a pitch black kitten was found in a garbage can in the east village by girls that lived in the same girl-dorm as I used to live in. I met this cat when I visited them. They had named him XTC - certain that he must have hit their stash, what with the way he ran across the walls and purred loudly all the frickin' time. No animals are allowed in the dorms, and I offered to babysit him for a while. That night he went home to my apartment in my black and white backpack, carried on my belly with his head sticking out. As soon as we came home I explained what each room was and he followed me to bedroom (closet) kitchen (cabinet) livingroom (room) and finally the bathroom where I showed him the tub and asked him to do any business he might need doing right in there "because then I can clean it, we'll get you a litterbox tomorrow".

Ten minutes later he came up to me and announced "mjau mjau" very loudly, then entered the bathroom and did his business in the tub. I was in love with him like nothing else after that. Clever cat.

I taught him to sit (like a dog with paws up on command), which he would use to beg whenever there was chicken served or to impress cat-friendly people. I taught him to open the kitchen cabinet door to reach his litterbox later - he taught himself to close it for privacy when he was in there.

He'd invite to games of tag. Sitting on the arm of the couch, he'd make eye contact, the lean his head down, then raise his butt a little, then let out this hilarious little noise, and once you start doing the same headwaving moves - he'd race off like the tasmanian devil wanting me to catch him.

When he was bored he'd even attack me to start a game. I'd be doing the dishes and he'd stand up his hind legs so that he could reach the top of my butt and he'd slam both his paws down and then run away run away like nothing else waiting for me to find him.
I'd tag him and run - my favorite place was to hide in the bathroom, where he'd find me tag me, and then I had to chase him. So one day I reckon I'm pretty smart and I hid in the tub. He comes walking in the hall trying to find me, looks into a seemingly empty bathroom - looks in the mirror! - and dashes off to hide.

can not get over how clever that cat was.

All black, the size of a dog. He stayed with my ex for many years and developed a habit of waiting for him in the driveway every night when he came home from work. One day when he was fourteen years old, he walked out to his waiting spot at two in the afternoon, lay down for a bit, and died. All the neighbours called my ex and got home home from work asap when they saw it.

He had lived in New york city (3 apartments) San francisco (he never forgave me for that whole flying thing) and a nice place in the suburbs. Not bad for a kitten found in a garbage can.

I love XTC and am so happy I met him.
posted by dabitch 31 July | 18:56
XTC wins.
posted by Specklet 01 August | 06:49
yay, I'm an aunt again! || Mr. Muckle,