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C2008-03

Dear Christopher Cat

Snowflake, our 17-year-old Persian, seems to enjoy being petted by adults. However, when our son pets her, she turns her rear end to him and makes her tail so bushy that it looks like a fox’s tail. What does this behavior mean?

Christopher Responds

We cats communicate our feelings through body language. When we like someone and want to interact, we raise our tails in greeting.

Often, we present our rear ends at the same time, like Snowflake does. It’s a compliment. Really.

On the other hand, when we’re frightened, we cats exhibit a range of behaviors. Many cats dash away.

Not me, though. I stand up as tall as I can, and my long hair sticks out straight, making me look large and intimidating.

Snowflake’s bushy tail suggests she may be uneasy with your son, though her other body language indicates she welcomes the petting.

Perhaps your son once petted her too roughly, and Snowflake is on guard but nevertheless still interested in interacting.

Monitor their time together to ensure that your son pets Snowflake gently.

If Snowflake continues to bush her tail during petting sessions, even when you’re sure she’s relaxed, she might simply be showing off her thick, beautiful tail. After all, girls will be girls.

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