Why Do Cats Tails Puff Up Suddenly? Explained

Are you wondering why your cat’s tail suddenly puffs up? Or maybe you are wondering what a “puffed up tail” means?

If so, then this article is for you.

Why Do Cats Tails Puff Up Suddenly

Why Do Cats Tails Puff Up Suddenly?

In this article, we will discuss the various reasons that cause a cat’s tail to suddenly fluff up, as well as some of the most common causes.

What Is a Puffed Up Tail?

When a cat’s tail is puffed up, it usually indicates that it is afraid of something or someone.

For example, if a cat is scared of dogs, then its tail will become puffy and it will be facing away from the dog.

Sometimes, when a cat’s tail is puffed up, it can show that it is being submissive. This means that the cat is showing respect to another creature or a person.

How Does a Cat’s Tail Puff Up?

When a cat is scared, the spines of its tail become erect and it will puff up, so it will look bigger than its actual size.

This is also known as piloerection.

This happens because when a cat is scared, the muscles in the tail tense up, causing the hairs on its tail to stand up.

This behavior can also be seen in other animals, such as dogs and birds.

It can be easily observed in puppies and kittens who are afraid of loud noises or sudden movements. The tail becomes stiff and the muscles in the tail become tight.

Why Does My Cat’s Tail Puff Up?

Cats puff up their tails when scared as a defensive mechanism to make themselves appear larger and more intimidating to potential threats. This is a natural instinct that helps cats protect themselves in the wild.

The Cat is Frightened

This is one of the most common reasons why a cat’s tail will puff up.

puffed up tail

A cat who is scared will usually curl his/her tail, but sometimes even it will extend upwards and may look like a snake. This is an instinctive reaction from the cat to escape from the danger or threat.

The Cat is Angry

A cat who is angry or aggressive may not be afraid of you, but it will definitely show it through its tail. It will be curled at an angle with the body and may have the hair standing on end.

The Cat is Ready to Attack

Sometimes a cat will attack you when he/she is ready to attack. So, if you are not expecting it, then the cat will show his/her anger by puffing his/her tail. This is a normal reaction from the cat to defend himself/herself.

The Cat Is Trying To Make Itself Look Bigger

This is the other common reason why your cat’s tail puffs up.

A cat will raise its tail to make itself look bigger when it wants to scare off a predator. This is known as “tail-raising,” and it happens when a cat is in fear or surprise.

The Cat is Being Submissive

If your cat is being submissive, his tail may turn puffy. This is a sign that he’s ready to accept whatever you want to do to him.

You may find that your cat is being submissive as he’s trying to please you or is trying to get you to leave him alone. If you notice that your cat is showing signs of submission, it’s a good idea to give your cat some playtime or exercise.


In conclusion, the puffed-out tail of a cat is an indicator of its stress level. So when a cat suddenly puffs out its tail, it is usually a signal to others that the cat is feeling stressed.