By Linda Cole
I don’t know many pet owners who haven’t watched their dog or cat chase their tail, especially if they adopted the pet as a puppy or kitten. However, tail chasing isn’t a normal activity for adult dogs or cats and if they chase their tail all the time, there could be a medical or behavioral reason for it.
Young dogs and cats enjoy trying to catch their tails. Kittens are fun to watch when they get in a tail chasing mood. When my cat Pogo was a kitten, he would stare intently as his tail flicked back and forth. He lowered his head with each flick and readied himself for an ambush. At the right moment, he would pounce on his tail, twisting, turning, doing somersaults and hopping up and down (the reason for his name) until he tired of the game. Of course we laughed watching his antics.
Some older pets chase their tail to get our attention. Dogs and cats are both capable of learning things on their own and sometimes realize they can get us to pay attention to them if they chase their tail. When they get a positive reaction from us – we laugh and pay attention to them – it makes them more likely to continue doing it to please their human.