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Curly-tailed cats are more common than originally realised as this page of photos shows. Initially believed to be restricted to only a handful of cats, visitors' photos show this charming and harmless trait has often been overlooked. Tails vary from looped, corkscrew and even tails that lie flat along the spine.

Due to the number of photos and descriptions contributed by visitors to the Tailless, Bobtail and Curly Tailed Cats page, a separate page has been created to improve loading times.

Three Curly Tail Kittens - Tara Fettig

Tara Fettig from Illinois, USA, sent these photos in January 2019. In 20 years with farm cats she has never had a curly tailed kitten, so perhaps the father was a roaming male from another farm. She has no intention of getting rid of her curly tailed cats because they are so unusual. The grey longhaired kitten is the one with the most pronounced curly tail. The sealpoint (McGuffin) is her sister and there is also grey shorthair female whose sister who curls to a lesser degree. The longhair grey is named HubbaWubba NubbaBubba (named by Tara’s children!) and is so fluffy that her tail gets hidden in her fur (and she won’t stand still for photos) . The mother of the three kittens is a tortie and the father is unknown, but is suspected to be a visiting grey-and-white longhair.


Michael Thomson

A splendid curly tailed cat owned by Michael Thomson



On October 2, 2005 Lisa Shock of Phoenix, Arizona, USA found a tiny 1lb kitten in her yard. She was very sick, and, according to the vet, about 4 months old -and a marble-patterned Bengal. She was immediately very friendly and liked to sit and sleep on Lisa's shoulder. She also curled her tail up very tightly to one side or the other (no preference) when sitting and would walk with it curled underneath her backside between her legs. She could straighten it out, and would do so when running around and excited, except for a small bend at the end. Even though she has regular vet visits, he has never seen her tail curled because she gets too worked up. As she grew up, the tail remained curly and gained strength. It's almost prehensile, she can wrap it very tightly around my fingers, arms or legs. Also, if she is angry, she will whip it, curled, from one side to the other, hitting her 'flanks' with it as she walks. She is clearly a runt, weighing about 9 pounds, with short legs for a Bengal. She was part of a group of feral cats in my neighborhood, and, the cat we believe was her mother was very large, maybe 22 pounds or so (resembling a Bengal in siz and pattern) She does have super-soft, very short fur which was in the 'ugly greys' when I found her. She developed more rich chocolate coloring later, and now, at age 9, is losing some of that color and becoming paler.



Eunice Kirkman’s Leroy (for big bad Leroy Brown) was rescued from a group of boys who were mistreating him.   Eunice adopted him 13 years ago.  As a feisty kitten, he looked more like a dirty dish rag, but has matured into a handsome longhaired fellow with a tail that curves over his flank.



Crystal Davis’s cat, Spookie, has a curled tail due to a neurological disorder. Over 8 months, Spookie’s tail has progressed through "full tailed" to "flat to back" to "aerial" to "flank curled" in that order.  Crystal has been sharing her information with several veterinarians to try and help Spookie overcome other problems caused by head trauma. a Most of the curly tailed cats on this page are genetic mutations, but Spookie's case is different. As a 3 week old kitten, he was taken to the vet clinic with serious head trauma in October 2011. Crystal was fostering kittens for the clinic and offered to rehabilitate the kitten if the vets thought it was survivable. Spookie’s recovery was slow. At first he could only walk in circles to the right (a neurological symptom). He also is mostly blind in one eye due to the trauma and because of it he has anisocoria (where one pupil is larger than the other).  As he grew his tail went from being "normal" to laying parallel across the top of his spine. Eventually his tail laid over his haunches in a curl similar to that of a Spitz dog breed.

At 9 months old, Spookie experienced hind leg weakness, wobbly or "drunk" walking and problems with depth perception. He also has facial neurological issues. He has been diagnosed with issues affecting his lower motor neuron function, possibly due to an infection or degenerative disease.  Spookie was put on steroids and antibiotics to try and rule out infection. Despite his issues, the photos show that Spookie is a happy cat with a good quality of life. His condition is regularly assessed by vets.

Crystal recommends that anyone who suspects their cat has a curly tail due to injury should have the cat checked by a veterinary neurologist. 



Ringo, nicknamed Stink (so called because of the poor condition he was in when found) is owned by Brenda Joy. He was a sickly feral kitten found near Adelaide, Australia and the vet who treated him was impressed by the curly tail, never having seen one quite like it. The vet has since seen another similar cat so the gene appears to be in the local feral population. Stink can straighten his tail, and it is somewhat prehensile, because he can wrap it around Brenda's arm when she pets him. When he is very happy, it sits perched on the top of his rump, like a doughnut.



Kari Dickinson and Dan Cordon of Moscow, Idaho, USA have a male cat named Everest that started exhibiting a curly tail at 4.5 years of age. Prior to that, he naturally carried his tail straight up or just slightly curled forward. Everest and his normal-tailed brother, Jemani, were born to a feral cat and hand-raised at the local animal shelter. They were adopted at 4 months of age. Everest can carry his tail uncurled, but most of the time its tip curls slightly to either side of his spine. The tail has a full range of motion and he can move it in any direction at will. If his tail is pulled straight, it will return to a curl when released. When Everest sits or lays down, his tail is typically straight. The photos show Everest with his curly tail and also his normal-tailed brother Jemani. Everest frequently stretches out on the floor with his back feet straight out behind him.



Cory Hofseth's Savannah X Pixie Bob kitten (August 2009) might be expected to have a bobbed tail, but has a cockscrew tail.



Doug Barnhart's pedigree Ocicat Wira's full name is Catiator's Fly By Wire and both her parents were show cats with straight tails. Wira can relax her tail and/or carry it like a normal cat's tail, but 90% of the time she has it in the curly formation. She often uses it as a balance point, so she can sit upright, like a Meerkat.



Desert is a curly-tailed 2 year old blue bicolour owned by Jazmin Powell in 2008 (he was looking for a new home as an only cat).



These photos from Lilleah West show a curly-tailed colourpoint kitten in July 2008, its mother and littermates. He can move the tail but not uncurl it; it curls downward and he holds it to the right. The photos show him as a newborn and a few weeks later.



Annie Oakley is a cream tabby owned by Joy Campbell of Portland, Oregon. Annie was 7 years old in 2007. At about 6 months old, Annie Oakley's tail showed a marked curliness. In addition to the curly tail, she relaxes like a Ragdoll and has LaPerm-like ringlets on her belly.




Michelle Kling, an American living in Italy, adopted 3 kittens. One of the kittens, named "Akita" (known locally as "Virgola"), developed a curly tail a few weeks before reaching 6 months old (December 2004). The kittens' mother comes from a colony of cats in the seaside port of Duino (near Venice). Akita is the first curly tail cat seen in the colony. An adult curly tailed cat has also been reported from one of the Greek Islands (it was not specified which one). Michelle sent this photo of Akita/Virgola, noting that she is the only cat in a local feral colony to have developed the curly tail. Michelle is one of the people taking care of the Duino colony In association with the Provinces of Trieste and Gorizia who supply food and health care for the animals.




Mary Gerut rescued 2 brother kittens from the pound in Phoenix, Arizona (USA) in 2005. Holmes developed a curly tail at about 5-6 months of age. His brother's tail is normal.




Traci Marcroft says Sammy is named for his resemblance to a Samoyed. He's a 5-year old stray available for adoption (February 2007) at the Humboldt County Animal Shelter in northern California. Walking around, his tail is very spitz-like. When he’s picked up, it touches his back all the way to the shoulders. Nobody at the shelter had ever seen a cat with an upcurled tail before.




Jodie Thompson has a 2.5 year old (in 2006) curly tailed cat called Maximus; who is mostly Ragdoll, with 1/16th Maine Coon. Apart from the curl, his tail is otherwise normal with no kinks, knots, or bumps. Maximus can straighten it out; it is straight when he's resting or sleeping. When he's happy, it curls over his back like a dog, and when he walks around the tail is out behind him but curled on the end.




Wendy Schuyler's curly tailed cat is called Boogie (Roanoke, VA, USA). She has always had a curly tail, though neither of her parents had that trait. Her father was a large black-and-white cat and her mother was a small solid grey cat. Originally Wendy thought Boogie had learned the trait because she grew up with a chow-chow (a curly tailed breed of dog) and it looked as though Boogie was imulating him. Boogie is shown in her Halloween costume




Slinky, owned by Rebecca Bushner, is a rescue kitty from California who now lives in Arizona with Rebecca. Slinky and his normal-tailed brother are now 3 and a half years old. Slinky's tail is like a corkscrew and goes in a complete revolution. He can wiggle the tip, but he can't uncurl it at all. There seem to be no ill effects from the tail. The photo shows Slinky's corkscrew tail in comparison with a normal-tailed cat.




"Jarbo", owned by  Connie Simpson was one of three cats Connie fostered for a local humane society (Little Rock, AR, USA) from 2 weeks old to 10 weeks old. In 2006, Jarbo was 2.5 years old. He did not show any signs of having a curly tail until he was 6 - 12 months old. Connie has discovered that his tail uncurls when he is unwell or unhappy (which is rare) and also when sleeping. The remainder of the time - about 99% - his curled tail is his "happiness meter".



These very clearly show the curly tail of Barbara Clark's 4 year old cat "Bunzy". His brother has a normal straight tail. Bunzy and his brother were adopted from a cat shelter in Utah, USA at 8 weeks old so nothing is known of their family history. Bunzy's tail clearly loops over to rest on his left flank with the tail tip pointing outwards.


In 2006, Barrie Stewart sent information on his 11-year-old neutered male cat, "Bandido", similar in appearance to a Charteaux, with a tail that makes a complete circle-and-a-half under, not over his back. His tail is almost prehensile, and he uses it to caress people. If he wishes, he can carry it straight, but he seldom does. The cat was obtained as a kitten in Ocampo, Coahuila, Mexico.



Dylan Marvin and Nick Boddy of Pinellas Park, Tampa Bay, Florida have a 6.5 year old orange and white curly tail rescue cat called "Crazy" Male neuter). The curl happens mostly when most cats have their tail straight up in the air (when happy). When sitting just the lower end curls and wags frequently back and forth.




Sometimes nature produces a cat who seems undecided as to whether he is a bobtail with a longish tail or a curly tail with a shorter-than-normal tail! This is Erin Murphy's curly short-tailed cat, Chester. Chester and his sister were found as abandoned kittens. His sister had a normal Manx-type stumpy tail, but Chester had a short tightly curled tail and was initially considered "defective". Chester might be a bobtailed cat, showing the variability in tail-length which might be seen an can be seen in cats carrying the American Bobtail mutation. Chester's tail is perfectly smooth with no kinks or knots and it feels fluffy like a rabbit's tail. It is fixed in the tightly curled over-the-rump position pictured (i.e. he cannot straighten it) and the only movement he makes with it is a slight wiggle when playful. Due to his long back legs, rounded rump and general shape his owner feels that he is a Manx-type cat. Far from being defective, Chester is an attractive and possibly unique individual.




Adele O'Shea took the following photos in the streets of Bahrain in February 2006. The silver female cat is not a typical Bahraini cat (she appears to have Persian blood) and has a curly tail. Her consort is a solid black male and their daughter is a smoke shorthair who has not inherited the curly tail (shown for comparison).


Heather Damon' black cat "Ra" as a 6 week old kitten and an adult. Ra comes from San Diego, California and his parents and littermates had ordinary. As a kitten, Ra only curled it forward when excited. When he was a few months old, he began carrying it curled over his back most of the time. Now aged 8 months, Ra's tail usually forms an almost complete circle, with the tip hanging slightly to the right of his spine when he is happy, excited or inquisitive. It has a full range of motion and Ra still uses it for balance. When relaxed on a window sill, the tail often hangs straight down.




In 2006, Andrea Gee of Santa Ana, California wrote to me about her curly tailed cat Cobie. She obtained Cobie as a kitten. He was born on April 15, 2003 and was the only cat in his litter with a curly tail. His tail curled sometimes as a kitten, but by the time he was around 6 months old, it was curled all the time. He can put it down – and if he is sitting on a windowsill it may hang down flat. Most of the time it is curled, including when walking. He can move it around in any direction. If his tail is pulled down straight and it springs back into a curl when released.




Ginger shelter kitty Byron had a tail that looped loosely over his flank. He wasn't too keen on showing it off when I took this photo.




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