As cat lovers, nothing beats getting home after a long day of work with your kitty welcoming you back to your house with purrs and with tails held high. But that’s not the only thing a cat’s tail does. We see and enjoy the company of our kitties every single day, but have we asked ourselves if we really know every single corner, joint, or part of our kitty’s body? Let’s start getting to know our kitties more! And one part that most people are not that much aware of is the purrty tail of kitties. Keep reading and you’ll find that a cat’s tail is more than just an elegant, furry swerving part of a kitty.

First, let’s get a bit scientific. Before we get to know what it’s for, we have to know what it’s made of and how it is able to move. An average cat’s tail measures 11 inches long for males and 9.9 inches long for females. It has 19 to 23 bones called vertebrae. That’s about 10 percent of the total number of bones in a kitty’s body, wrapped by a group of muscles, tendons, and ligaments which explains that elusive and magnificent movement that cats do with their tails.

Now, let’s start with the different uses and facts of this magnificent tail. Here are five of the primary use and facts of a cat’s tail.

Counterweight

Sure we’ve heard that a cat’s tail is used primarily for balance. But how is it able to balance kitties? The answer, Counterweight! It provides a bit more weight at the back parts of your kitty making walking along narrow areas such as fences or the backrest of your chair very easy for them. Because of this counterweight, felines are also able to dash or run fast and quickly make a sharp turn when chasing down a favorite toy or perhaps, dinner.

Tail Talk

Most of the communication that is being used by kitties depends on a lot of body language. The tail plays a major role in that, especially when communicating with a human. If you know “tail talk”, then you know how your kitty feels right away. If not, here are a few things that may get you started.

A happy kitty walks with the tail held high, for some cases, when your kitty is really happy, apart from the tail being held high, a quiver will also be formed at the tip of the tail.

When stalking prey or toy, the tail is being held low, not only to conceal the kitty’s presence but also to maintain balance while slowly making silent footsteps towards the prey…or toy. There are also instances that the tail may be twitching a little bit at the tip as a form of controlling kitty’s excitement.

An annoyed kitty will have the tip of the tail twitching. If the tail is moving back and forth like a whip, step away from that very instant, because what comes next is a sharp claw that’s ready to scratch.

Permanent Damage

The spinal cord of a kitty, which controls all movement and function of the body, does not extend all the way to the tip of the tail. But at the very tip of that spinal cord which is also where the tail starts, is what primarily controls the lower functions of the cat, namely, the tail, hind legs, bladder anus, and large intestine. Pulling a cat’s tail may cause partial paralysis, incontinence, or chronic pain. The same happens if extensive damage is done to the tail as this may cause serious nerve damage.

Tailless Kitties

Cats can live without tails. They are very adaptable creatures and even if the tail is being surgically removed due to health reasons, they can easily compensate for the difference and change.

Tailless Breeds

Proof that cats don’t always need their tails is that there are certain breeds that are born without tails. The Manx, for example, is famous for the unique tailless look.

With tail or no tail, what matters most is how we look after our kitties and how we get to know them. Your feline companion is a companion for life. Get to know them little by little and taking care of them will follow smoothly.

 

Meow for now… Kristian

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