Fascinating Cat Tail Facts
Your cat’s tail. That beautiful appendage that sticks straight up when your cat greats you at the door at the end of a long day. Or crosses your face at two in the morning when your cat changes position in the bed. Here are some fascinating cat tail facts you may have never known.
The Basic Anatomy
Ten percent of the bones of a cat’s body is in her tail. It contains 19-23 vertebrae. A complex group of ligaments, muscles, and tendons hold the tail together. They hold the tail together and provide its amazing mobility. For a male cat the average tail length is about 11” and a female cat it is about 9.9”.
Often referred to as its rudder, a cat’s tail helps them balance narrow spaces and high places. When they are walking a tightrope such as a fence, or pouncing and jumping after their prey (which may be their latest toy). The tail acts as a counterweight. If the cat looks to the right, the tails move to the left. Next time your cat is in action, watch it.
Never Pull It!
If a cat’s tail is injured it can cause permanent damage. There are nerves in the tail of the cat that affect the muscles. These nerves control the following; hind legs, bladder, large intestine, and bowel movements of your cat. Yanking on your cat’s tail can cause PERMANENT never damage – so NEVER do it! You could cause your cat an inability to walk, hold its tail upright, incontinence or chronic pain for the rest of its life.
Be very careful about leaving your cat alone with small babies and toddlers. It only takes a second for a child to pull a cat’s tail and do permanent damage. If you are babysitting, watching your grandchildren etc., please remember that the cat needs to be watched as well.
Cat Tail Communication
According to experts, cats communicate with their tails and have their own cat “tail” language. I investigated what the experts had to say as reflected below. Also included is my own experience which sometimes differed from the experts. Everyone is then free to make their own determination as to what is accurate for their cat. Feel free to leave me comments this week and let me know what unique way your cat communicates with you with its tail!
Different “Tail Positions”
Tail Position: “High”: When your cat holds her tail high and erect as she moves, your cat is expressing confidence and contentment.
My Experience: My cat is happy to see me when I come home from work or in the kitchen waiting for a treat
Tail Position: “Curved like a question mark”: This tail position often signals a playful mood and a cat that’s ready to share some fun with you.
My Experience: I have never seen this in a cat. If you have please leave me a comment on my blog below and share yours!
Tail Position: “Low”: A tail positioned straight down can signal aggression. A lower tail is a very serious mood.
My Experience: This is Kali-Ma’s playful position. I know she wants to play when I see this.
Tail Position: “Tucked”: A tail tucked beneath the body is a sign of fear or submission.
Tail Position: “Puffed”: A tail resembling a puffed up pipe cleaner reflects an agitated cat.
Tail Position: “Whipping”: A tail that whips back and forth rapidly indicates both fear and aggression.
My experience: Kali-Ma uses this a lot when she plays.
Tails Position: “Swishing”: A tail that sways slowly from side to side usually means your cat is focused on an object.
My experience: I talk to Kali-Ma all the time. You can read more about that in Tips to Bond With Your Bond She “swishes” her tail often while she sits and I talk to her.
Tail Position: “Wrapped around another cat”: A tail wrapped around another cat conveys love and friendship.
Cats Without Tails
The Manx cats are born without tails and they are not any less agile than other cats. Also, if a cat must have their tail amputated for medical reasons they can survive.
As I have stated in many of my blogs, cats are blessings. They choose us, and our lives are the better for it. The domesticated cat is the only feline that can hold its tail upright while walking. Wildcats hold theirs horizontally or tucked between their legs. The cats we share our lives with are special.
We have a sacred duty, those of us that share their journey, to do all we can to hold them in the highest regard and treat them with respect……right down to their precious tails.
Until next time….Happy Tails to you!