Why Do Cats Have Tails?

September 11, 2020

Why Do Cats Have Tails?

When you’ve got a curious 4-year-old at home, he can make your question even the most basic things around you. 

One of the best things about kids is that they ask you questions that even get you wondering as to why things are the way they are. Most animals have tails so, it doesn’t really raise eyebrows when a kid asks you why we don’t have tails. 

However, sometime, kids think about why a certain animal does have its characteristics. 

In this blog post, we will answer the question, “Why do cats have tails?”as well as go through some more details that you should know about regarding the same. 

So, without further ado, let’s get started, shall we? 

Here we go. 

Why Do Cats Have Tails?

Cats have tails because at some point back in the evolution, having a tail was an advantage. Because the cat-family remained in environments that favored this advantage, they still do.

Here are some reasons why: 

Landing

We all know that when they take a fall, cats always land on their feet. 

Your cat’s tail actually has a lot to do about this phenomena. 

The tail actually serves the purpose of a sort of counterweight. In its own unique way it helps the kitty flip over and land on its feet as it prevents your cat from getting possible injuries. Regardless of the cat’s notable agility and athletic skills, the tail’s extra counterweight helps by providing some extra stability.

Of course, tails aren’t exactly magical. Kitties are prone to landing badly and injuring themselves. So don’t rely solely on your beloved furball’s tail if you have some dangerously high shelves/ perches in your home.

Balance

The most fundamental purpose of your cat’s tail is physical balance. You’ve probably seen a cat’s gracious movements while it’s walking on some high perched up surface, like a roof for example. And if you try walking on a thin, narrow, possibly high surface, you’d instinctively spread your arms in an attempt to balance your body’s weight.

Kitty tails function in the same way as your arms would in such situations.

If a cat has been injured, the tail also acts as an additional limb and becomes even more important for maintaining proper balance. The same goes for bobtailed feline furballs. Bobtails have significantly shorter tails, but they can still find use in them.

Sense of touch

Kind of like the whiskers, feline tails offer an extra hand when it comes to your cat’s sense of touch. A cat’s tail contains around 10% of the kitty’s overall bone count and it’s filled with countless nerves. These not only serve as motoric nerves, but also as sensory nerves. As such, the cat’s tail also plays a role in its sense of touch and the understanding of its surroundings.

Most cats don’t like having their tails touched or stroked.

Keep that in mind next time you’re petting your fluffy pal. And keep in mind all of the other ways your cat’s tail is serving it so that you won’t be baffled by your pet’s fear or aggression when you’re reaching towards its tail.

Communication

Cats communicate in a number of vocal ways through purring, yowling, hissing, meowing and so on. But similarly to us, human beings, they can also communicate non-verbally with the help of body language.

A cat’s tail is an essential aspect of the way it communicates through body language.

Even kittens know how to use this extension of their spines for “talking” purposes. In fact, if you try observing your pet in different situations, you’ll see that it has tons of different tail positions. And while the ear movements, facial expressions and overall body posture can say a lot about a cat’s emotions, its tail is what truly gives everything away.

Whether the tail is twitching, curling up, swishing like an angry broomstick or wagging like a dog’s tail, it’s an undeniable fact that your cat’s fifth “limb” can be just as expressive as human speech.

That being said, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your cat is trying to talk to you when it’s moving its tail. It just means the tail movements and positions are expressing its inner feelings. Learning how to decipher these aspects of feline body language can actually improve your bond with your feline friend. Or at least it can tell you when your kitty is scared or angry and help you prevent possible accidents.


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