A Tail of Two Kitties

Cat Tails.

Cat's tail.  (Photo credit http://www.cutestpaw.com)

Cat’s tail. (Photo credit http://www.cutestpaw.com)

First, let’s start with some quick anatomy.  A cat’s tail has 19 to 23 vertebrae, about 10 percent of the total number of bones in its body.  An extensive group of muscles, ligaments, and tendons hold the tail together and provide its amazing mobility.  Also, the average tail length of a male cat is 11 inches, and for a female it’s 9.9 inches.  The tail acts as a counterweight when the cat walks along narrow surfaces like fence tops or chair backs. It also helps a running cat to stay standing as he makes sharp turns in pursuit of prey … or his favorite toy.  Cats communicate largely through body language, and the tail is one of the most important parts of your cat’s communication toolbox. By understanding “tail talk,” you can understand how your cat is feeling with just a glance.  A happy cat, for instance, walks with his tail held high, and a super-happy cat will add a quiver at the tail tip to demonstrate joy. A mildly annoyed cat will twitch the end of his tail, but if he’s lashing his tail back and forth, you’d better step away, because the claws are about to come out. A cat concentrating on prey will have his tail held low to the ground, although there might be a very slight twitching at the end as he tries to control his excitement.  There are a few bobtailed or tailess cats,  the American Bobtail or Manx cats are both good examples.  Although usually bobtails are the healthier of the two, but a reputable breeder can give you a beautiful healthy Manx that will be with you for years.