Why does a cat need a tail?
Have you ever wondered why a cat needs a tail? If everything is clear with paws, ears and other parts of the body, then the purpose of the tail made many people break their heads. We will talk about the most common versions in our article.
For a long time it was believed that the tail is a balancing tool, thanks to which cats are so graceful, dexterous and so accurate in their calculations. True, the ability to accurately calculate the distance of a jump, turn around at the moment of a fall and deftly walk along the thinnest branch is admirable, but what role does the tail play in it? If balancing depended on him, would tailless cats retain their dexterity?
As practice shows, a tailless Manx cat, for example, owns the art of balancing no worse than a Bengal. Also, stray cats that have lost their tail in yard fights and under other circumstances do not become less dexterous and less adapted to survival after an injury.
Most likely, the long tail helps the cat maintain balance in sharp turns. But, in general, after observing cats that are tailless by nature and their fellow tribesmen who have lost their tail during their lifetime, we can conclude that the tail is not necessary for balancing in general. At least not to the extent of attributing to him only this meaning.
Why does a cat need a tail?
Gordon Robinson, doctor of veterinary sciences and the head of the surgical department of the famous New York veterinary clinic, noted that it is incorrect to define the tail as a balancing organ. Otherwise, this conclusion would have to be extended to dogs. But most hunting dogs, considered to be examples of dexterity and balance, are owners of cropped tails, and they do not have any problems because of this.
Returning to tailless cats, we note that some scientists (for example, Michael Fox, a leading specialist in animal behavior) believe that the absence of a tail is a stable mutation bordering on extinction, and they note a higher mortality among tailless kittens. Susan Naffer, a breeder of Manx cats, has opposing views. The absence of a tail, in her words, does not affect the quality of life of cats and their offspring: neither in the ability to keep a balance, nor on the level of survival, nor on everything else. In a word, taillessness is one of the varieties of the norm, which in no way prevents animals from living and communicating. And now more about communication!
A more common version about the purpose of the tail is that the tail is the most important element of communication, a means of self-expression. The manipulations that the cat does with its tail are designed to notify others about its mood. A certain state of the tail demonstrates a good location or, on the contrary, a bad mood, tension and willingness to go on the attack.
Probably every owner of a tailed cat will agree with this statement. From time to time, we follow the movements of the pet’s tail even on an intuitive level, and based on our observations, we conclude whether it is worth taking a ward in your arms now.
But if the tail is a communication tool, then what about tailless cats? Do they have communication problems? – Calm down: no.
Michael Fox, already mentioned above, believes that the signal repertoire of tailless cats is significantly limited compared to their tailed relatives, but in the process of existence, tailless cats were able to compensate for the lack of tail by other means of self-expression. Fortunately, the tail is not the only communication tool. There is also a “voice” with a huge range of sounds, and movements of the head, legs, ears and even a mustache. In a word, reading a pet’s message is not difficult, even if it doesn’t have a tail at all.