Treating Tail Injuries In Cats
How treatment is undertaken will depend on the extent of the damage and how greatly it is affecting the cat.
If the tail is paralysed but the spine and movement are unaffected and the vet does not think it likely that feeling will return to the tail, the tail will usually be amputated. While cats use their tails to help with balance and navigation, with a little adjustment, cats can learn to manage without their tails with no problem in most cases.
If there is a break towards the end of the tail that is not affecting movement or interfering with the operation of the bowel and bladder, the tail will often heal on its own with time, particularly if the injury is at the very tip, past the last of the vertebrae.
However, if the break is lower down, your vet may decide to surgically repair the break or fracture, or amputate the tail from the affected point.
While any tail break or trauma injury will generally be very painful for your cat, the most serious problems with the tail can also affect the spine and the back legs, and your cats control of their bowel and bladder. If this is the case, your vet will need to consider whether or not correcting the problem will restore free movement and feeling, or if the damage caused cannot be rectified.
The cat may need to remain in the practice as an inpatient for several days or even longer in order to allow time for healing and the assessment of whether or not the damage can be rectified.
Why Do Cats Have Tails
Cats have tails as an evolutionary advantage. It helps to make felines into better predators and even helps cats avoid being hunted down themselves. Thats mainly because, according to Behavioural Brain Research, a cats balance relies heavily on its tail. It is what gives these dexterous creatures the ability to:
- Jump such distances
- Avoid falling even while walking on precarious surfaces
How Do Cats Control Their Tails
Cats manage their tail movement through a variety of muscles, nerves, bones, and tendons. On a microscopic level, this is a complex system that researchers are still coming to understand. For your cat, however, its second nature. Cats dont need to learn how to operate their tails. Just like walking, its something that comes naturally with age.
The tail of a cat is directly connected to the spine through a series of vertebrae, ligaments, and tendons. It contains up to 10% of the animals bone mass. According to the Department of Veterinary Physiology, cats have 6 distinct muscles in their tail. These are individually used to shift, twitch, and wag the tail as the cat pleases. The reflexes and micro-reactions are carried out with the use of the cats nervous system.
When a cats tail makes contact with an object or even feels temperature changes in the air, its nerve receptors intake this data. This data is then transmitted through the nervous system, up the spine, and to the brain. Here, the cats neural co-processors compute that information and allow the cat to react accordingly.
This takes place within a fraction of a second. As such, your cat may react negatively to having its tail stepped on, or it may turn around to lean into an affectionate touch. This is the result of many lightning-fast signals traveling through your cat from all points of its body tail included and to its brain. Its no different than how it will move its legs or the rest of its body.
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Cats And Their Senses What You Need To Know
Like humans, cats possess the five traditionally recognized senses. Known as the Aristotelian senses, sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch are the primary way humans and cats experience the world.
While cats, and humans for that matter, do have other senses, such as pain, balance, and temperature, the primary senses are the most likely suspects for how cats are able to discriminate between people. Lets take a closer look at each of these senses.
Not All Tailless Cats Have The Same Tailless Gene
The gene that produces the unique tailless look of the Manx is dominant, which means it automatically expresses itself even with only one copy of the gene. Being homozygous for the tailless gene is semilethal, and kittens with two tailless genes are usually spontaneously aborted, so tailless Manx cats are bred from one tailless parent and one tailed parent. But even having only one copy of the gene can cause a condition called Manx syndrome, which includes spina bifida, fused vertebrae, and bowel or bladder problems. The gene that causes the kinky, curly tail of the Japanese Bobtail, on the other hand, is recessive a cat needs to have two copies of that gene for the trait to express itself and doesnt have the same potential for health problems as the Manx gene.
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What Does A Cat Use Their Tail For
Cats use their tails as more than just a fun little rope they can swing around. One of the most important reasons for their tail is their balance. Cats rely on their tail to keep them balanced, which is why theyre so agile.
If a cat is naturally born without a tail, has a nub, or potentially had some injury that caused them to lose their tail, they will eventually adjust. They may not be quite as agile as when they had their tail, but theyll still have a good quality of life.
They also use their tails to express their emotions and show their owners and anyone surrounding them how theyre feeling. Well go into a bit more detail about this below.
Treatment Of Tail Trauma In Cats
Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the trauma. Your vet will be able to advise you on a treatment plan based on your cats specific needs.
In minor cases of abrasions, treatment may not be necessary. For more severe abrasions, a tail wrap, coupled with the use of antibiotic ointments, may assist in the healing process. However, bandages aren’t used that often as it can be tricky to get them to stay on and they minimise ventilation to the tail skin. In some extremely severe cases, tail shortening may be required.
If there is a fracture in the tail, treatment will vary depending on the severity of the fracture. Minor fractures may not require any treatment at all. If the fracture is more severe and the bones in the tail have been crushed, amputation may be required. If the tail is broken, it may be able to heal by itself depending on the location and extent of the break. Surgery may be required, although vets tend to prefer to allow the tail to heal on its own before taking this route.
Nerve damage may require more invasive treatment. Depending on the severity and extent of the nerve damage, surgery may be required to restore normal bowel and/or urinary function. If the tail has been completely paralyzed, amputation is generally required. In some cases, full nerve function may return after a month or longer.
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Do Cats Recognize Us Through Smell
Cats certainly do have an exquisite sense of smell. And, as we can see from the following video, cats do take an interest in smelling their owners, even if they cant handle what their feet smell like!
Just to be clear, the funny open-mouth face the cat makes in this video is not displeasure, but is actually called the flehmen response, a sense beyond the five Aristotelian senses. When cats do this behaviour, they transfer pheromones and other scents into their vomeronasal organ located in the roof of their mouth.
Exhibited by many mammals, it is thought the flehmen response is used to assess sexual status in other animals. Even in humans, if you run your tongue along the roof of your mouth, you can feel two small pits.
These are the vestigial vomeronasal organs that no longer seem to have any function in humans. So you best just keep your flehmen response to yourself.
Anyway, it is likely that cats do recognize us as their owners from our uniques scents. Even dogs, who identify their owners with sight more than cats, will trust their nose over their eyes, as we can see in the following video. This owner had been hospitalized for several weeks and lost enough weight that his dog didnt recognize him by sight.
Cats And Water Dont Mix Or At Least Thats How The Old Saying Goes But What Is It About This Banal Liquid That Makes Them Lose Their Mind As Captured By So Many Cats Vs Bathtubs Videos On The Internet And Do All Cats Hate Water Find Out Here
Our feline friends have mysterious ways that keep us guessing about plenty of things, but one of the most enduring conundrums has to do with a pretty basic element: water.
Why do cats hate water? And how come they love the water dripping from a tap, but will fight teeth and claws if they come close to a bathtub full of water? Well probably never know for sure, but experts have a few ideas that can help baffled cat owners understand their pets behaviour a bit better.
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Do Cats Have Control Of Their Tails 6 Things To Know
If you have a cat, youve probably had moments to catch yourself mesmerized by their tails. Its cute to see your sleepy kitty laying there with their tail wrapped around their bodies to keep them warm. I always find it fun to see my cat get all wound up and start to chase their tail. It always makes me wonder, do cats have control of their tails?
Cats do have control of their tails. Some tail movements are involuntary due to mental or physical conditions. Cats express emotions through their tails. A cats tail habits communicate their mood and focus.
Some movements in your cats tail may be involuntary. Much like we automatically blink our eyes without thinking about it however, if you want to stop blinking for a moment or keep your eyes closed, you can easily do so. Some involuntary movements you may have seen are your cats tail twitching or thumping while theyre asleep and dreaming.
Tail Swishing Back And Forth
The most common time that youll see this is when your cat is crouched and getting ready to pounce. This doesnt necessarily mean theyre in an aggressive mood. In fact, it usually signifies that theyre feeling playful.
However, there is a significant exception to this, and thats if theyre completely lying down. If your cat isnt crouched but is lying down and thumping their tail against the ground, theres a good chance that theyre feeling frustrated.
If this is the case, youll need to find the source of their frustration to placate them and probably give them a wide berth in the meantime.
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How Long Is A Cats Tail
If a cat has a full-length tail, it will typically be anywhere between 9 and 11 inches long. Cat tail length is typically related to the overall size of the cat since they use their tail to stabilize their body when running and jumping. Some cat breed associations may judge a cat based on the length of its tail relative to its body length and specify that a cats tail length should be equal to the body length of the cat.
Cat Tail Positions And What They Mean
Cats communicate in many ways. They vocalize by meowing and hissing, and they display non-verbal cues through body posture as well as eye and ear positioning.
Additionally, cat tails are very expressive, and the position of your cats tail is another method by which your kitty can speak to youcommunicating his preferences, emotions, and even signs of illness or injury.
So what exactly are all your domestic cats different tail positions trying to tell you? Heres a helpful breakdown.
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Tips On How To Control Cattails
Cattails for the pond come with a set of problems you may not want to deal with. Learning how to control cattails is a must, as these hardy plants can take over a pond in a matter of a few years. The reason for this lies in the reproductive capabilities of the cattail. Plants produce those wonderful, velvety tails. These are the flower heads and each head produces around 300,000 seeds, each equipped with its own little parachute to be borne on the wind. On a calm day, these little fluffs will fall straight to the ground around the parent plant and germinate quickly.
Plucking those seed heads before they ripen wont help, however. Those rhizomatous roots produce their own sets of offspring, eventually forming dense mats. Cattail control, therefore, is essential to the health and well-being of your pond and landscape. The good news is there are several methods available to the home gardener for how to control cattails, so hopefully one of them will appeal to you.
The next methods of how to control cattails are considered mechanical. Choice one is to dig them up! This isnt as easy as it sounds. Those cattail plants have massive root systems. For larger areas of overgrowth, a back-hoe may be needed. Another alternative is the drowning method, which can only be used if the plants bases are completely submerged underwater. All you have to do is cut the plants off 2 or 3 inches below the water surface. This deprives the plant of the air it needs and it will drown.
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Can Cats Control Their Tails How Much Control Do They Have Over It
Cats use their tails to communicate to the world through body language. You can tell a lot about a cats disposition by what its tail is doing. With that being said, cats usually do control their tails. No one is exactly sure how much control they have over their tails, but as it is essentially an extension of their spine they do have control over it.
Cats sometimes use their tails to send deliberate messages , but their tails also move involuntarily, similar to our involuntary laughing when something is funny or crying when sad.
Tail movements are thought to be more involuntary than the positions they are held at.
A cats tail, along with their ears, will indicate what kind of mood its in most of the time. Lets find out more.
What Does A Tail In A Question Mark Or Hook Shape Mean
You may notice that sometimes your cats tail looks like a question markit stands upright and curls at the end. This cat tail language indicates that your cat is happy and approaching amicably.
Seeing your cats tail in this position is an invitation to interact with your cat. However, while it is tempting to pet that curly-tipped tail, most cats prefer to be pet around their facial glands on their cheeks, under their chin, and next to their ears.
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So How Do Cats Recognize Their Owners
We know cats can tell their owner from their voices, and that cats have a great sense of smell. Also, while cats dont have the innate ability to discriminate human faces like dogs, they do have the ability to learn.
It is likely that cats know their owner first from smell, and then learn to recognize their voice. In addition, over time, the cat probably learns the gait and movements of their owner and maybe, just maybe, they can even learn a little bit of how your face looks.
Cats are amazing beings with extraordinary senses. If you want to know more about cats and how they see the world, check out The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions.
Or, if you want to give your cat a sensory spa day, try the Catit Design Senses Comfort Zone Elevated Bed. Its especially good for older cats that might have a touch of arthritis.
If you have any questions or would like to share a story about how you know your cat knows who you are, please tell us in the comments below. Wed love to hear from you!
CatKingpin.com does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We do our best to research and write articles that help owners better understand their cats and provide reliable information however, the content on this website is not a substitute for veterinary guidance.
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