Why do cats need a tail?
"Tailness" and "untailness" are two terms which are absent even in the new full international Webster dictionary and in the encyclopedias but such words exist!
And we have some cases when the cats have no tails, very useful and beautiful additions, and there are many cats of such kind in the whole world. Besides just nowadays untailed animals begin to get the popularity because not only the tail helps the cat to be itself.
But only one breed, the cat from the Man Island, the special breed with thick fur, is the originally untailed one. Then after the crossing with that cat the other breeds arose. And the gene of untailness was inherited by the animals of mixed breed which is famous everywhere as home shorthair cat. And at last, unfortunately, as a result of the fact that our cats walk where they want, many of them lose their tails because of the accidents. They lose their tails under the wheels of trams or between the doors and so on.
But inspite of that a tail is very important for the cat. Many people think that a tail is the most important organ of balance. But if a cat damages a tail (the whole or partly) they can live without it. They perfectly climbed up the trees, walk on the fences as like as their tailed relatives. Apparently if to say about the balance the tail is not so important. And they don't feel themselves "humble and offended" without a tail, at least not so much not to understand the company of tailed relatives.
If you read the article by Kenneth Anderson "Cat anatomy" published in the book "Cats catalogue: the full book about cats" then you will learn that a tail is a very important organ and it helps the cat to balance during the climbing, jumping and also during the secret ability to self turning if the cat falls from the high place. "Falling from the high place", the author says, "the cat waves its tail from one side to another to help its body to take the position which would provide "the soft landing on four legs".
But Gordon Robinson, the Doctor of veterinarian science, who is the head of surgeon department of Henry Berg hospital, New York, confirms: "I don't think that the notice about using of ail for taking the right position is true". Doctor Robinson says that if you take untailed cat, turn it with its back down and then drop it you'll see that cat will land on its paws while the altitude is less than two meters.
"To understand the tail as the factor of balance is not logical,- says doctor Robinson,- because if it is so then it would "work" also concerning the dogs". But the most hunting dogs, which must have the excellent balance and the ability to do different complex motions during running or jumping, have their tails cut. "And any poodle has no problems with keeping the balance".
While the long tail, perhaps, helps the cat to keep the balance during the sharp turns but, in general, the cat balance is also connected with the other factors. Elvin and Virginia Silverstain confirm in their book "Cats and everything about them", "their paws are made so that they are moved easier than our hands and legs. When the cat goes its front paws turn some what inside and that's why the tracks of left and right paws make the straight line and the tracks of front and back paws coincide. The back paws don't turn inside so much but in spite of this a very small area is necessary for cat for the back paws not to have problems with the balance. And it helps the cat to walk along the fence or trees".
So, the tail is not the last when we speak about balance!
Sources of untailness. In practice most of home untailed cats have short stumps of it, explains doctor Robinson, "and the great number of them lose the tail as the result of damages". When the cat loses its tail (often it happens as a result of an accident) the problem is that circulation of blood stops. As a rule, circulation of blood and nerve ends are broken in the place of fracture and just in this place the tail is amputated.
Without any doubts untailed cats from the Man Island have no reasons to trouble about losing their long addition. Two stories are told on the Man Island which are explaining the reason of untailness of those cats. The first of them says that perhaps untailed cats were brought to the island and because there were a few home cats of the other breeds they all fell into the geographical isolation and the gene of untailness disseminated among all the cats of the island. The other story says that the Irish warriors decorated their helmets with cat tails. So cat mothers were afraid that their kittens would be killed and that is why bit their tails just after the birth.
And another legend: the cat from the Man Island is the result of love of cat and rabbit. Of course, it is very funny, but in fact the untailness has exceptionally genetic origin.
Such specialists as doctor Michael Foque, one of the leading scientists in the sphere of animals behavior, confirms that untailness - is the mutation which borders on death because the part of kittens doesn't survive. Such stable mutation stays even after crossing of such animals with cats which have tales. Not all the cats from the Man Island are untailed, you can meet the species with the big stumps or even with the real tail.
But how do untailed cats communicate with each other? Susan Naffer the head of California animal fond of Morris and amateur-selection of cats from the Man Island (she has ten such cats and one kimrik), says the following: "My favorite pets from the Man Island think using their heads but not their tails". As S. Naffer thinks we communicate and express our thoughts without tail and why should her cats be worse!? She explains confidently that the cats from the Man Island don't suffer from the lack of that they have never needed. "The tail is just an appendix and they do not trouble about this".
But the fact that manipulations of tail are one of the ways of communication is proved, so how do the untailed cats compensate its absence. "They do not compensate", objects doctor Mochael Foque, "their signal repertoire is much decreased. It would be like if the man who communicates with the help of gestures has no fingers! It is the defect. The important communicative element is lost". It is the truth that the tail is a very important element for the self-expression of cat but the "talking" with the help of tongue, head, ears, eyes, paws, nose, whiskers, at last sounds are as much important as those with the help of the tail (See: Cat's language). At long last the cat communicates not only with the help of the tail, and because there are very many ways with the help of which the cats communicate we must understand the untailed cats too, if we are interested in that!
In the book "There are no bad cats" the authors Deborah Pirotin and Sherry Siov Koen describe the different ways of "talking" with the help of a tail. For example, when the cat's tail bristles up it means anger. When the cat is frightened its tail hangs between the back paws and eyes enlarge.
But how can we, for example, understand if our cat satisfied with the absence of tail? As Karl van Wehten tells in his book "Tiger at home", the high risen tail means pride and satisfaction. And what does the untailed cat do in the some cases? From the other side when the cat is calm and happy it is evident: its ears risen, paws shrink and unclench, the animal purrs. The same signs untailed cats show too. So, it is easy to understand that for the great number of untailed cats which are also beautiful there are many things which have more importance than the usual tail.