The Cat’s Tail

Better than the bee’s knees. Just this morning, the mama was amazed at the little dance my tail was making as I watched a scrumptious squirrel scurry outside. I then realized that humans don’t know just how great and nimble a limb our tails really are. It’s time to change that.

If you know anything about cat tails, it’s probably that they help us keep our balance. As Pets Global points out, they allow us to walk on narrow ledges and to make glorious leaps on unsuspecting prey. But did you know the tail is part of our spine? Petplace tells us that it holds up to 20 vertebrae (The Nest says 23); I daresay we have backbone to spare.

Our beautiful appendage is made up of twelve muscles, which is why it can appear prehensile, moving like an elephant’s trunk. I won’t mention the muscles’ names; my eyes glaze over just looking at the list. A cat’s tail also has plenty of nerve endings, so never step on one. If you do, you’ll be cursed for seven generations. They can be injured, and it’s no laughing matter when they are.

Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t state one of the tail’s most important functions, the other fact you might have known about it already: we use it to communicate. If you search the Internet for intel on tails, you will find a bunch of guides to help you understand our body language. I remember seeing one such cheat sheet at the vet.

Feel free to look them up; they’re easy to find. All I’ll say on the matter is that if you had such a gorgeous, mobile, and dexterous instrument linked to your hindquarters, it would have stories to tell too.

My human needs to stop taking so many pictures of Butterscotch.

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