What Do Cats Use Their Tail For?

A cat using his tail for balanceIn case you have noticed, one of differences between humans and cats is that the cats have tail. Isn’t that a shame we do not have one? It’s just beautiful.

But since we know the mother nature does not put things on the bodies of animals without a greater purpose, than just beauty, let’s take a closer look and find out why cats have tail, which actually serves for several purposes.

Cat’s tail help to balance

Cats use their tail to counterbalance their own movements, like, if they run around a corner, their body tends to slip out; however, a quick movement of the tail on the opposite direction makes sure the slip is softened, and the cat can restore the running faster.

Also, it helps to balance when walking on ledges. You’ve probably seen rope walkers who carry long stick to balance their weight, that is if their body falls to one side, they move the stick the opposite way to keep the center of their weight above the rope.

The tail of the cat works similarly. And also, it’s not only when they walk on ledges, but hang in them, as well. We hope you’ve seen a cat who misses its target while jumping, but manages to hang in it and climb up quite quickly. His tail gives a significant contribution to this skill.

Tail as a communication tool for cats

While balancing is important, tail comes in handy when they need to tell something, too. Mostly to other cats, but in the modern world, to us, as well.

For example, if the tail is up in the air, it indicates the cat is in a friendly mood. That is, if the cat would be walking in the long grass or bush, he would not be seen. However, if he rises his tail up, he can be seen now, and can there be any friendlier acknowledgement of presence like: “It’s me, here in the bush. See me? I’m not trying to ambush on you, I’m here! See me?”

Also, lashing (it’s not wagging) of the tail tells anyone to back off. If most cat owners would be able to tell this at the first twitch, we would see people bitten or scratched by cats less often. By the way, the tail is not the only signal cat sends when he’s angry. You can read about other signs of cat aggression here.

What do you think, if humans had a tail, would they wag it when they’re happy, or lash when they’re angry?