Why do cats have tails\? 🐈 Understanding the Purr-pose of Cat Tails
Why do cats have tails?

Why do cats have tails?

Cats are mysterious creatures and often can seem to want to keep us guessing. One of their many mysteries is the question, why do cats have tails? It is widely known that cats have tails, and not all animals do. It's even harder to comprehend how they are unique to cats and their purpose in a cat's life.

Movement and balance

Cats use their tails for balance and direction when they walk, run, or jump. When cats are playing and chasing each other, their tails help them balance and better grip their target. When cats are stalking their prey, they will use their tails to slowly but surely creep up behind the animal they chose as prey.


Cats have a lot of ways they can communicate with each other. A large part of communication between cats is through touch, smell, movement, and sound; knowing how cats communicate with each other is crucial in helping you understand your cat. A lot of times, a cat will use their tail as a way to show their dominance in an area. When one cat is aggressive toward another, they arch its back and puts its tail straight up in the air. The other cat then knows that they need to respect the other cat. We explain cat tail sign language in a separate article.

Why do some cats have no tails?

Sometimes in a cat's life, there will be a mutation of its genes that will cause them not to have tails. It might only get in the way if they are very young and trying to learn how to jump or climb. These cats are said to be born that way, but if it is one of their first few generations, they may pass on this trait to their offspring. They can still have a very long, healthy, and happy life, though, because they don't lose anything by not having a tail.

Can cats break their tails?

In some cases, a cat's tail can be broken. The tailbone is fragile and can break easily, causing a lot of pain for the cat. These cats typically have very long tails. They can injure their tail by jumping off high places and. landing on it, getting into a fight with another cat, and getting even using it as a target to swat another cat with.

Why do some cats have short tails?

Most of the time, this comes from congenital disabilities. In some cases, when a cat's tail is born, they are born with a very short tail. These cats almost have no tail at all but still have a little stub of a tail. Still, even if it's a congenital disability, they will live everyday lives and aren't any less happy than any other cat.

What happens if a cat loses its tail?

If a cat loses their tail in an accident or something, they have no problem living an everyday life. Their tail is needed for balance. And it's barely even used to communicate on most occasions. There are a few instances, though. that a cat's communication ability can be hindered when they lose their tail. Cats will rub their face along the ground or other objects. And I try to mark those places with their scent. This lets other cats know that the place belongs to them and you shouldn't go near it.

Why don't cats like you touching their tails?

Cats like to be handled and petted but don't like touching their tail. They are susceptible to it; if they feel that you are going to touch it, they will try to mark your fingers with a little bit of their scent. They might only allow you to touch their tail if they are being petted by a person they like and trust. This is the case with almost all cats, so no one is ever going to be able to touch a cat's tail without them knowing and giving them that message.


A cat's tail has many different purposes and ways to communicate with other cats. They use it for balance, as an extension of their body, for hunting, for communication, and much more. Cats are extraordinary creatures with many abilities that many humans can only dream about being able to do/achieve. Knowing a little bit about them makes them unique and helps you understand what they do that you might have never realized before. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do cats have tails?

Cats use their tails for balance and direction when they walk, run, or jump. When cats are playing and chasing each other, their tails help them balance and better grip their target. When cats are stalking their prey, they will use their tails to slowly but surely creep up behind the animal they chose as prey.

Why do cats have their tails up?

A cat will put its tail up when trying to assert dominance over another cat. It also means that the cat has realized that there isn't a need to fear the other cat and that they have no reason to be afraid.

Why do cats have long tails?

A cat's tail is an extension of its body and essential to communicate with other cats. They use it to mark their territory, swat another cat and have a backup in danger.

Why do cats have short tails?

Cats come in all different shapes and sizes. Some cats are born with a very short tail that isn't even needed to live fully everyday life, so there isn't any point in them growing out one. For cats born with a very short tail, it isn't something they should worry about. Sometimes there can be medical problems caused by their tails being too short or damaged. It's also possible for a cat to break their tail in an accident, so it is recommended that cats shouldn't jump off of high places if they aren't used to doing so.

Why do some cats not have tails?

Cats that are born without tails are usually born with congenital disabilities, and it is something that they will have to live with for their whole life.

There is nothing wrong with them, though; it just means that they are different, and there isn't anything wrong with that.

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