Felines use their tails to show a wide range of emotions. Tail wags and positioning shows Fifi's anger, happiness or other mood, but tails are also an extension of her spine. Her tail is made up of bones, muscles and several nerve endings that can be very sensitive.
Roughly 10 percent of all of the bones in Fifi's body are right in her tail. Depending on the length of her tail, she can have as many as 20 vertebrae bones lined up in there, according to PetPlace.com. These tiny bones are surrounded by muscles, tiny blood vessels and nerves. Ultimately, these delicate components are protected by thick skin, as well as a layer of fur.
Some cats have more sensitive nerve endings than others. You may barely brush up against Fifi's tail and she'll quickly move it, or you might accidentally step on the tip and she doesn't flinch. Depending on sensitivity level, some felines love having their tails scratched just as much as their chins, but others get mad when you come into contact with their tails. Whether her furry extension is hyper-sensitive or not, you need to be careful with it to prevent any permanent damage.
Your furry friend's tail is an appendage of her body and, much like her paws, it is open to trauma and damage from accidents. Getting her tail stuck in a door or stepping on it, for instance, might dislocate or possibly break the vertebrae inside of her fluffy extension. If her tail appears kinked or if she seems to have a hard time wagging it, seek medical attention immediately. She'll probably be in pain and may snap or growl if you touch her hind quarters, so you'll need to be extraordinarily gentle. Vertebrae dislocations can often heal on their own, but if a severe breakage occurs, your veterinarian might have to amputate her tail.
Although Manx and Cymric cats don't typically have long flowing tails, the small hump where the tail should be is still highly sensitive. The nerve endings gather all in one small area, rather than being spread out throughout the entire tail. These nerves are not fully protected and often close to the skin, according to the International Cat Association. Avoid poking or putting pressure on this area if Fifi is of a tailless breed. Even a small amount of pressure may be painful for her.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.