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The other day I came across a cat that was missing about 20% of her tail, just the last part of if. It does not seem to be a problem with balance, but how (much) does a cat communicate with their tails towards other cats? Does a shorter tail introduce social problems?

For example, Ring-tailed lemur's need their tail for communication.

  • I don't have definitive sources, but given that there are tailless cats and that cats body language is just as much about posture and other parts of the anatomy, I doubt a shortened tail would cause problems with communication. Cats communicate through posture (sitting, standing, back arched, showing the sides, front or back, or the stomach), ear position and movement, tail movement, location and fluffing, and also eyes (slow blinking, open vs squinting eyes, pupil dilation) and mouth (yawning or showing teeth). – Stig Tore Jun 15 '18 at 7:07
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I had a cat with half a tail for many years. She seemed to have no problems with communication with other animals in the household. Cats use many kinds of body language in addition to the tail, such as whisker position, ear position, fur standing up, body posture, and vocalization.

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  • I'm reasonably sure that the only thing the cat won't be able to communicate with such a short tail is "I'm slightly annoyed" usually communicated by twitching the tip of the tail. Ear position, facial expressions & vocalizations make the majority of cat communications – SAM A Jun 15 '18 at 23:08
  • I imagine missing the tail, in terms of social communication, might be kind of like a human missing eyebrows. Eyebrows could help emphasize your facial expression, but it's still readable without eyebrows. Lacking some or all of the tail is a fairly common mutation in certain areas, and the feral cats with it don't seem much bothered. – Kai Jun 16 '18 at 17:53

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