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I have a cat that just got home from getting her tail amputated. She is about 10 years old, she's typically an outside cat, but since the incident we are going to keep her inside.

My question is, how does a cat first react to losing its tail, and how will this affect the future behavior of the cat? (lack of balance? possible depression?)

  • If your cat is used to being outside, and now you are no longer going to let her out; I would assume this is going to cause depression and possibly some inappropriate behavior. I think we may already have a related question about suddenly not let a cat go out (but not finding it at the moment), hopefully one of our cat experts will be point you to it, or a second question can be created. – James Jenkins Aug 17 '14 at 10:24
  • Here's the earlier question: pets.stackexchange.com/questions/4342/… – Zaralynda Aug 18 '14 at 17:00
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Balance

However, this does not mean that cats who lose their tails or are born without them cannot balance themselves. According to VetInfo, cats who suffer tail injuries that require amputation learn to balance without them. In Cat Health 101, Animal Planet states that Manx cats, who are born without tails, also learn to balance without them. They are thought to have an especially sensitive vestibular apparatus inside their ears to compensate. http://pets.thenest.com/cat-need-its-tail-balance-10716.html

Basically balance is all that it affects from what I've seen and in my research. It does take them a while to get used to it. Their tail is an extension of their spine. Other words their tail has part of their spine in it. So they use their spine for balance landing etc. When they lose their tail they lose part of their spine. When that happens they lose some balance. So they have to get used to it to the point where the cat acts as if he always had a tail.

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  • Depends on where and how the tail is damaged. Remember that the tail is an extension of the spinal column, and nerves don't always take the shortest route ; base of the tail has nerves that can affect other things in the cat's rear end, as I understand it. But that's something the vet would have discussed with you if it was an issue. – keshlam Feb 4 '15 at 5:23
  • yes but clearly in the question it says losing the whole tail. @keshlam – Derrick K. Feb 4 '15 at 23:13
  • "Whole tail" may or may not mean all the way back to the pelvis, and if it doesn't then how much was retained may matter. – keshlam Feb 6 '15 at 4:41
  • @keshlam it doesn't specify how far back – Derrick K. Feb 9 '15 at 22:38

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