15

Thunder Katt: The Tale of the Tail

Hello, everyone! It’s Thunder here, and you may not know this about me, but my tail is extraordinarily long! As a matter of fact, my tail has been referred to as a magnificent tail! (All of me is pretty great, but my tail is extra fabulous!) So, I’m honor of my beautiful tail, I am here to share cat tail facts! 

A cat’s tail contains almost 10% of their bones

The tail of a cat on average has 19-23 vertebrae, which are held together with ligaments, tendons and muscles. The average length of a tail runs between 9 and 12 inches. Female tails tend to be shorter than male tails. 

 A cat’s tail helps them with balance

Have you ever noticed that when a cat is walking, or perched on something high or narrow, our tails are up and swaying? That’s not just us showing off how beautiful they look! Cat tails act as a counterbalance to protect from falling off of high areas, or stumbling in narrow spaces. Our tails also help keep us on balance when we run, or jump on prey.

Tail injuries can cause permanent damage

Spinal columns don’t extend all the way into the tail, but they contain the nerves that control and provide sensation to the tail, hind legs, bladder, and intestines. The nerves extend outward to protect the spinal bones. When a cat’s tail is yanked on, it can overstretch or tear these nerves and cause temporary and permanent inability to walk, inability to hold a tail upright, chronic pain, or incontinence. 

Cats can compensate if they lose their tails

While the loss of a tail certainly is debilitating and will negatively affect the cat, domestic cats can learn to compensate. Their balance will be controlled by their spinal column, and emotional signals (as well as health clues) will be portrayed through body language. 

The tailless gene is dominant

While the tailless gene (found most commonly in Manx cats) is dominant, it is very rare that two dominant-gene tailless cats are bred together. Typically, this gene is paired with a tailed breed. The reason for this primarily lies in the fact that when the dominant trait is combined, major health issues (known as Manx Syndrome) occur. (This can happen in otherwise normal bred Manx’s as well, but it is much more rare). Symptoms of this disease include spine bifida, fused vertebrae, bladder and bowel incontinence, and spontaneous miscarriage. 

Cats communicate with their tail

Because humans have yet to understand the dialect of a meow, cats have learned to primarily communicate with their body language; one of their biggest aids with this method is their tail! Happiness is shown with a tail held high, and a quivering tip. Mild irritation is shown with a low tail that has a twitch at the end, and an angry cat will be thrashing their tails back and forth rapidly. Cats who are on the hunt will keep their tail low and still. 

A tail in the air can be an invitation

Have you ever noticed when a cat gets scratched by the base of their tail, happiness ensues and the tail jots upwards? That’s a good thing! Cats raise their tail to invite you to pet them, and to show you that they’re content. However, a cat may raise its tail around other cats as an invitation to come and investigate. Tails can make or break a relationship amongst cats! 

Only domestic cats can walk with their tails vertical

The ability to walk with our tails held high is a trait unique to domestic felines. All big and wild cats walk with their tails horizontal, low to the ground, or tucked between their legs. 

Tail Ailments

If a cat is feeling unwell or has medical issues arising, their tails will be the first sign something is awry. In a sick cat, the tail will be drooping and not twitching. There are also ailments that directly affect the tail, such as hormonal issues causing inflammation or dermatitis caused by flea bites. This particular dermatitis also causes tail joint inflammation. 

Tails are used as emotional signals

In addition to communication and health aids, cat tails can also show their emotions. Contentment is shown with an upright tail. Confusion is a tail that is at a 45 degree angle. Excitement is displayed with a tail that is angled back with motion. Happiness is shown with a tail that is upright and swaying. Friendliness is shown with an upright, bent-tip tail. A cat who is uneasy will have their tail straight, nearly level with their spine. Aggression in cats is shown by a tail hanging down and a dip near the base of the tail. Angry cats rapidly swish their tails back and forth. Cats who are frightened puff their tails out. A cat who is about to attack will hold their tail at a 90 degree angle. A (domestic) cat who holds their tail between their legs is usually hurt. And a cat who is interested and alert will have their tails sitting upright, with a moving tip. 

The tail tells all! In addition to being beautiful, the tails us all sorts of things about kitties, including how a hunt is going, emotions, and communications. While tails are beautiful, they are very delicate, and are a major part of a cat’s body and function. So while admiring our lovely tails, be sure to take care of them. The tail reigns supreme! 

Purrs and furs, 

Thunder K. Katt 

18

Cat Forum: Cats and Herbs

Greetings. Snoops and Kommando here. We’ve probably told you that our human brother is an outstanding cook – if you’re a human. He’s the one who introduced lentils to the menu. And chickpeas. And lots of dried beans. He also uses a lot of different herbs. Some of them smell good. Others just smell.

My Cat Smells Like Death - Bad Breath and Other Causes

Mom is trying to help. She bought a bunch of herb plants. Some are outside in pots, and some are inside in pots. It looks like a basil jungle under the plant light. Neither one of us is much for plants, so we’ve been avoiding them. But it did make us wonder if there were any herbs we should look out for.

As is the case for flowers and other plants, some herbs are good for us and we need to avoid some.  In the case of herbs that may be beneficial for cats, make sure your vet is on board before taking them medicinally.

Safe (and possibly beneficial) Herbs

Basil – Has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It also relieves anxiety in some kitties.

Calendula – It has anti-inflammatory properties. It might even be able to help speed up wound healing.

Catnip – It is a mood and activity stimulant and can help calm stress and anxiety. It also has anti-itch properties. Note that it is a member of the mint family and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if you overindulge.

Cats & Herbs | Good & Bad Herbs for your Furry Friend - THE SAGE

Cat’s Claw  – It helps with allergic reactions. It might help with your immune system.

Dandelion Root – It has anti-itch properties so it can help alleviate allergies. It also aids digestion and liver detoxification.

Dill – It can calm the stomach. It also alleviates bloating and gas.

Echinacea – It helps support good immune health. If you’re prone to upper respiratory infections (like the human cold), maybe you should ask your vet about it.

Goldenseal – It has antibacterial properties. It may be useful as a natural disinfectant on cuts and scrapes.

Licorice Root – It’s like the cortisone your human uses, so it helps your mucus membranes. It can reduce allergic itchiness, digestive issues (it is particularly soothing to your bowels), and respiratory problems.

Do Cats Like Mint? (Revealed!) | Pests Banned

Mint – It’s a natural pest repellent. It also soothes your skin and helps you relax. But too much can be rough on your tummy.

Parsley – It can help boost your immune system and support good eyesight (it provides vitamins A, C, and K).

Rosemary – It has antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It can help with your skin, coat, and eyesight. It also improves digestion.

Thyme – It has antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It also provides fiber to your diet.

Valerian – It is a mood and activity stimulant for cats. It can be used as an alternative to catnip or silver vine. Weirdly enough, it usually has the opposite effect on humans. It is also known to boost the immune system.

Witch Hazel – It can be used to treat feline acne. Simply dab your skin once or twice a day.

How to grow and care for chamomile | lovethegarden

Unsafe for Kitties

Chamomile – There are several types of chamomile. German chamomile is safe for cats. However, English, Roman or True chamomile can cause dermatitis, vomiting, diarrhea, and allergic reactions.

Foxglove – It can cause cardiac failure and death.

Garlic – It is extremely toxic. It can cause vomiting, increased heart rate, and damage to your red blood cells leading to hemolytic anemia.

Growing Lemongrass: Best Varieties, Planting Guide, Care, Problems, and  Harvest

Lemongrass – It can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Marijuana – It can cause vomiting, low blood pressure, hypersalivation, and possibly even seizure, coma, and death. No form is safe.

Onions and Chives – They can cause diarrhea, vomiting or an upset stomach and severe damage to the red blood cells. Onion powder is as dangerous as the whole onion.

Oregano – It can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

St. John’s Wort – It can make you more sensitive to the sun, leading to ulcerative or peeling dermatitis.

Tarragon – It can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Catnip and Cats — In Defense of Plants

We’ve decided to leave the herbs to the humans. Although we are going to try to get Mom to move the catnip inside.

Pictures courtesy of Google Images (not us or our plants)

2

Dear Santa, I’ve Been Really Good This Year (Mostly)

Dear Santa Claus,

I know that Thanksgiving is in three days, and you will start getting inundated with requests from small children about what they want for Christmas. I thought that I should remind you how good I have been this year, so you will be ready when I send my list. From what I remember about Christmas when I was little, the whole “naughty and nice” thing was pretty much a gimmick to get kids to behave. However, based on some of my recent gifts, I think there may actually be some sort of behavior standards for adults.

I remember from Sunday School that Jesus said something about how thinking about committing a sin is as bad as doing it. But I also remember them telling us that Jesus isn’t Santa Claus, so we couldn’t just keep asking Him to do stuff for us. That means I don’t have to be as good for you, right? I mean none of us are perfect (except that woman at work who keeps telling everyone else how to do their job because she knows how to do everything better than the rest of us). 

In case you or one of your spies elves have been too busy to notice, I have summarized the year.

I have been taking better care of myself physically. I finally got that annual exam I’ve been meaning to get around to for the past however many years. Just for the record, I am completely healthy. (probably should cut back on my two favorite foods though – chocolate and anything with sugar – and go to the dentist – and get some real glasses – doctor says I should exercise more even though I have an active job – I bet she doesn’t stop by the gym after work)

I’ve been trying hard to follow the rules at work (except the stupid ones – how am I supposed to straighten stuff on the top hooks without kneeling on the ledge at the bottom of the display? what about getting the stuff at the back of the pallet without stepping on it? climbing on the carts in the cooler to get to the stuff at the back? It’s not like I walk around with my box-cutter open – although it is non-regulation)

I try to be kind to everyone (except the ones I kinda throw under the bus once in awhile on this blog – but no one knows who they are anyway, so I don’t think they count; maybe I talked about a couple of people at work, but nothing everyone else wasn’t already saying)

I have been trying to read the posts of everyone I follow and liking what they write as much as possible (except the couple I had to drop because they were just too healthy and made me feel guilty – and that guy who was so conservative I wanted to smack him every time I read a post)

I have been doing my best to comment graciously on other people’s blogs (except those two people who got offended by what I wrote – it’s not my fault they didn’t get my humor, right?)

I have been taking care of my mother’s finances (except those couple of times I forgot to send checks to my brother when she asked – I probably should have done it right away or in the next day or so)

I am a courteous driver (I only remember pulling out directly in front of someone from my driveway one time this year and I really thought I had looked first – I only speed when I’m really late for work or church and there really aren’t that many people on the road that time of day anyway)

I am always helpful to the customers at work (except when I go to the break room/exit through receiving to avoid everyone, but sometimes people are so annoying and avoiding them is better than ignoring them, right?)

One final thing, Santa. You do grade on a curve, right?

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