HomeCat AnatomytailLots of Asian cats have bent and short tails. Why?


Lots of Asian cats have bent and short tails. Why? — 30 Comments

  1. We have 5 street cats that all now live in our fenced yard with freedom to enter our house anytime. Some have straight tails some have a kink, one has a stub like a bobcat. I notice that the cats can jump from the ground to the top of our a/c in one jump. The one with the bobtail prefers to climb. My guess is that their tail gives them balance.

  2. I have two cats (only surviving out of a litter of 4) both with bent tails. The male has a curled tail which sort of tucks into its self why the female has one similar to the black Indonesian cat you photographed on the 12/08/2014. I’m from New Zealand and the vet said that it could be either due to genetics or trauma in the womb. However, the kittens mothers sister had four kittens, all with normal tails.

  3. Recently in January 2020 had travelled across Laos and noticed many cats with bent or short tails. Here is a photo of one such beautiful cat i spotted at a highway restaurant during my road trip from Vang Vieng to the capital Vientiane in Laos.

  4. Hi Michael, sorry I should have said were I was sending from this my first time responding to anything and I forgot this the entire world . I live in the desert 40 miles south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. my foundling is a domestic cat , but there are a lot of wild bob cats everywhere around me in the cliffs . She is young but not wild or feral. Where she came from she already she already had been spaed. All I could find out is that a woman who didn’t know anything about her had been feeding her, till she was chased by wild domestic dogs. ‘Blanca’ is not afraid of dogs though. Thanks.

  5. I have an all white cat I found in the desert, she has a bobed kinked tail. It doesn’t bother her if i touch it, like if it were from an traumatic injury. Someone said it can happen in the womb of a crowed litter. She climbs trees great but never jumps higher then a chair seat.

  6. I’m living in Indonesia.
    I have a bobtailed crossbreed cat… No idea what’s in there.

    She’s just had a litter of kittens, 4 of them.
    Their tails?
    1 is almost straight.
    1 is incredibly short.
    1 is kinked about 3/4 of the way down.
    1 is spiralled.
    I kid you not! A full loop-de-loop in the middle of its tail!

    I have never seen this before and would be interested to see if anyone else here has.

    • Kinked= Siamese trait
      Loop-the-loop= ringtail cat trait
      Short= bobtail cat trait

      You have an amazing litter of kittens. The original Siamese have kinked tails. It was bred out in the West. You can read about the Ringtail cat on this site. Search for it. You know the bobtailed cat. Extraordinary. If you can photograph them and upload the photos that would be nice.

  7. Excuse me if this is nonsense as I have zero authority on the matter but is it possible that their poorer balance could be a counter intuitive advantage in a different environment. I’m currently travelling through south east Asia (hence having googled cats tails and come across your page) and it’s not difficult to notice the vastly different landscape to what we’re used with in the West. Whereas we have towering trees they tend to be a lot broader, branching out from a lot lower down. This makes it easier for a cat to make its way back to the ground uninjured. This along with sheer cliff faces and such. Is it possible that cats with bent/short tails are less sure of their own balance therefore less inclined to scale trees and cliffs and die in falling accidents?

    • Hi Martin, thanks for commenting. I think you make a very interesting point. I don’t know whether you are correct or not. Your argument sounds good and therefore may well have some validity. It is quite possible that cats with short tails feel less confident about climbing and therefore climb less.

      • I tend to be right about things once or twice per annum. I think I’m due one so who knows, there may be some truth to this. I wouldn’t write your thesis on it though.

  8. Why evolution? Not sure if this fairy is the right explanation. I think most of the tales were cut by their mother, when the kitties were born.

    • Hi Oli,I appreciate you taking the time to provide me with your theory but I would doubt that you are correct. What would be the purpose of their mother cutting off the tails of their kittens when they are born? The cat’s tail is an important part of the cat’s anatomy. It helps with the cat’s survival. A mother is interested and concerned about the survival of her newborn kittens. The mother does everything she can to assist in the survival of her offspring. To remove the tail would be counter to that innate motivation driven by motherly love and therefore I don’t see that your theory can be correct but nonetheless thank you once again.

  9. Hi Michael. Mutations do not necessarily need to have a positive effect to remain. If they are harmless there is no selective pressure to remove them. That pressure would only be active if the mutation put it at a disadvantage to an animal that does not have it. They would be less successful and the mutation would eventually die out with them.

  10. Hi Michael. Mutations only die out if they are have a negative effect on survival. I do not know what advantages a long tail confers on a cat but it must be useful, Maybe as a social tool for signalling and showing intentions, and to some extent for balance. A short tail is only a bit less useful. A short tail may be an advantage in that it would be less noticeable in a hunting situation when cats tend to twitch their tails from side to side and risk giving the game away.

  11. I like bobbed tails. But, ofcourse, I am a big bobcat fan.
    I’ve had some bobtailed and kinked tailed cats.
    I tended to believe that the ones with kinks had been injured in some way. Perhaps not.

  12. Michael,thanks for the excellent hypothesis on the strange tail defects in Indonesian cats. I really found it weird as almost 90* of the cats i saw had crooked or bob tails very uncommon in my home city of Mumbai and even India since i have toured most of India.

  13. My immediate guess is that Asian cats are descended from very few ancestors, i.e, not many successfully made the long overland journey from the Middle East to Asia. The result was inbreeding which is known to establish individual traits and mutations.

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