Cats with Kinked Tails: Everything You Need To Know

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Watching our cat’s tail can tell you a lot about your cat. For instance, a straight tail with a hooked tip is usually a cat’s way of passing a friendly greeting.

If the curve at the tip of the tail is downwards, it could mean the cat is getting defensive. 

But in addition to these, some cats have a kinked tail and that should not be confused with a cat that bends his tail to communicate something.

There are a couple of reasons why some cats have kinked tails.

For starters, a cat can have a kinked tail as a result of an accident. Any accidental pressure applied on the tail, e.g. if a person steps on it, can break the bones in the tail.

In the event of such an accident, you should take your cat to the vet right away.

Depending on the extent of damage, the vet might recommend different remedies or surgery.

Once the treatment is over, the tail might remain kinked forever but at least the cat will not be in pain anymore.

The other reason for kinked tails in cats is genetics. Some breeds are naturally born with kinked tails.

Because these cats are born this way, they don’t incur any pain and neither do they have issues with balance and movement.

Cats with kinked tails were first documented by Charles Darwin in the Malayan archipelago in 1868.

Over the years, experts have observed the prevalence of short-tailed cats in South- East Asia.

Cats in the entire region of Burma, Pegu, Siam, and the Malayan archipelago are known to be short-tailed and some of them have a knot.

 In China, kinked cats were considered to be a sign of good fortune and wealth and were therefore very popular.

There are three main types of kinked tails in cats—minor kinks (tails with a slight shortening), medium kinks (tails that have a prominent truncation), and extreme kinks (typically bobtails that have tails shorter than 10cm).

Minor and medium kinked tail cats are more prevalent than those with extreme kinks.

Even though the short and kinked tail is often thought of as a defect in some quarters, it doesn’t in any way affect the quality of life of the cat.

What Breed Of Cat Has A Kinked Tail?

Even though kinked tails are often a result of a skeletal disorder, some breeds have a naturally formed kinked tail from birth.

The following are the breeds with kinked tails.

1. Siamese

Siamese cats are traditionally known for their kinked cats.

Legend has it that these Siamese breeds developed kinked tails because the Siamese princess would place her rings on her cat’s tail when bathing.

However, kinked tails in Siamese breeds are no longer common due to breeding practices.

2. Burmese

Burmese cats are descendants of Siamese breeds and that explains why they also have the kinked tail gene.

The first Burmese cat was brought to America in 1930 and it was bred selectively with Siamese cats.

This way, the distinctive traits, e.g. the kinked tail, of the breed were maintained.

3. Japanese/American Bobtail

Bobtails, both American and Japanese, are another breed that has kinked tails.

It is believed that the kinked tail is a result of a mutation that is caused by a dominant gene. 

Even though it is possible to have a bobtail cat with a normal tail, there must be at least one cat from a kitten litter that has a kinked tail.

Can cats be born with kinked tails? Is a kinked tail genetic?

As we have already established, cats can be born with kinked tails. 

The breeds that can have kinked tails at birth are Siamese, Burmese, and Bobtails. 

Some breeders consider kinked tails defects and have tried to eradicate them through crossbreeding.

However, if both parents have a kinked tail, then the kinked tail gene will most likely be passed down to the kittens.

That said, the genetic causes of kinked cats have not been established, and experts are still investigating the phenomenon.

Can a kinked tail be fixed?

A kitten that is born with a kinked tail should not raise any alarm. The kitten is fine and doesn’t need any medical attention.

If the tail got crooked due to an accident, a visit to the vet might be necessary.

The vet will examine the injury and advice on the best way forward. But for the most part, the treatment given will be mainly to alleviate the pain and heal the wound. However, the tail will remain kinked for life.

It is possible to take your cat for surgery to straighten the kinked tail.

However, the surgery is purely cosmetic as it will not improve the quality of life for the cat.

Because this surgery would be cosmetic and risky, it wouldn’t be justifiable. The possible complications outweigh any seeming benefit.

If your issue is swelling and lumps, never judge the book by the cover. What you think to be a benign kink might not be a big deal.

It is best to take your cat for examination by the vet just to be sure.

Radiography can reveal what the issue really is and then the vet will know whether they are dealing with a deformity or some vertebral injury. 

Related Post: 15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Cat Tail Anatomy

Parting Thoughts

In conclusion, cats with kinked tails can still have a normal life.

They will not lose their balance or walk awkwardly.

Even if the tail got kinked from an accident, just take the cat to the vet and once the injury heals, she will be fine.