Friday, February 26, 2010

Repost Friday: Kinky Tails

Want to know why cats have kinky tails? Check out this repost from February 2007...

Scoop's curly tailFriends from overseas (read: non-Malaysians) are always horrified when they see Scoop's tail looks like a corkscrew, and that Au's short little stubby tail waves at a permanent 45 degree angle.

Local friends don't make it any better because they delight in telling the urban legends that say these cats are victims of animal cruelty.

Depending on who's telling the story, innocent tourists are told a local ethnic group believes cats are so beautiful that they disturb the spirits of the dead if they walk over their graves. To prevent spiritual unrest, the story goes, this group go along breaking cat’s tails at birth.

I’ve heard this superstition being attributed to various Chinese groups, Malaysian Indians, and even Sarawak tribes such as the Iban, so it’s hard to know where exactly this story started. One thing's for sure, the teller always blames someone else!

In case you’re worried: local kitties may look like victims of unusual torture but they are born this way. In fact, it’s a local neighbourhood characteristic.

Malaysian, Singaporean and Thai cats have an odd gene that creates a kinky tail. Some kitties have long tails with a knob or kink at the top; others have a variety of shorter tails sticking out at odd angles.

Scoop’s corkscrew tail is unusually complex, and knowing this our old fuzzy is very proud of it. He curls his tail up when he’s interested in something and down when he’s relaxed. It’s a wonderful barometer indicating his mood.

If you see a cat with a kinky tail in the US or UK, chances are you are looking at a cousin of Scoop or Au’s. Please say apa kabar from us!

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8 comments:

The Chair Speaks said...

Kinky tails are interesting in the way they twist and turn :)

Amy and The House of Cats said...

Wow, that is really interesting - I had no idea that could happen. It does make sense that it is genetic though - like curly hair on a cat, just in the tail instead!

Dennis the Vizsla said...

Sounds like how the Scottish Fold came into existence. Someday the kinky-tailed cats will be highly sought after!

mummymeow said...

hey i didn't know kinky tails are only for cats in these 3 countries...i tot kinky tails are everywhere! kinky tails are cute.

Pam said...

I did not realize kinky tails were so unique. I would probably have been the innocent tourist believing in local legend.

Dora said...

Cats have just flexible bones!

BeadedTail said...

This was very interesting! We learned alot about kinky tails today!

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

I think the rural Malay communities call cats with 'knotted' or kinked tails "Besing" cats! And there's a fable on how it happened! One story is that a loyal cat looked after his master's gold rings by knotting his tail over them to stop them from falling off. Another tale is that the Besing Cat kept stealing honey belonging to Sang Kancil, and Sang Kancil tied a knot in the tail of the intruder to help him identify the thief!

FYI, Pixie and Shadow have kinked/bobbed tails. My girls have normal-length tails.