Problems with a Cat Attacking His Tail

by Elton Dunn, Demand Media
    Some cats can bite their tails hard enough to require stitches.

    Some cats can bite their tails hard enough to require stitches.

    Chasing and biting the tail is not only strange cat behavior, it can cause pain and the need for medical treatment. A kitty may attack and bite his tail for a variety of reasons; you and your vet must work together to find the cause of the behavior.

    Symptoms

    If your kitty is attacking or biting his tail, you'll most likely see him do it. Other signs of a tail-mutilation problem include missing fur, cuts in the area, scabbing and bleeding. If you see such symptoms, schedule an appointment with your vet. If your kitty bites himself hard enough to cause bleeding, seek emergency vet attention.

    Physical Causes

    Fleas may cause your pal to sudden start tail biting. Most vets will offer flea treatment as a first course of action with tail-biting cats. Tail biters also could have anal sac problems, food allergies, psychomotor epilepsy that causes seizures, masses or cancers, arthritis, or degenerative joint disease. Your vet will do a thorough examination to see whether a physical cause is at the root of the behavior.

    Behavioral Causes

    Cats may also bite their tails for behavioral reasons. These include boredom, stress, separation anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Sudden changes to your home environment, such as a new person in the home or a move, can cause stress behavior such as tail chewing. If no physical cause is found, consult further with your vet to determine what behavioral issues might be at work.

    Treatment

    Once you identify whether the tail biting is a physical or behavioral issue, you can determine with your vet how to treat it. Physical issues require isolating and treating the underlying physical condition. Your kitty may need a new diet, anti-inflammatories for arthritis, or other medication. For behavioral issues, your cat might receive anti-depressants or behavioral therapy. Kitties with boredom and separation anxiety may respond well to increased stimulation in their environment.

    About the Author

    Elton Dunn is a freelance writer with over 14 years experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, technology, beauty and fashion writing. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing from Emerson College.

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