In every breed of cat, it’s tail is an extension of it’s spine, made up of small vertebrae, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerve bundles. The rear of the spine which the tail connects to houses all the main muscles and nerves that control bowel and bladder waste removal, making it one of the most important parts of their body. A tail injury essentially becomes a spine injury, and spine injuries are never good. So let’s explore some of the more common tail injuries in cats, giving you an insight on what to look for and how to correct it.
- Scratches and cuts – A scratch is pretty mild, and can be treated effectively at home, or left to its own devices it will heal normally. A cut is something completely different. If you have a cat first aid kit, apply some antibiotic ointment onto a gauze bandage, wrap this round the affected area and consult your vet. Depending on the severity, they may or may not want you to bring kitty in for a visit.
- Cat bite – Ouch! This is a nasty tail injury and needs vet attention as soon as you can get your cat in. It may not look like much, a small puncture wound, but cat saliva packs loads of bacteria that can result in a nasty infection. Cat bites are not to be messed around with; a vet visit is mandatory.
- Nerve damage – If a tail is pulled hard enough, nerve damage at the base of the tail may likely occur. One sign of nerve damage is a cat suddenly having difficulty getting rid of waste, either through urination or defecation. You may see straining, difficulty getting in the correct position, or sudden defecation/urination. A vet visit should be scheduled, and you may have to help your cat into and out of the litter box for a time, but if your cat is reasonably healthy, it should regain full control.
- Dislocation – Generally, some type of external trauma to the tail may dislocate some vertebrae. Getting their tail stepped on or run over by a wheel can cause the bones to dislocate. In many cases, the cat will heal fine itself although there might be a slight kink where the accident occurred. A vet may prescribe muscle relaxers and pain medication to help the vertebrate reposition themselves correctly.
- Broken tail – Some sort of serious physical trauma, like having a tail slammed in a door, may actually break or crush a tail bone. The most obvious sign will be a drooping tail at the point of the break. An inspection should be done on the spot to make sure that a compound fracture hasn’t occurred, while a visit to the vet is in order for an X-ray. If a break is found, treatment is like that for dislocation, however, there is a greater chance of nerve damage here, so look out for any change in walking, sitting or bowel habits.
- Abscess – Think of this as a giant pimple, and it could be from any number of things, from a bug bite to sliver or any other small puncture wound. Try trimming the area with scissors and using a hot moist compress, apply for about 20 minutes daily until the abscess drains. Use hydrogen peroxide to clean the area. If it doesn’t get better after 3 days, go to the vet’s.
About the author
Mary Nielsen founded FelineLiving.net and is a passionate cat lover, blogger, and part-time music teacher. She founded her blog to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a bunch of adorable kittens and cats. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.