How to Stop a Cat From Attacking Its Tail

by catfood

Why does my cat keep biting the tail of my dog?

Their two-year-old cat, Monkey, who they adopted when he was a month old and was found in a bush in their driveway, resides with Marlene, Jessica, and Dustin. Monkey was conceived by a stray cat living nearby. She gets along splendidly with the dogs Diesel and Pangea, the 10-week-old kitten, and the sister cat Kali, who is one.


Monkey, she bites her own tail. Marlene states that Monkey temporarily indulged in this habit after being spayed a year ago. “She started acting erratically again about a month ago, and the frequency has increased. Now, day and night, Monkey never stops hissing and swatting at her tail. She will hesitate for a second and then resume. We’ve tried talking to her, picking her up, spritzing her with water from a spray bottle.

The veterinarian said that it might be a behavioral issue after being unable to identify anything wrong. He suggested testing and potentially giving the cat Prozac, but the owner couldn’t afford this at the moment. Alternatively, the vet advised Marlene to purchase a “Good Behavior Calming Collar” (found on Amazon) and add “calming drops” to Monkey’s water, which has “helped a little but not much.


Amy’s Reaction

I want to examine behavioral problems from the perspective of both physical and mental health. You can take the H.I.S.S. Test, which stands for health, instinct, stress, and symptom solutions. Even if your veterinarian may have ruled out all of these options, I’ll make this response general to be as useful to as many other readers as possible.


Monkey probably underwent a comprehensive examination from your vet. However, discomfort is frequently the root of self-directed animosity. A flea bite or an arthritic tail joint could be the reason for the interest in the tail that sparks an assault. Because this first happened soon after a spay, it appears that irritation may be a trigger for Monkey. Additionally, the rather uncommon condition known as hyperesthesia syndrome manifests itself as chasing its tail and rippling skin on its back.


Motion awakens the instinct to hunt. When playing, kittens pay close attention to the tails of other cats or their own. A small child frequently outgrows this type of play, although some older cats will occasionally carry on with it.


Stress can lead to all types of behaviors as well as health issues. Stress manifests itself differently in various species. While switching out the drapes may be all it takes for some cats, it could be anything. Redirected aggression is one way cats deal with extreme stress, and it’s usual that Monkey may direct her rage at her own tail in an effort to unwind. Monkey may be under stress as a result of the recent addition of a cat to your family.

S = Symptoms, Signs, and Solutions

Any of the aforementioned situations, either singly or in combination, could fit the description you provided. Unfortunately, without additional tests your veterinarian prescribes, it’s unlikely that you’ll find the exact cause.

Since the self-directed attack may result in tail mutilation, I really can’t advise you on how to handle it in terms of therapy. Radiographs (X-rays) may be used to inspect the bones and joints, check for nerve damage in the tail, or get a second opinion from a veterinary dermatologist to check for parasites in order to determine the underlying reason. Hyperesthesia syndrome can only be diagnosed after all possible medical diseases have been ruled out, however it occasionally gets better with diversion and a reduction in stress or boredom. Anti-anxiety medications like the Prozac your veterinarian advised may also be necessary.

The SentryHC Good Behavior Calming Collar uses pheromones that nursing mother cats release to reduce the baby’s anxiety. The same pheromones have been shown to decrease fear and antagonism in adult cats. If this is a medical or neurological ailment rather than a dread-related condition, the collar and calming drops you described might not help but surely wouldn’t hurt.

Consult your veterinarian if Monkey’s behavior has not yet returned to normal. She needs assistance to return to her joyful, regular self because she seems to be in agony, either physically or emotionally.

If you suspect your pet is sick, contact your veterinarian straight away. When in doubt about your family pet’s health, always see your veterinarian. They have examined your pet, are aware of its medical history, and may be able to offer the best guidance for your pet.

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