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What Does A Broken Cat Tail Look Like

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How To Treat A Cat With A Tail Pull Injury

This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 34,249 times.

Your cats tail is a prominent extension of its spine. The tail helps the cat judge distances and achieve its amazing sense of balance.XResearch source There are different ways your cat may get a tail pull injury such as by someone accidentally stepping on it. Cat tail pull injuries are extremely painful and can lead to problems such as incontinence. By identifying a potential problem and getting prompt veterinary care, you can potentially treat a cat tail pull injury.

How Do You Treat A Dogs Dead Tail

Most of the time, dogs with dead tail recover on their own within a few days to a week or so. Rest is the most important aspect of treatment. Giving dogs with dead tail anti-inflammatory medications soon after the condition develops may speed their recovery and does help ease discomfort while they are healing.

The Princess And The Ring Stand

Once upon a time in the ancient kingdom of Siam

there was a Princess of the Royal Household who loved to swim. Each day, she would make her way to her favorite bathing pool accompanied by her faithful feline companion.

Each day, she would take off her rings, and, for safekeeping, place them over her cat’s tail. . Gradually, over the course of many years, the cat’s tail developed a permanent kink.

And to this very day, there are still some Siamese cats born with kinked tails!

Serious Cat Tail Injuries

In severe cat tail injuries, the bone has been broken beyond repair or the injury has damaged the animals nervous system or blood vessels. In these cases, where the tail cannot heal on its own, the vet may need to dock the tail. They may also need surgery to repair any nerve damage. If this is the case, your vet will provide you with more information.

Fortunately, most cats recover very well from this procedure and adapt quickly to their shorter tails. They will be jumping and playing again in no time. Talk to your vet about the procedure and ask about the recovery time as it will depend on your cats injury.

The most important thing to do when your cat suffers a tail injury or is experiencing symptoms of an injured tail is to see the vet as soon as possible. The faster you go to the vet and treat the injury, the faster your cat will heal and recover from its unfortunate mishap.

Get To Know Your Dogs Tail

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It is important to familiarize yourself with the anatomy of your dogs tail, so you can take care of it in the most efficient manner possible. After all, tails are pretty foreign appendages to most humans.

Contrary to many dog owners assumption, dogs do have bones in their tails. In fact, the bones in your dogs tail represent the terminal end of the spinal column. The number of bones in a given dogs tail varies, but most have between 5 and 23 separate vertebrae.

The skin and fur coating the outside of the tail are essentially identical to that covering the rest of your dogs body. Just beneath the skin, youd find blood vessels, connective tissue and a series of muscles. Some of the muscles at the base of your dogs tail are also involved in controlling their bowels and bladders, so severe tail injuries can occasionally lead to incontinence.

A collection of tendons and ligaments connect muscles to other muscles and the caudal vertebrae which form the core of the tail. These muscles provide precision control over the tail, thereby allowing it to serve as a remarkably effective communication device.

The Tales Your Cat’s Tail Tells


Your cat’s tail can tell you about what’s going on inside her head. Tails are good indicators of mood. Take a little time to observe your cat’s behavior and you will start to get a feel of the tales the tail tells.

Position: high. When your cat holds her tail high in the air as she moves about her territory, she’s expressing confidence and contentment. A tail that sticks straight up signals happiness and a willingness to be friendly. And watch the tip of an erect tail. A little twitch can mean a particularly happy moment.

Position: curved like a question mark. You might consider taking a break from your daily business to play with your cat if you notice a curve in her tail. This tail position often signals a playful mood and a cat that’s ready to share some fun with you.

Position: low. Watch out. A tail positioned straight down can signal aggression. A lower tail is a very serious mood. However, be aware that certain breeds, such as Persians, tend to carry their tails low for no particular reason.

Position: tucked away. A tail curved beneath the body signals fear or submission. Something is making your cat nervous.

Position: puffed up. A tail resembling a pipe cleaner reflects a severely agitated and frightened cat trying to look bigger to ward off danger.

Position: whipping tail. A tail that slaps back and forth rapidly indicates both fear and aggression. Consider it a warning to stay away.

Other Common Cat Tail Injuries

If your cat goes outside, tail injuries will become more likely. In addition to the hazards posed by traffic and exposure, your cat may come in contact with other animals and pests that can cause cat tail injuries. We recommend having a cat first aid kit in the house with bandages, tools, pest care, wound care, medications, and more.

Treatments For Fractured Tails

The treatment plan for your cats injured tail will need to come from your vet, since every injury must be treated differently. For many tail fractures and clean breaks, the tail can heal itself naturally over time. Your cat may require some form of pain relief to ease its discomfort.

In more severe fractures or breaks, your vet may decide that amputation is necessary. This is common in crushed tails that wont heal by themselves. Thankfully, most cats heal extremely well after this procedure and adapt to their shorter tails fairly quickly.

If there has been nerve damage due to the injury, your cat may need surgery to repair the nerves and restore proper function. This is usually one of the most severe outcomes, and your vet can provide more information about your cats particular injury and treatment plan.

The most important part of identifying and treating tail injuries is fast action. If you think your cat has sustained trauma to its tail, dont hesitate to call your vet and make an appointment for examination. The faster your cats injury can be assessed, the faster youll be able to relieve its pain and get it on the path to healing.

Cat Tails: Just The Facts

Not every tail is created equal, as any Manx cat will tell you with a cool stare and a wiggle of the little nubbin where another cats tail would be. With the exception of those short-tailed cats, youll find that 10% of the total bones in a cats body are in their tail. Tails are formed of around 22 to 23 vertebrae linked together and covered by ligaments, tendons, nerve endings, skin, and fur.

Taken altogether, this complicated organ averages out around 10 to 11 inches long depending on breed and sex of the cat in question. Tails are used to help counterbalance your friend Crookshanks when hes making quick movements, and allow Princess Carolyn to express her playfulness with a question mark-style curve.

Your feline friend can live without their tail – but that doesnt mean tail injuries are something you dont need to worry about. The many pieces of your cats tail link into their spine, making a tail injury potentially as serious as a spinal injury. With these type of injuries being surprisingly common, its important to understand the possible repercussions.

Why Shouldnt You Touch A Dogs Tail

Because the tail is connected by muscles and tendons and to his bum, pulling it can cause serious damage. If you try to pull or even just touch your dogs tail, he might become protective and he could either bark or bite. This is why its especially important not to pull his tail and to teach children that as well.

How To Prevent Your Cats From Getting Tapeworms

To prevent our cats from getting tapeworms, keep them up-to-date on flea prevention medications and away from rodents and rotting garbage. Clean your home thoroughly after treating your cat for tapeworms to help prevent reinfection. Vacuuming your home and cleaning their bedding or favorite spots will help clear your house of tapeworm segments and potentially even fleas. I recommend vacuuming multiple times. Be sure to rid your home of fleas, or the tapeworm cycle will likely start over.

Other Cat Tail Injuries

Its not only impact injuries that leave cats unable to lift their tails. Outdoor cats, in particular, will encounter other animals. These interactions will not always be friendly.

If a cat fights with a neighborhood feline, a dog, or even a wild raccoon, they may be bitten on the tail. This can lead to viral infection due to bacteria found in the other animals mouth.

If your cat has a wound on its tail, wash the area with antibacterial soap. Apply a bandage too. If your cat cannot lift its tail after this, your cat likely needs a course of prescription antibiotics.

These conflicts can result in abscesses. In this case, clip the fur around the abscess and apply a warm flannel. Repeat this process thrice daily. In theory, this will drain the abscess though, as before, antibiotics may also be required.

Cats can also burn their tails. For example, if your cat frequents the kitchen, it may burn its tail on a stove or hob. Apply a cold compress to the burned area, then visit a vet.

Do Bobtail Cats Make Good Pets


These Wild-Looking Cats Make Great Family Pets. Bobtails are friendly and intelligent, and are great family cats: they are good with children and other household pets. American bobtails are known for their wild looking appearance, most notably by their bobbed stubby tails and natural hunting gaze.

Part 1 Of 2:determining If The Cat’s Tail Is Broken

  • 1Watch your cat’s behavior. Your cat’s changed behavior might be one of the first signs you notice that alerts you to a tail injury. Your cat may begin dragging his tail or keeping it low to the ground all the time, dribbling urine randomly, or having diarrhea. Your cat may begin walking unevenly or losing coordination in his back legs.XResearch source
  • Dribbling urine and having diarrhea are not symptoms of a broken tail on their own. If the tail injury was severe enough to cause these signs, the cat will definitely be dragging the tail.
  • 2Examine the cat’s tail for injury. Gently feel along the length of the tail. Signs of injury or break include tender, swollen or bent areas. If you notice redness, tenderness, and swelling with fluid underneath, there may be an abscess, or pocket of pus, forming on your catâs tail. If there is exposed bone or if the skin has been stripped from the tail leaving only bone this is called a âdeglovingâ injury.XResearch source
  • If you happen to notice a hard, non-painful kink in your catâs tail, itâs probably because he was born with the kink in the tail or it’s an old, already healed injury.
  • Never pull or try to remove a severed portion of tail since there are tough tendons and sensitive nerves. If you pull or stretch the tendons, you’ll damage the use of the tail, hind limbs, bladder and bowel functions. It may also cause arterial bleeding, which is difficult to control and potentially life-threatening for your cat.
  • How To Stop And Reverse Cat Hair Loss

    “Cat hair loss is not always a problem, with shedding a natural part of a cat’s life. Cat’s shed more during warm weather months. Shedding also varies by breed. The biggest difference between normal shedding and hair loss that isn’t normal is when new hair doesn’t replace any thinning hair or bald patches. A cat that is losing hair has multiple potential causes including flea allergy, excessive licking, mange, ringworm, stress and thyroid disease . Treatment is based on diagnosing and eliminating the underlying cause.”

    Excessive amounts of cat hair loss is not normal an canindicate some type of underlying disease. Cat’s normally shed, withmore hair loss during warm  spring and early summer months. Italso varies by breed.  If your cat is losing hair, but thehair is then replaced, then this could be normal for your cat. If the feline hair loss results in a thin or bare area, thenyou should consider problems that are not normal.

    The location where a cat is losing hair can indicate thecause as described below.

    Cat Tail Down Positions

    Many of the cats tail down positions signal defensiveness or submission. A tail carried all the way down may mean that a cat is feeling defensive and aggressive behavior might follow. A tail tucked all the way down and curled beneath the cats body signals fear or submission. Something may be making your cat nervous or afraid.

    Broken Tailbone Recovery Time

    Recovery time from a bruised or broken tailbone depends on your age and the severity of the injury. Children recover faster than adults, and young adults recover faster than older ones.

    Average recovery time for a bruised tailbone is up to four weeks. A broken or fractured tailbone can take up to 12 weeks to heal.

    Treatment Of Limber Tail

    Fortunately most dogs with Limber Tail will be back to normal within 24 to 48 hours. I will usually prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug such as Previcox, Metacam, Deramaxx or Rimadyl to help dogs deal with the pain. A dose of aspirin may help, however, as some dogs can have serious side effects with aspirin , it is best to get your veterinarian’s advice before giving any aspirin.

    Is My Cats Tail Broken

    Cats have between 19 and 21 bones in their tail. These are known as the caudal vertebrae. A break or fracture to any of these bones can leave a feline unable to lift its tail. The lower the impacted vertebrae, the likelier the cat will be unable to lift its tail.

    As per a study of 51 cats with tail fractures published in Veterinary Surgery, incontinence is the most common symptom of a break. Alas, a break or fracture in a cats tail may not be immediately obvious.

    Even a slight droop in the tails position may indicate this injury. Fractures to a cats tail are frequently divided into 5 categories of varying severity:

    Level 1 : Slight pain in the head of the tail. Full recovery is expected with minimal discomfort
    Level 2 : Lack of mobility in the tail. This will be painful, but the cat should recover in full with care
    Level 3 : Lack of mobility plus difficulty urinating. The cat needs urgent care but should make a full recovery in time
    Level 4 : Lack of tail mobility and fecal incontinence. Most cats recover in full, but nerve damage is likely. Special care will be required
    Level 5 : Lack of mobility plus no control over bowels. Nerve damage is almost certain, leaving a 50/50 chance of survival

    Do not assume that your cats tail injury is capped at level 1 and move along. Any form of tail trauma merits a full x-ray investigation. This will reveal the extent of any damage and ensure the cat gets the right treatment.

    What Happens When A Cat Breaks Their Tail

    A cats tail is an extension of its spine, made up of vertebrae bones, blood vessels, and muscle. Although the spinal cord stops before reaching the tail, numerous nerves branch off from it and continue traveling through the tail. 

    What looks like a broken tail can be the result of a few different types of injuries. Your cat may have a bone fracture, a dislocated vertebrae, or an injury from its tail being pulled. In all cases, the nerves and blood vessels in the area are often damaged, Aimee Simpson, DVM, medical director of VCA Cat Hospital of Philadelphia, says. 

    What Causes Limber Tail

    Our Baby Blu found with broken tail & massive back injury ...

    No one really knows the cause of limber tail. But, the first thing I ask when I see a dog who has a flaccid tail is, “Has your dog been swimming lately?” For some reason, swimming in cold water can cause damage to the coccygeal muscle fibers.

    Here are some activities that can lead to limber tail:

    • Swimming
    • A hard workout
    • Prolonged cage transport

    Does A Broken Tail Hurt A Cat

    With that said, the most common cat tail injury is a fractured tail, as it can be caused by a wide variety of accidents. Fractured cat tails near the base are more serious as they can also involve damage to the nerves or blood vessels, making it a more serious and painful injury.

    READ:  Do CDs have surround sound?

    Signs Of A Broken Tail

    Some of the common indications that your cat may have suffered injury to their tail include:

    • A noticeable kink in the tail indicates that an injury has occurred.
    • Pain in the tail area is touched.
    • Evidence of a bite or other injury.
    • Swelling in the tail area.
    • The tail hanging down and not supporting itself properly.
    • Balance issues and/or difficulty walking or moving.
    • Faecal and/or urinary incontinence or being unable to empty their bladder and/or bowels at all.

    What To Watch For

    The primary symptoms seen are from pain. Cats will try to hide their pain, so watch for these signs:

    • Crying, howling, moaning, or growling, especially if touched
    • Not walking, or not using a limb or tail
    • Not eating or grooming
    • Swelling or bruising at the injured area

    Sometimes a broken bone will poke through the skin. This is called a compound fracture. In addition, there may be other injuries associated with the traumatic event that broke the bone, such as cuts, bruises, or disorientation.

    Recovery Of Tail Trauma In Cats

    Recovery and prognosis will vary depending on the cause and severity of tail trauma. Always follow your vets post-treatment and/or post-operative instructions carefully. Never apply any ointments made for human use unless specifically instructed to do so by your vet. Remember, any ointments applied will tend to be licked off and ingested! A buster collar may be needed to stop the cat licking the tail.

    If your cat has undergone surgery or amputation, do not allow them to irritate the surgery site. Ensure they have a warm, safe place to rest for the duration of the recovery period. Your vet will be able to advise you on helping your cat adjust following amputation.

    Your vet may or may not schedule follow-up appointments as needed to monitor healing. If you have any questions, or if the tail does not seem to be healing with treatment, contact your vet immediately.


    *Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

    Tail Trauma Average Cost

    Broken Fractured Or Dislocated Cat Tail

    Contrary to old wives’ tales, cats do not always land on their feet. In fact, PetCareRX reports the majority of breaks and fractures in the tail occur from falls. Breaks, fractures and dislocations can also result from a tail being run over by a car, being stepped on, or by being accidentally caught in a shutting door. Even children can dislocate a cat’s tail if they yank on it.

    Symptoms Of Tail Trauma In Cats

    Tail trauma can range in severity. It may be as minor as a small scrape or as severe as complete paralysis. Other symptoms may also be present depending on the cause of the trauma. In any case, seek immediate veterinary attention as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms:

    • Limp tail
    • Lack of or no movement in the tail
    • Inability to hold the tail up
    • Signs of pain

    Many types of tail trauma may occur in cats, including, but not limited to:

    • Abrasions


    How Long Does It Take For A Broken Cat Tail To Heal

    It takes time for a broken tail to mend, especially for nerves to repair. A full recovery can take up to six months.

    Its important to see your veterinarian if something seems wrong with your cats tail. Only a vet can determine how extensive the injury is with an exam and x-rays. A vet can also prescribe pain relievers and other medications your kitty may need to ease discomfort while they heal. For most kitties, care and rest is all they need to be able to swoosh their tails again.

    Treatment Of Hot Spots On Your Cat’s Tail

    Cat breaks the world record for having the longest tail ...

    The area around the hot spot will need to be shaved to allow the wound to breathe and your vet to assess the extent of the damage. Many cats become agitated during shaving, so unless you have experience shaving a cat, you should leave the shaving to your veterinarian. Your vet will also clean the wound with ointment, and he may prescribe antibiotics.

    Nerve Damage From Tail Dislocations And Breaks

    The risk of nerve damage from a broken tail is higher than from a dislocated tail. Nerve damage at the end of the tail causes pain and nerve damage at the base of the tail causes paralysis. If your catâs nerves are simply stretched they can heal on their own in about 6 months. 

    More severe nerve damage can cause incontinence and lameness in the hind legs. If this is the case your veterinarian may decide to amputate the tail in order to solve the problem. 

    If you think your cat has a tail injury examine the tail for signs of a wound, dislocation, or fracture. Keeping injuries clean and contacting your vet will allow your cat to heal without complications. 

    The Lion And The Monkey

    This tale was first told by British zoologist, writer, and broadcaster George Cansdale in his book ‘Animals and Man‘. I read the story in Sally Franklin’s wonderful guide to Siamese cats, ” .

    The story is said to take place after Noah selected two of each of the animals for his Ark, and it goes like this.

    During the long weeks of the voyage, while waiting for the flood waters to subside, many of the animals got bored and a ‘liaison’ took place between a a naughty ape and a lioness.

    This mating resulted in the arrival of the first Siamese cat, who was said to have “the attributes of an ape and the bravery of a lion”.

    Of all the Siamese cat legends and stories, this is one I would most love to believe!

    Most Siamese cats can be said to have the mischievous nature of a monkey and definitely the bravery of a lion. Isn’t that so? While you’re considering this, here are some of the other popular Siamese cat legends.

    Common Cat Tail Injuries

    A cats tail is often inextricable from his personality, whether it is curled peacefully around him in repose or flicking impatiently as he waits for food. A cat’s tail has multiple functions, says Teri Skadron, doctor of veterinary medicine at Skadron Animal Hospital in West St. Paul, Minnesota. She notes that tails are used for balance, communication, to keep warm, and for self-expression.

    Because of these reasons, its important for pet owners to keep their cats tails free from injuries and infections. Thankfully, says Heather DiGiacomo, veterinarian and owner of Newtown Square Veterinary Hospital in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, tail injuries are relatively uncommon in cats. Outdoor cats are more at risk, she says, so keeping cats indoors can dramatically reduce the incidence of tail injuries.

    If you cant keep Felix from exploring the outdoors, its useful to be aware of the dangers. With the help of our experts, weve compiled a list of common cat tail injuries so you can best prevent and treat them, and keep that expressive appendage in optimal health.

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