Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
My 3-year-old cat has been chronically chewing her tail for two years. Initially the vet said the chewing was due to allergies and treated her with steroid injections. Now he says she has so much nerve damage in her tail she has little sensation, only tingling. He said the only option is to remove her tail, because she’ll continue to chew it due to the nerve damage. Please, do you have any other suggestions?
Siouxsie: Although tail chewing can be caused by allergies, this behavior can be a symptom of a few other conditions. Because of the chronic nature and the severity of your cat’s condition, we think you and your vet might look into the possibility of feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS).
Thomas: Hyperesthesia means “abnormally increased sensitivity of the skin.” FHS is more common in Oriental breed cats (Siamese, Abyssinian, and the like) and Oriental breed mixes.
Dahlia: FHS generally manifests itself in cats between the ages of 1 and 4 years.
Siouxsie: Some vets believe feline hyperesthesia syndrome may be a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder that begins as a reaction to stress and anxiety in the cat’s life.
Thomas: Others believe FHS is a form of seizure disorder because of the symptoms that precede an episode of self-mutilation including hallucinating, yowling, skin rippling, running and jumping, and muscle twitching.
Dahlia: Cats with FHS may show strange behaviors if touched, such as tail chasing or biting at the tail, flank and sides, to the point of self-directed aggression.
Siouxsie: FHS can cause extreme self-mutilation such as biting, licking, chewing, and plucking of the hair, primarily on the back and the tail.
Thomas: This illness is usually a “diagnosis of exclusion,” meaning that your vet has to rule out any other physical illnesses that could cause this behavior. These other illnesses include allergies, skin diseases or external parasites (some cats react very strongly to flea bites, for example), and internal problems like back pain, arthritis, spinal problems, muscle diseases, nutritional deficiencies (particularly the B vitamin thiamine, which is very important to a healthy nervous system), or problems with the thyroid, kidneys or liver.
Dahlia: We don’t know if your vet has tested for any of these other conditions or simply treated your cat’s tail chewing as allergies. If your kitty hasn’t been tested for these conditions, it might be a good idea to do so.
Siouxsie: In any case, because your cat’s tail is now so damaged that her nerve function is compromised, we do think the only viable treatment is to amputate the tail. If you don’t do this, she will continue to chew her tail, and the behavior may even increase because of the constant tingling sensations she feels.
Thomas: Cats generally recover and adapt very well to amputations. They don’t have the same kind of psychological issues humans do when they lose a limb. In fact, your cat will probably be quite relieved to be free of her pain and discomfort.
Dahlia: There are some breeds of cats that naturally have very short or nonexistent tails, such as the Japanese Bobtail and the Manx.
Siouxsie: Mama knows another cat that lost her tail due to an accident. She’s quite happy and doesn’t mind the absence of her tail at all.
Thomas: In any case, if your cat does have feline hyperesthesia syndrome, it’s possible that the behavior may continue even after the tail is removed.
Dahlia: If this is the case, your vet may choose to treat her symptoms with anti-anxiety drugs such as clomipramine or fluoxetine (Prozac). These medications can reduce the psychological triggers that cause self-mutilation behavior.
Siouxsie: If these medications don’t work, your vet may try anti-seizure drugs like phenobarbitol.
Thomas: The good news is that there are some things you can do at home to help minimize your cat’s self-mutilation. We recommend these steps even if your cat does stop self-mutilating after her tail has been amputated.
Dahlia: First, provide the highest-quality nutrition you can afford. Give her several small meals a day to reduce her food anxiety.
Siouxsie: Take some time each day to have a couple of really good aerobic play sessions with a feather wand or a “thing on a string” toy. Exercise can help to control depression and anxiety because of the endorphins released during exercise. It also helps your cat to use her natural hunting instincts so that they won’t be redirected toward parts of her body such as her tail.
Thomas: Make life more interesting for your cat by spending more quality time with her. Make her environment more cat-friendly by providing a three-dimensional environment with a variety of perches and maybe even a cat tree.
Dahlia: So, Lee, even though it looks as though your cat is going to need to have her tail amputated, we hope we’ve provided you with some ideas for helping her to enjoy her life even more once her condition is under control and she’s no longer feeling that constant discomfort fromher damaged tail. Please let us know how things turn out.
I felt compelled to write here because I too, am going through the nightmare you’ve described. I’d given up on the internet research before you posted this, and here I am today, researching again because I’m still going through it.
My cat was adopted from a local organization here in North Carolina, and he’ll be 2 years old (human years) come this March. He has a brother too, which we also adopted as they said they couldn’t be separated (and he was too adorable not to hehe). So we have 2 boys, and they’ve grown up together. I failed to neuter them early, ended up getting them neutered at 1 years old, right after their biggest fight. I don’t know exactly what happened but when I came home from work, they were both stand-offish, and when I had my back turned they were on each other fighting. Then one chased the other to the window, and I can’t remember if he fell or got bitten, or if it was just the stress of the fight, but ever since that day, he’s not been right. Ever since he was a kitten, he’s always been a bit compulsive on licking people and himself, especially when being petted, but never ever mutilated himself (until after him and his brother had the big fight). But ever since that fight, when he licks, he also gets so distressed, his back twitches and rolls, and he starts licking really frantically from his haunches to his tail, runs around like he’s running away from something or his tail, and sometimes he violently attacks his tail (biting, etc). One time, he even bit the tip of his tail clean off, and bone was exposed!!! This has been going on ever since that fight and we’ve been through 3 amputations, he now has about 2 inches of his tail left and he still has these “freak outs”. I have to leave an e-collar on him when I’m gone, and mostly when I’m home, because as soon as I take it off, he’s licking himself and it always evolves back to the frantic licking and attacking of his backside/tail. We’ve ruled out fleas, they’re strictly indoor cats, used flea medication/repellants. I’ve been doing a good regimen of playtime, lots of toys, etc to try to keep him stimulated and, when he’s in the middle of his “freak outs”, it’s impossible to distract him from doing so. I tried using some organic drops I bought from a local vet to “calm” him, 5 drops max for his weight & size, and they have no effect on him anymore. I do have a few tranquilizers left that the vet gave me but it’s heartbreaking to watch him when he’s been given a tranquilizer. My local vets cannot seem to help except to keep amputating and bandaging. The hair has grown back to his tail, some of it feels different than the rest though (more stiff like a porcupine). But I’m not sure if that’s even bothersome to him. His pupils are usually halfway (or more) dialated, unless he’s in a really bright area of the room. He’s never vocal while “freaking out” though. But his back does twitch and roll, he licks frantically at his sides, haunches and butt/tail, which eventually leads to attacking the tail, and frantically running & jumping around like he’s trying to escape or run away from something. Usually he’ll run to a windowsill and hide for awhile, sometimes it bothers him enough he’ll run back out of the window and the process repeats.
I also tried keeping little shirts made for dogs on him, it might have made a little difference in keeping him from freaking out, but not noticeable if there was any difference, and same results with the ecollar, although he freaks out more when he doesn’t have the shirt or ecollar on, might just be because he has no restrictions.
Sometimes when I take the ecollar off, he kinda looks like he’s trying to crawl back in it, kinda like he finds comfort in it, but maybe I’m wrong.
But to make a long story short, I’m at my wit’s end. I’m not sure if it’s affordable but I’m thinking about taking him to the vet for a full blood panel and exam to see if it’s a hyperthyroid (can’t feel any lumps in his neck though), although he used to have a lump right under his chin, under the tongue (but it has gone away). He also had a lump right above his shoulder blade, which I think has gone away too (dunno if it’s a cyst or what). He does seem to always be hungry, every time I go to the kitchen he’s at my feet wanting food. The last time the vet weighed him, (back in August I believe), he weighed about 10lbs.
I hate to see him on those tranquilizers, unable to move or anything, but I hate to see him suffer like this because I don’t know if he’s in pain, or if it’s an itch or what it is. I’ve run out of informational help and don’t know where else to turn to. Vets around here say they’ve never seen anything like this.
If you need anymore information, or if you have any information on what could be going on, or suggestions, please, please send me an email, anytime! I need all the help and resources I can find! I really do appreciate your time and feedback, and I’m really sorry this post is so long, hehe!
My email address is:
gurlandagun.at.gmail.com (just remove the periods and put in a @ symbol, I just typed it like that to protect my address from webcrawlers, hehe)
I don’t usually spend time on these threads, but felt compelled to respond to this one. We have a cat that has this problem with some remarkably similar circumstances. Our cat wasn’t neutered until after a year old because we were fostering him originally and his original owner had never taken the time to fix him. Sometime around when he was fixed – I think shortly after he had all healed up – he got outside (jumped THROUGH a screen) and got into a fight with another cat. After that, this whole thing started. We’ve had him on anti-seizure mess which kind of sort of holds the issue at bay, but it’s recently flared up and he’s mutilated his tail even with an e-collar on. We’re kind of at our wit’s end. We may amputate the tail. I’m honestly not sure if we can afford to continue to care for this cat. Poor guy has also become ravenously hungry and gained a bunch of weight since this started. I’m not sure if it’s the medicine he’s on, the general feeling crappy and not always wanting to do stuff, or increased time with an e-collar on.
I am dealing with an almost identical situation with a two year old male cat. He was abandoned by his first family when he was 7 months old. I adopted him when he was one. About a month after he moved in with me and my older cat, he began this tail mutilation. He was on Clomipramine initially and did okay for awhile. I adopted another male kitten after I had this boy for 5 months. They were inseperable. Then I adopted an 8 month old female. The other boy now plays mostly with her. I did notice that his mutilating behavior escalated after her arrival. Then the Clomipramine stopped working so we tried ellavil which had no effect whatsoever and the same with prozac. Now we are trying Gabapentine (an anti-seizure medication). If this doesn’t work, then I believe amputation is the only viable option. I am really dismayed though to hear that amputation may not resolve the problem. I am about at wits end as well. He has been tested for allergies, etc and nothing significant was noted. I feel so bad for him and I hate having the collar on him all the time. Even with the collar, he still can get to the tip of his tail. I am open to suggestions and feedback as well. Thank you.
I have perfect sympathy for everything I have read here. Our 2 year old beauty is going through a living hell.
He started chasing his tail about four months ago. At first we thought this was cute. Currently however, he has about six to ten bad episodes every day. The worst episodes involve him freaking out so bad that he bites down, and locks on to his tail. He holds onto his tail for about ten seconds, the whole time, screaming worse than you can imagine. We’ve seeked veterinary advice several times, but things are looking bleak. It is without a doubt looking like FHS, brought on by obsessive/compulsive disorder.
We have tried the most expensive grain free high protein food, so as to rule out food allergies. We have tried more attention and stimulation. Organic calming drops don’t really have an effect. Tail amputation doesn’t seem to be a solution. Other people have reported that their cats simply turned their fit on their hind quarters or legs. When he has these episodes, his pupils become dilated and he runs from one end of the house to the other.
It hurts us so much to see him go through this trauma. We are considering euthanasia, but we aren’t giving up hope yet.
If anyone has any similar experiences or advice, we are open to any ideas. This is truly a heartbreaking affliction.
Hi I’am totally feel ya my 6year old recently get hit by a car and we had to have surgery because the broken jaw but 2 week later I’ noticed he’s tail tip curved and lost the fur and he chew on the tail constantly until bleed I’ freaked out because I’ had problem to feed him now this ,the VET recommend to amputating the tail but before I’ was able to bring him back the tail just fell off and now he is missing the tip about 1.5 inch
now I’ have a new problem the wound is not healing I’ get antibiotics and pain med but he wont leave the tail alone I’ try to put the collar on him he tear it off I’ try to put a bandage on it he licks it until is bloody again I’am running out of ideas the VET can’t help me except giving me medication which I’ don’t want to give him anymore because he is constantly high on morphine is not good for him.I’ see how peoples deal with opiate withdraw that is not pretty so I’ can even imagine if an animal have to deal with such a horrible psychical addiction any advice would be appriciated
One of our cats does this but not very often. I would say about three or four times a year she is all bloddy on the tip and it seems as if she is the one doing the damage.
Just wanted to send an update. I took my cat to a holistic vet for acupuncture but when he shaved the tail to examine, he fould a long scar running down most of the tail indicating that there had been some type of physical trauma. He opted to amputate the damaged part (most of the tail) and then treat with floral essences to keep him calm. The surgery was done a month ago and thus far he has made no attempts to go after his “nub” or other parts of his body. He is so much happier…plays with toys and with the other cats. This vets wife is a floral essence practitioner and made-up three different calming combinations. Two he takes orally twice a day and the other gets rubbed into his ears and face area four times a day. As I said, so far so good. He’s much calmer and much happier.
this website has been a God-send. I didn’t know what to do with our cat. I adopted this neighborhood stray and loved that she was so vocal and friendly. At first we thought her tail chasing and spazy behavior were funny. Now it has turned into a violent tail chase and utter paranoia. I’ve seen blood all over bedding and stairways from her chewed up tail. The kitty prozac is our last resort and I hope for the best. Thank you for all your input.
I’m going through the exact same thing you are, Amanda.
Two years ago (Spring of 2007) I woke up one morning to find a massacre all over my apartment. Blood everywhere! The vet figured my cat, Emma, had bitten Chloe, our other cat’s tail. I took her in to the emergency vet and they sewed her tail up and put her on antibiotics.
Well, the next day, she manged to get her cone off while I was at work, and I came home to another massacre scene. She had chewed her tail to the bone, and had to have 2 inches of it amputated as a result.
I thought that was the end of it. She still had a bit of a tail, but it just wasn’t as long as before. She would still have those twitchy moments where it seemed like she thought something was chasing her, and she would frantically bite/lick at her tail and sides. Very strange, I thought, but I never mentioned it to the vet.
Fast forward to recently, May of 2009, and Chloe, the cat with the amputated tail, was getting pretty fat and had a few mats on her fur at the back of her body. So I took her to the groomer to get shaved, and everything seemed ok. 2 days later, she emerged from her hiding spot in the storage room with a bleeding tip of the tail. I’m not sure if she had bitten her own tail, or if our other cat had gotten at it, but off we went to emergency again.
They sewed it up, banadged it, and sent me home with more medication. She seemed fine, but would still have urges to go at her tail again (she couldnt’ get it with the cone on, thankfully!)
One day I came home to find her hiding in my closet, and she had somehow managed to get the bandage off her tail, tearing a chunk of skin off in the process.
Back to the vet we went, where he mentioned she might have a form of kitty OCD when it came to her tail, and that might be the cause of her twitching and frantic biting/licking. So we tried to put her on Clomicalm as well, but she turned into a WAY different cat! She would hide with her face to the wall ALL day, and she just seemed depressed and like she hated her life.
We went away for 4 days, and when we got back (last night) we changed the bandages on her tail to find that there was another large gash further up from the originally open tip area. I took her to the vet this morning first thing, and we opted to have her tail amputated.
I just got a call from the vet to say the surgery went well, and that I can pick her up later. I’m crossing my fingers that this is it for the tail saga! I’m going to try to keep her off of any psychodrugs, as I don’t like to see her so ‘doped’ up…
I’m glad to hear someone else in this world has gone through a similar situation. Good luck with yours! I’Ll keep you posted on the progress with my kitty!
My cat it doing the same thing. Totally psycotic behavior. My major issue with this is that she has 4week old kittens and I am concerned about them too. The mother cat has always been a little strange, but never selfmutilating. Does any one have a sugestion(besides seeing a vet, because it seems like there is no real effective treatment to this problem.) Thank you!
My poor cat Muffin has been going through the worst that everyone here has decribed. It started about 6 months ago. He acts like he is possessed, chasing his tail like it is the devil. He bites it, hisses at it screams at the top of his lungs and his tail is a mess. I have tried Gabapentin and Phonabarbitol. He is worse than ever. Excessive Licking, biting hissing and chasing his tail for hours every night. I took him back to the Vet this morning and she told me the only solution was to amputate his tail. I scheduled the surgery for Monday but I feel just awful doing it but his tail is a mess.
Why does this happen? I have had cats all of my life and I have never heard of this.
I just don’t know what to do and if this doesn’t work, I don’t know what I will do. Muffin is so beautiful and sweet. Say a prayer for the little guy please.
I have just read all these posts. I have been going thru the same thing with one of my cats who has had her tail amputated twice. Had her on prozac which just made her so wierd she was like feral. Im flabergasted about all this going on this year. There has to be someting going on with the cat food. How can so many of our cats being going thru the same thing?
My cat is back at attacking her tail and its raw again, she is misrable, Im thinking its a nerve thing that just wont let her be, and may have to put her down. Although Its hard to make that decision. I love her so much.
My vet said she doesnt know of anything else to do for her.
I’m writing from Sweden, (pardon my english)
I am having the same problem as all of you are.. Me and my boyfriend lives in an apartment in the city but we take our cat with us when we leave for our house out in the country, to his parents and my brothers house so she is used to be outside as well and always comes back inside.
One day we left her outside at our house and we went to see some friends over the day. When we came back her tail was hangning down and she was in pain. We went to the vet. she didn’t have any bitemarks but they gave us cortisone and antibiotics and soon her tail was up again and working fine. Soon after she got well her back started rippling and her tail was going fast from one side to the other and she started to chase, bit, hiss and growl at it. We put an e-collar on so it would be harder for her to reach it. We had her outside at my brothers house mon-fri and home with us on the week-ends. We are not sure but when she was outside we think she had so much going on so she got distracted and didn’t chase her tail but as soon as she went inside to eat or sleep it started again. It was at its worst when she was laying down cause she would see her tail and the chase began. Things got worse and she started to chase her tail even when the e-collar was on and she scratched, bit a wound on her tail. It was hard to leave her alone and we could tell she was both in fysical and mental pain as she would lay on her chest and stare apathetic out in the air and her tail would swift frenetic! We decided to amputate her tail, a week ago, now she got 2″ left and she is on morphine. She got a patch on her arm, it lasts for 3 days but we have been forced to renew it 2 times cause as soon as it ends her pain is too much and the chase begins again…. The vet. gave her an x-ray of her spine and tail. But they couldn’t see anything.We have tried acupuncture 2 times and some kind of relaxing vitamins but it didnt work.. We are desperate! We’re going to take the stitches out friday and after that we can take her outside agian and hopefully there will be an improvement. On monday we’re going to the vet. again to start a complete fysical exam, bloodtest and so on. In Sweden this seems to be an unexplored subject! Nobody knows anything!!!! Yet I have read on english, american web pages about this problem. Next step is a magnetic x-ray to see if there is something wrong with her nerves. We have changed her food to allergy management and bought a felliway adapter. We knew it wouldn’t help to only amputate her tail or has that helped for any one of you? I belive there is some kind of nerve damage combind with some kind og Obsessive compulsive disorder….. I would really like to know how things are going for you now. I really feel for all of you! I want to find the sollution to this problem!
I have read all these and many accounts so heartbreakingly, frustratingly similar to what’s going on with my orange tabby. But we think his problem is constipation. The vet thinks he is associating the pain in his gut with his tail. I have been researching FHS and wonder if constipation could be a cause. At this point, I plan to administer the meds to soften stool and the amitryptiline as indicated and hope he calms down before he hurts himself again. This page was a good resource, and it’s comforting to know others are dealing with this thru therapies or surgeries. Thank you all for your contributions.
An update.. Billies blood test came back normal.. and the vet. told us to try phenobarbitol. He suspected some kind of Epilepsy. Before we tried phenobarbitol we found a cat expert and she thought Billie suffers from a nerve damage in combination with stress and pain from it.. So now she is on temgesic (buprenorfin) 0,3mg/ml and we started on 0.13 ml 2 times a day for one week and now 0.1 ml 2 times a day, it is for her pain, metacam (meloxikam) 0.5 mg/ml 1 time/day based on her wieght which is also for her pain and klomipramin mylan 10 mg (klomipraminhydroklorid) 1/4 of one pill 2 times a day for stress.. she sleeps alot and does not use her toilet as often.. but she is still very hungry! :) and so far it is hard to see if the medicin works.. i try to activate her when she is awake with play and “clicker” training and we are making progress! :) I try to use it when her bad behavior starts when she tries to hit her “tail” i say no and when she looks up and ignores the twitching I click and give her food. If she hadn’t hurt her tail from the begining, we probobly would have suspected epilepsy… so maybe this is something for other people who have a similar problem to look up.. also constipation..
When she gets of Temgesic I will try to let her outside but I know I will be nervous… still I think that could be an important part of her recovery. Good luck everyone! Again, excuse my english..
Try phenobarbital. Our cat was biting his tail. We separated him from other cats that were bullying him. He stopped biting his tail, but still has “fits” of growling and chasing his tail for no apparent reason. A veterinary expert said he has “psychomotor epilepsy” in other words a type of seizure disorder. Sometimes the skin ripples on his back near the tail, or he jumps as if startled by a sensation there. Now that he’s getting phenobarbital daily, his fits are milder and less frequent, and if we stop giving the drug, he has more fits and they are more intense. The drug caused him to be drowsy at first, but not now. The vet tells us that the risks of phenobarbital are fairly low, for example it’s unlikely to cause liver damage.
I hope this helps.
Thank you for writing and for telling your story… My cat has had 2 bad days now and I’m starting to think phenobarbital is the sulotion.. I
Peace to all of the kitties who are going through this. It really is heartbreaking. My cat Poindexter has the same problem – viciously attacking and biting his tail.. it’s just horrible. I don’t know what to do and the vet didn’t have any good suggestions. Poindexter eats human grade quality cat food, has no fleas and has plenty of toys. We try to play with him a LOT to keep his mind off of his tail… but when we stop, he attacks it violently. It’s horribly sad. Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories and offering suggestions. I hope everyone’s kitties feel better soon. I wish I had some good advice to give =(
All of this makes me very sad. Our cat Jasper is going through the same thing. We had to take him to the vet about 3 weeks ago to get about an inch of his tail amputated. It started all of a sudden. Like all of you, he would chase his tail and run from himself, and it did seem OK. It seemed OK because we have another male cat that does the same thing, except George has never bitten his tail. But he gets that twitchy back thing going, then runs.
Like you all say, Jasper’s eyes get dialated, he seems off in another world and cannot be distracted from it. We have another cat named JJ (girl) who has had stomach issues and we think we finally found the right highly nutritious food to take care of her problems….and that seems a common denominator here too. Wonder if it is something in that food (as Cindy suggests) that is causing our cats to get crazy. Jasper never acted this extreme before with the other food. Or, it appears we all have cats that are about 2 years old….maybe this hits them at that age.
All I know is I agree, amputation of the tail will not solve this. And God Bless Amanda with the three amputations. We are only going to amputate twice…the first time we did it and the rest of the tail if/when he does it again. I cannot afford the money or the agony of seeing him in that stupid collar all the time.
All of this just breaks my heart. And like most of you, my vet has never heard of this behavior. I am going to print out this and hand it to her and tell her to start looking it up herself and figure it out. Using drugs does not sound like an option – sounds worse than the collar.
All we all seem to have left is prayer.
just wanted to mention that my cat also chews her tail (tho not enough to cause bleeding or any other serious damage, thank god – just some hair loss), but the cause of her chewing is blocked anal glands, which we have to get cleaned out at the vet pretty regularly. that keeps her from getting too crazy over her tail.
My cat started chewing her tail about six months ago. I tried everything I could find on the internet and took her to the vet. Nothing worked. It has just gotten worse and worse with time. I finally found a solution that has worked for my cat. Masking tape. I use a small piece wrapped around the end of her tail. My vet said it will not hurt her tail. If I remove the tape she will be at it again with a revenge.
I’ve worked for a vet and been running a kennel for cats only over the past 7 years. I’ve had multiple cats my whole life and have only experienced w/my one (of 8) cats. He’s always been sensitive and also has the Feline Herpes Virus. He’s all white, doesn’t go out (no fleas), and has no allergies. He’s chased his tail since he was a kitten but only in the past few months at age 13 has he started to bite it. I experience the same frustration and mess from it bleeding as everyone else here. Usually it comes and goes and he’ll only mutilate it once every month or so. But tonight I lost my patience and gave him a half a valium (1 mg) leftover from a cat that has epilepsy. So far this has seemed to calm him down and not knock him out. I’m not a vet but I do know cats and my boy has some mental issues. I do not want to have to amputate his tail at his age yet I fear infection. Not to mention the white down comforter he just ruined by bleeding all over! (Anything I own is replaceable except my pets <3)
I have a lot to submit, but it’s not working…I may have to break it up into a few posts…we will see if it will let me post the following as a test…
I can totally sympathize with you all! My cat started doing this about 2 months ago as well. I have a lot of advice below. I am not a vet, but from my experiences with my pets, I have become very educated on many areas of nutrition, health, and alternative therapies for myself and my pets.
A little background on my cat and I so we can all see if there are any similarities here and try to solve this mystery: we live in Southern California, my cat is: male, neutered, just turned 3, I was told he was an orphan/abandoned when I adopted him, he is indoors-only, he looks to maybe be a Linx-Point Siamese mix and is mostly white with grey and tan markings. He has always had some weird behaviors, which I attribute to maybe being an orphan: not knowing how to bury his business in the litter box, drooling when kneading on the bed at night, sometimes his paws/legs randomly twitch, etc. He is still very kittenish and baby-like, even at 3 years old. In the past he has also had itchy issues, and possible allergic reactions to flea bites: he has licked several bald spots on his back legs. I am not sure if this was due to a flea bite, a food allergy or some other allergy or is behavioral/stress-related. He has not done this since he has been on raw food though. He is the sweetest cat though and very easy-going and almost dog-like at times. I also have 1 other cat and a dog, but there are no new animals in the household…I got my dog almost 2 years ago. They all get along fine. All my pets eat raw food, I also add: an antioxidant supplement, omega 3 oils like salmon and cod liver oil, and colostrum. No medications are taken by them, only Chinese herbs from the holistic vet and homeopathics if needed. They no longer get vaccines. I avoid all flea pesticides, but instead I flea comb the cats daily, bathe my dog weekly with Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap, put food-grade diatomeaceous earth in the carpets to kill the fleas (see below), add garlic to my dog’s food (not the cats though…it can be harmful to them!!! Also, educate yourself on this for dogs…be careful with the amount of garlic!), use Feliway to create a calming environment in the house, etc. Overall, they are all in great shape, and extremely healthy otherwise.
From my past experiences with this cat, as well as my other cat and my dog (all adopted), I have become more and more wary of traditional vets. I am not against them, I just feel like we have to be the advocates for our pets and act in their best interests at all times; they are depending on us! They cannot talk, and we should ask our vets or anyone recommending anything for them tons of questions to make sure we are clear on any side effects, etc. We also need to educate ourselves very well on nutrition and other alternative therapies for our pets. As I can tell from the previous posts, most traditional vets have very little to offer: surgery and drugs? Really? There are soooo many other options and possibilities! I think everyone should go and see a holistic vet and also find a healthy pet shop in your area that can offer you advice. Read books and read online, talk to as many people as possible, go to seminars…just get educated so you can make your own decisions! Get all of this information, ask questions, be skeptical, then make up your own mind about what makes the most sense for your pets…after all, you know them the best! See below for more of my experiences and research into this and what I have found thus far concerning the obsessive tail-biting and chasing:
I came home one night after work to the same thing: bloody and chewed up tail tip and acting agitated. His tail was hanging there all limp. He was attacking it and letting out fierce sounds as if it was not a part of him, and also running and leaping away from it.
At first, after researching online, I thought this was Feline Hyperthesia Syndrome. I took him to my regular vet the next day, and they did not have much to offer, as I also notice in the other posts. They just said to put him on advantage, because he had a few fleas and some flea poop on him and seemed itchy. I try to avoid pesticides at all costs, and also cortisone shots…they suppress the immune system, and before I was educated about many of these things, I allowed him to get one since he had previously been licking bald spots on his inner thighs. After this shot (1 single shot), he developed an abscess that would not respond to antibiotics and he had to have surgery to have it removed! This was at 1 1/2 years old! I highly caution against any types of injections, especially recurring ones like the cortisone or steroid shots that vets often recommend for allergies. This vet also told me that routine cortisone shots have been PROVEN to cause diabetes in cats! I now go to my holistic vet first with all my questions, but still take everything in and still ultimately have to make my own decisions for my pets.
Anyway, after meeting with my holistic vet and after much discussion, he didn’t think that Hyperthesia was the case (he has seen some very severe cases of hyperthesia, and my cat was not showing all the signs). He put him on some natural Chinese herbs for itching and craziness and also to calm him, so we started there. I also had to make him wear a cone while I was at work all day (this is the best one I have found: http://www.amazon.com/Comfy-Cone-PetE-Collar-Small-Tan/dp/B002MVURV2).
In the last 2 months I have read and researched and talked to sooo many different people: 4 holistic vets, 2 animal chiropractors, nutritionists, energy healers, healthy pet store owners, other pet owners, regular vets, the owner of Pet Essences, etc! Here is what I have found that has worked the best, plus other options I have heard of (I have been told that there are many options that may help with this, but no easy answers…it is a process and we all need to be very patient…the body needs time to heal itself). The below suggestions are in the order of what I think has helped my cat the most:
(1) It is a bit stressful for them, but please make them wear a cone so their tails can heal! This is the most comfortable and the one that my cat minded the least: http://www.amazon.com/Comfy-Cone-PetE-Collar-Small-Tan/dp/B002MVURV2
(2) Go see a holistic vet!!! They are aware of MANY more options and can help guide you in the right direction for your individual cat: nutrition, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, Reiki, Ttouch, energy clearings, homeopathics, flower essences, etc etc etc!!! Check here: http://www.holisticvetlist.com/
(3) Chiropractic: find an animal chiropractor! I went to this website (http://healthypets.mercola.com/), which is the best thing ever, and posted a question for Dr. Karen Becker (a holistic vet) about feline hyperthesia, and she responded that she has seen many cases of this and chiropractic is the most consistent cure. This website is great: read all the other comments people have posted and also the articles. The animal chiropractor I now see is the best!!! She has also treated other cats with hyperthesia (although I am still not certain this is what he has), but still, she is great! I have seen a lot of improvement in him from the 4 treatments he has had! Make sure you find an animal chiropractor though, not just a people chiropractor. Check out this website: http://www.avcadoctors.com/.
(4) Pet Essences (or Bach Flower essences): since the tail biting and chasing issues most likely have some sort of emotional/stress-related/anxiety-related component, these are very helpful! I first tried creating my own Bach Flower remedy specific to my cat, but did not see any results. I would try Pet Essences instead: http://www.petessences.com/. You can call and talk to the owner Polly too; she is very helpful! There are no side effects.
(5) Deal with the flea issue: while many of you have said that you find no fleas on your pets, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t being bothered by them. Fleas can jump on and bite, then jump off. Many animals are highly allergic to them. Treat your house with diatomaceous earth and vacuum A LOT! Check here for tips: http://wolfcreekranch1.tripod.com/defaq.html. Try to avoid pesticides on the pets…they weaken the immune system and many pets have bad reactions. But, sometimes they are necessary if there is a bad infestation. Try Capstar first, which works for 24 hours to kill all fleas on the pet. Look on Dr. Blake’s site for flea and diatomaceous earth tips too, among lots of other great advice: http://www.thepetwhisperer.com/. Also, try these: http://www.shootag.com. I am trying them now, and am skeptical still, but have heard GREAT things! Also, if it’s more of an itchy skin/allergy issue, try adding some cod liver oil (Carlson’s or Nordic Naturals are the best) or wild salmon oil to their food. I am also currently trying pure aloe vera juice, but it has to be very pure and unprocessed and can cause diarrhea. I am starting with 1-2 mL, and am increasing to 5mL per day slowly. I will let you all know if this helps with the itchiness.
(6) Homeopathics: such as arsenicum album (for itching and crazy grooming behavior), arnica (for pain if they have bitten their tail), hypericum (for nerve pain). You can get a 1oz glass dropper bottle and add 1oz of spring water and 1 capful of the homeopathic 30c pellets (try Boiron). Let them dissolve, then give the pet like 1/4-1/2 dropper full. There are really no side effects to worry about. Another homeopathic remedy that was recommended to me, but that I have not yet tried is: neuro HEEL (by HEEL).
(7) Try Feliway ComfortZone products, such as the room diffusers or the calming collars: http://www.amazon.com/Farnam-Comfort-Diffuser-Feliway-Milliliters/dp/B000FH708I, http://www.amazon.com/Sentry-Behavior-Pheromone-Collar-15-Inch/dp/B0026JAKWG/ref=pd_sim_k_7. I have both, and I actually think that the calming collar has helped him a lot as well.
(8) Realize that this could be a behavioral/stress issue: if they are indoor-only cats, they may need more stimulation and play. Give them lots of high places to climb, and lots of window perches: http://www.amazon.com/Firstrax-Noztonoz-DWP-100-Deluxe-Assorted/dp/B000634JP8. If you have an upstairs balcony, make it safe for them to go out on, and get some planters and plant wheat or oat grass seeds, and put some other cat-safe plants out there: palms, jasmine, etc. Check here: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/. It’s important for them to have sunlight and natural vitamin D, and also get fresh air, etc. Also, they could be stressed from a change in the household: new pets or babies, a move, an owner working longer hours (in my case this may also be a part of it), or a stressed out or upset owner or arguing/fighting going on in the household…cats are very emotional beings (much more so than dogs) and can be like sponges at times, soaking up their owners’ feelings.
(9) Reiki and TTouch: I have taken seminars and classes on both of these and have obtained my level 1 attunement for Reiki. I practiced these techniques on him, and could see a noticeable difference immediately: he became very calm and was able to sleep for part of the night without the cone collar on.
(10) A friend of mine performed a distance energy clearing on him. This is also new to me, but I would like to believe that it can work and help.
These are other things that may help, but don’t do everything at once…it may be too much for your pet to handle and stress them out more, but these can be future goals:
-NAET evaluation: I am going to try this in a few weeks: http://www.cchvs.com/index_files/Page8726.html. I am very intrigued by it, but have not tried it before, so I am not sure how it all works. But this is yet another option to determine if there are any allergies or irritations present, and it can be done over the phone! I know it may sound a little crazy, but it’s important for us to keep an open mind and be open to try new things, especially if they are not harmful! This evaluation was recommended to me by a family friend who is a holistic vet, and I trust her. It’s worth a try!
-Look into switching to raw food, or at the least wet/canned food. Please do not feed dry food! I have seen first hand what a dramatic healing difference that raw food can make! Read this website: http://www.catinfo.org. Please read these books: http://www.amazon.com/Food-Pets-Die-Shocking-Facts/dp/0939165317, http://www.amazon.com/Food-Pets-Die-Shocking-Facts/dp/0939165317. Try Tigertail or Rad Cat if you can find them. And be patient…do the switch slowly over a few months.
-I have heard of dogs chasing their tails as a result of an allergy to chicken, so this may be something to look into. I have been told from a few different people that chicken and lamb are considered “hot/warming meats” in Chinese medicine. For issues like the tail chasing and biting, these meats would be best avoided, since the tail biting in an aggregated and irritated issue. Cooling meats would be better: turkey, and fish, although too much fish can also be an issue so be careful, and also certain fish should not be fed raw :(
-Adding in supplements, omega 3 oils, colostrum, etc.
-Decreasing medications and vaccines, so the immune system can be boosted
-Educate yourself on green cleaning products and avoid any toxic products or fumes in the household (get rid of those awful air fresheners and plug ins etc) and use non-toxic cleaners. Also, learn about the ingredients in any pet care products you use: shampoos, ear and eye drops, etc…be very careful of harmful ingredients. Also in products for yourself. Ger educated!
More books and resources:
-This is an EXCELLENT book which discusses many of the alternative therapies I have mentioned above: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1592535666/?tag=ricksphotograpag1-20
-Great reference book: http://www.amazon.com/Pitcairns-Complete-Guide-Natural-Health/dp/0875962432
-This is a great website with lots of natural products that may help with itchiness and allergies, which could also be part of the issues:
-Lots of books on Bach flowers for pets: http://www.bachflowerbooks.com/animals.htm
-Other great websites:
At this point, I am able to leave the cone off. He is still having intermittent episodes of snapping in the air at or near his tail and sometimes he chews on it and it is still missing hair on the tip from him chewing, but no bleeding. I have seen a big improvement in his calmness and well-being, which I attribute mostly to: the chiropractic adjustments, pet essences, possibly the Chinese herbs he is on and some of the homeopathics, possibly the ComfortZone calming collar, and being diligent about the fleas, which I still find on him once in awhile though. I am in the process of trying the pure aloe vera juice, increasing the cod liver oil, adding more Pet Essences, trying the shootag, and will try the NAET evaluation in a few weeks.
Everyone: please hang in there and stay strong for your cats. Try not to show your stress around them. Please look into some of the above options and please come back and update us all. I believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel…don’t give up! I am determined to find a solution to this!
I have a two and a half year old black and white shorthair who has eaten the tip of her tail off. I took her to the vet two weeks ago because of her crazy tail-chewing behavior and I suspected allergies, and sure enough, the vet agreed that allergies were the likely cause, so we bandaged her tail, gave her a shot of cortisone, put her on antibiotics to stave off potential infection, and changed her food. She is an indoor only cat and doesn’t have fleas or mites. The only other health issue she’s had prior to the tail thing, which has been going on for about three months, was a horrible case of gingivitis that warranted the extraction of ALL of her back teeth. The only teeth she has left are her front top and bottom teeth. Anyhow, I’m at my wits end with this cat. She’s CRAZY. Her eyes get all crazy wide and her pupils dilate and she hisses and freaks out. If I go to pet her, though, she’s usually all purrs. I tried to take the cone off her neck because after aa few days I thought she might be better, but it only took four minutes for her to run off, pull the bandage off, and streak blood all over the carpet behind the couch. If there isn’t a simple fix for this, I’m afraid I will have to put her down. We have her sister/littermate, whom we adopted at the same time from a rescue and she is just fine. I’d pay to have her tail amputated if I thought it would help, but it seems like a much deeper issue than that.
Thanks everyone for taking the time to help one another. My kitty Jake was adopted from the local newspaper and almost from the moment I got him he started chasing his tail, he’d flip of the couch and spin in circles, seemingly for no reason. Jump ahead a few months and he’s torn his tail to the bone at the tip. He can also bite it with the collar on so even that doesn’t help. The vet wanted to amputate it but I figured he’d just attack the stump. For the past 2 months I’ve been taping up his tail with cream and bandages then duck tape. When this is on him he’s a happy normal cat, although he still chews at the bandage, but doesn’t manage to remove it. I tried removing the bandage as his tail had healed up nicely and regrown hair, but within an hour it was a bloody mess. He just hates his tail when he spots it. He does not quiver in the rear or show any other strange behaviour as some of the cats listed above. And when he’s taped up he’s wonderful and not in any obvious pain. I can’t keep his tail duck taped for ever so I’d appreciate any advice.
Thanks for reading from me and Jake.
Simon, I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this, too! I’ve had my kitty in a collar for almost a month now, only taking it off every couple of days for several minutes so she can groom herself. It’s the best I can do with two little kids at home. Even in that few minutes while I am supervising her, she goes after her tail.
I can’t afford the gazillion tests that the vet is going to want to do to “rule out” every little thing it could possibly be and to try every medication that “might” help her mental illness. She’s already had her blood tested, she doesn’t have fleas or mites, and was given a cortisone shot because the vet thought it was allergies, but I am convinced it’s psychological. I cannot afford to try a bunch of meds with her that she would potentially have to be on for the rest of her life. She’s only two years old and I have human babies to take care of so chasing down a cat every day to shove a pill down its throat is not something I am willing to do.
What would you do? Put the cat down or give it up to a shelter?
My cat also has this issue, and just turned 3.
Allison, I am sorry to hear that you are considering putting your cat down or giving it to a shelter :( This is why so many pets end up in the shelters, because people get frustrated and just give up and don’t want to deal with it…very heartbreaking. When you make the decision to get a pet you are taking on the responsibility of taking care of them…you must be prepared for things to come up, and you can’t just give up on them. I would urge you to hang in there for your cat…unlike humans, who can help themselves, she is depending on you to help her solve this issue.
I posted a ton of advice above a few weeks ago, and for some reason it still says “awaiting moderation,” so I am thinking that you guys cannot see all of this yet? This is a bummer, because there is a lot of good info that may quite possibilty help many of you…hopefully the moderators of this site will get on the ball ASAP!
I would suggest finding an animal chiropractor near you. I take my cat to one (I am in Southern CA) who has seen other cats with similar issues, but much more severe (feline hyperthesia disorder). She has helped them to overcome this. Sometimes they could have actually damaged their tail, or something else in their body could be out of alignment, which can create all sorts of issues.
I also would consider that even though you cannot find any fleas on her, there still may be fleas or other bugs in the house that are jumping on and biting and irritating her. Flea comb her daily, and maybe try a product on Pestigator.com called Dr Ben’s Paws and Claws Treatment spray. It has helped all my pets a lot. They don’t like the smell, and I usually spray it on my hands for the cats and rub and comb it in, and do this a few times a week. It is supposedly 100% safe for them and for us, and kills the fleas instantly when they touch it, so hopefully before they can bite. Plus it is supposed to kill any larva or eggs on them as well, and deter the fleas from wanting to jump on in the first place. Even they don’t like the smell, I figure it’s a safer alternative than Frontline or Advantage, and also less stressful than trying to bathe them. Another product I am trying is the Tic Clip, which I purchased on onlynaturalpet.com.
Also, for allergies, I would encourage everyone to check this out (for your pets AND yourself): ETA and NAET testing, http://www.cchvs.com/. I realize that it may seem strange and unexplainable, but try to be open-minded…this stuff is based on quantum physics and science, and just like gravity or magnets, even though we do not fully understand how they work, they can.
Beleive me, I totally understand how hard it is to watch this everyday, but please do not give up; there is something out there that will help each of our cats.
Just started having this problem with a stray that showed up about 2 months ago. I had noticed a scab on the tip of his tail. He is definitely a Oriental breed cats (Siamese, Abyssinian, and the like) and Oriental breed mixes of some type, (white, blue eyed, slight orange tiger on head, tail, feet ears). We noticed about 2 weeks ago while he was lying across the back of a chair that he was growling and attacking his tail and then the same behavior on the floor, but not to the extent of the past 2 days which is just screaming biting blood everywhere. I put him the shower stall with sliding glass door and turned off the light to calm him but a couple of times during the night he was howling and attacking. It looks like PSYCHO movie in there now. After reading all the solutions to this problem, I am going to have him put down at the vet tomorrow. It seems a kindness to him as he is so INSANE it is scary. I believe this is why he was a stray, his previous owners must have dropped him off. He is uneutered, has no problems with constipation, eats well, has has been very affectionate and sweet. I thought maybe he had rabies but after reading these posts I believe he has that feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS). I just don’t see a good quality of life outcome with him. Just my opinion and I appreciate knowing that this is an actual syndrome, not just some random case. Thank you again and good luck with your kitties…
Update on the cat. My husband’s daughter gave the cat some Rescue Me (2 drops) and he calmed down immediately. She also dosed him up with mega vitamins and they bound up his tail with vet gauze and duct tape. He has been fine since. She says that when the tail touches anything it is like an electric shock through his system and he attacks it to get rid of pain. We are going to leave the bandage on till Tuesday then change it out and see how he does. She says GNC has the Rescue remedy. We will get some and hope for the best. He really is a nice cat otherwise…
Kathy: I am sooo happy to hear this! Thank you so much for not just giving up on him like the previous owners did. Please hang in there. Be patient and realize that the body needs time to heal itself. Yeah, the vet can administer steroid shots, but is that really solving anything…no. It seems that you have found a great Vet though that is willing to think outside the box and try other things besides recommending prozac or amputation!
Rescue Remedy can be found at most health food stores (Whole Foods, Henry’s, etc and online). You can also check out the Bach Flower website: http://www.bachflower.com/Pets.htm (Cherry Plum is an individual remedy that seems like it may be very helpful as well). Cats respond very well to flower essences.
Also, for those of you that said you would not proceed with any treatment due to the cost, please check this out:
An update on my cat: we are proceeding with the ETA and NAET evaluations, which are going great! These treatments are done remotely, so can benefit anyone (pet or human), all over the world! I highly encourage everyone to call or email the vet (Dr. Brooks) and ask any questions you may have (http://www.cchvs.com/)! He is great! I suspect that every cat exhibiting this behavior has an allergy of some sort (it could be one tiny ingredient in their food or environment, even flea saliva!). My friend’s dog was doing the tail biting as well, and they found out he was allergic to chicken. As soon as they stopped feeding him chicken, the tail biting stopped.
Please see some of my previous posts above for lots of recomendations. I suggest that everyone find an animal chiropractor asap…this is helping my cat tremendously! Also the cedar oil spray (see previous post) seems to help a lot as well. I use it a few times a week (he hates the smell), but I spray it on my hands then work it into the fur and comb it in. He doesn’t like it, but then he lays down and is relaxed…I think it is very soothing to any irritated spots, plus deters and kills any fleas, and is all natural.
I also have been using these 2 products as well and think they are great:
Above all, again, please be patient, stay strong for your cats, and keep a positive attitude. Try not to be stressed out around them…they are very sensitive.
I’m glad I found this site, however, my story seems to have a slight variance. My kitty King Tut is 8.5 years old and is a domestic long hair (I have no clue what kitty mix he is). When he was about 2.5 years he started developing really severe allergies that my vet attributed to fleas. We live on the water but somehow we landed with a horrible flea problem that goes through spurts.
I have done both chemical and natural remedies to no avail and trust me, I’ve had a LOT of pets of all species and I do know my fleas. I can say for sure this is the most difficult problem I’ve ever dealt with. My vet recommended Frontline due to the fact that while it is a chemical, it is not absorbed into the skin/bloodstream (from what I’ve been told). As long as I keep that on him on an every 3 week basis that seems to help.
Onto the actual story… So I found the flea allergy due to Tut’s rather excessive grooming habits and that he started ripping out his hair. I mean he actually made himself one bald little kitty cat at one point. I noticed he’d go from agitated to happy, and there was always some underlying stress something with him. I also noticed his swishy tail problem which always made him seem perpetually annoyed. Tut was having such bad allergies to these fleas that I was having to take him in for regular cortizone shots for a time, which of course is why he absolutely hates my vet now.
This has been an ongoing battle for years since he’s now 8. I hate watching him self-mutilate whatever he can reach, but I didn’t know what else to do and funds always being an issue I did whatever I could.
In 2008 Tut had a UTI and a blockage that rendered an emergency trip to the vet for a catheter to unblock him, I took him home and he was fine with that situation for a couple years until this last week.
So here it is, the excessive grooming still in spurts was slowly getting worse. I’d try to scare him or gently break him off of it and nothing would work or get his attention, it was like the ultimate focus. My vet had previously prescribed amitryptaline for him which I didn’t keep with too long due to feeling bad for him staring at the wall all day long.
Tut also used to find sleeping spots, some place he’d spend weeks to months sleeping. It would be the bathtub sill, the chair rungs, or the wash mashine. All fine and dandy but he’d pick these places and just be clearly uncomforatable, sitting in one spot until his feet would get raw and bleed. He’d sleep sitting up and fall off of things until finally I had to curb some of this when he fell off the wash mashine and I came running into the bathroom to a twisted kitty screaming. I felt awful and rushed him to the vet who said he seemed fine.
A couple weeks ago he seemingly flipped or fell off the rungs of one of our chairs and attacked his side so viciously and growling it was petrifying and scared the bejesus out of me. My boyfriend tried calming him and ultimately broke him of whatever it was. I know Tut has taken to getting more violent with himself at times but he’s never been terribly specific to where he puts forth his kiitty agression. I have noticed though his tail swishing much more and the funny jumping and twitching of his back from the mid rib down to the base.
Fast forward to a week ago (keep in mind that I’ve been trying to keep up on one food, etc… the whole time). My boyfriend found Tut in the litter box sleeping and booted him out. I got home and found him straining to go. Another UTI and blockage I was sure, no pee. Rushing him to the ER vet clinic (as everything always happens late at night or the middle of the night) the vet found that he had crystals for sure but was able to palputate and unblock him without the catheter this time. They gave him pain meds and antibiotic due to bacteria found in his urine and sent him home.
I was so paranoid that he’d re-block or have another episode that I stayed up until 8.30 that morning (over 24 hours) and made an appointment with my vet to have him checked (since he’s a million times cheaper than the E.R.). Well I passed out for a few hours still freaked but needing sleep. I woke up and was doing some stuff, etc… I noticed his eyes were still horribly dialated from the morphine pain derivative they gave him but I figured that was normal for that med, and I gave him his other dose. However, I now know it could have further aggrivated what he’s going through. Tut decided to ‘clean’ himself some more. Mind you at this point he’d been also on 1/2 tab so 5 MG of Amitryptaline again for a bit over a week already.
About two hours before our 3pm appointment I was in the room with Tut and he completely flipped out while scratching himself behind the ear with his hind foot. Flipping over he seemed to be seizing but was still itching with a horrifying vengence and when I tried to break him of it he bit his litter box, still itching, and peed all over himself. Finally he snapped out of it and was walking weird and acting funny but he managed to eat a little. I was crying and called my vet to beg coming in a little earlier. Sadly I have not taken these episodes well being unable to help my cat and a fear of him seriously injuring himself.
I got to the vet and discussed the situation, he’s still convinced it’s just fleas, but I’ve been suspect to maybe food allergies also. I was so exhausted that I didn’t quite catch when my vet suggested that Tut had Hyperesthesia but instead found a bunch of info on the net when searching his symptoms. The vet kept him overnight for fluids and a treatment. It had come down to my fear of him being so unhappy and uncomforatable that he might not be having a great quality of life. However… I wasn’t ready to put him down so when I discussed the situation with my doc he said we could try one more treatment, thus the other half of the overnight visit.
I worried all night long and picked him up the following morning. He seemed much better if not a little out of it (yay). I bought the CD diet from my vet (wet) to help ease the crystals even though I am not a fan of the brand really and then rushed to the store to buy him some allergy food (Limited Ingredient Diet) and some grain free treats, foam bath (also limited and gentle all natural ingredients), and some cat grass.
I came home elated things would go right. However later that evening he was straining in the box again and couldn’t go. Heartbroken I rushed him to the ER vet again. I was told that I had no choice but to put him down if I didn’t have the money for treatment. I was so completely heartbroken it was just devestating. I cried for an hour straight and even more when I got to have my visit. When they went to place the IV Catheter however he unblocked himself and peed everywere. I had a chance to take him home.
I took him home and monitored the hell out of him. Putting him in our room for the stress free and quiet environment (we have two other cats one of whom tries to play with Tut and Tut is not a fan). He was still straining in the morning so I inquired and landed up picking up a last ditch effort scrip called Prozacin which relaxes muscles enabling him to pee. It’s a fifty/fifty shot of working.
It’s been a week this morning, I’m still unable to sleep due to fear of something happening, but the Prozacin is working as is the Amitryptaline and the whatever my vet did (I think it was unfortunately a steriod treatment). I have some great friends helping my cause so he can get a surgery he needs to continue to remain unblocked, but tomorrow we’re going through testing to make sure that there isn’t something underlying going on that could be causing the FHP and the ‘seizure’ activity.
I will say for sure that I DO hate keeping my cat doped up, but for now, it’s helping and I’m working on another game plan.
If your cat does have FHP be careful of any morphone derivatives. According to the specialist I talked to this morning it is possible that if the FHP is neurological that the hallucinigenic properties of the pain meds aren’t being processed properly, thus heigtening the anxiety causing the behaviour and possibly the last episode.
I am going to try the Comfort Zone plug and see if that helps and look into some other meds. Tut has always slept a lot but now he seems comfy and that’s such a relief. There is minimal twitching of the tail and funny skin twitches. He will pick up on doing it more when he’s annoyed I noticed and when say if you have to take food away due to a surgery that may happen… Apparently he is easily aggrivated.
Putting him by a window has helped so he can check things out and I’m playing with him often. I’m looking to try a few more suggestions to see what’s going to work.
I know it’s not a tail specific (though he’s normally after the base of his tail) but it’s another scary self mutilation. I’ll keep everyone posted. However, I’m ehausted and intend to get at least an hour or two of sleep I hope, on the ground, by the cat. I do love my cat.
I would love to hear from anyone that has had any episodes like I described, I’ve not seen anything like it before but it’d be great to know I’m not alone. I’ve had a lot of cats, this is the firsttime I’ve come across this so it’s nice to know there is some form of support group of sorts.
Cheers and good luck to all. :)
i had my cats tail healed one month ago. i checked before i went to bed with my son, and now it is a grandma infection. i squeezed it until i got the infection to wear the skin looks okay. i poured hydrogen peroxide over it 4 or 5 times. some of the skin looks red,dark red, pink, and normal. i got as much as the infection out as i could. i called the vet at 2:55am he said to keep it wrapped until monday and call at 7:30am. i told the vet that i cut the hair as short as i could then put mentholatum on his tail where the sore is and put jumbo bandaids on it to cover, i put the bandaids on tight so it would keep him from getting to the infection. i need someone to talk to i am so sad, down in the dumps for being such a bad mom to my sweet sunny bunny. i can’t sleep now. i need advice. did i do all i can do? i held sunny bunny and rocked him and cried told him how much momma loves him.
sunny bunny’s momma
I notice that none of these posts mention something called “twichy cat syndrome”. I brought home a male flame point siamese from the adoption clinic and he was twitching and jumping and chasing his tail. He would bite it – but it was never as bad as the cases described above. However, the behavior was alarming. My vet thought it was flea allergies and recommended a strict regimen of advantage; he also agreed with me that the cat may be allergic to something in the food, so I switched to a higher quality food. He also had abandonment issues that manifested as agression towards people. He would bite and claw if you tried to put him down and if he wanted attention, he would attack! He’s over all of this now. I used behavioral modification techniques which improved his aggression problem very quickly and he’s now the most docile and loving cat. The change in diet and flea medication worked well, too, though it does take some time to heal and for the nerves to “calm down”. For those who have indoor pets and claim they “don’t have fleas” I suspect you think that b/c they are exclusively indoor they don’t need to be treated. I was the same way. I was mistaken. Things are much better now that I use the flea prevention program regularly. BTW, it will take about four or five months to eradicate your flea infestation problems. Bear in mind you may never get bitten or see a flea to have this problem and that it only takes one flea to cause this nightmare. If you don’t have your animals on a regimen and haven’t given it a good four or five months to fully break the flea-egg, larvae, laying, adult cycle then you haven’t tried your first-line medical response to your problem!!! Lastly: try your best to find a pet food that has high-quality ingredients. Conventional foods such as wheat, rice, soy, corn, beef, chicken and fish all have off-the-chart levels of toxins in them due to such practices as factory farming, over-use of anti-biotics, cruel and inhumane practices such as crating and de-beaking, high levels of pesticide residues, high levels of petrochemical residues (from the feed the animals eat which are sprayed with pesticides and fertilized with petrochemical-based fertilizers, all of which super-concentrates in the flesh and milk/eggs of these tortured animals); to top it all off, the feed, animals and vegetables/grains in the pet food you feed your cat are all heavily GMO. Heavily GMO means that they have gone through ten or more years of being hybridized and synthesized into chemical compounds not recognized by living animals and are therefore a) extremely difficult to digest, b) highly allergenic c) nutritionally non-bioavailable d) having the tendancy to block absorption of other essential nutrients. If you haven’t done your best to clean up your animal’s diet and serve them the cleanest food you can find then you haven’t tried the other number one thing you ought to try first. The two above protocols, if followed patiently, will in many instances (except perhaps the most severe, in which nerve damage and OCD have developed) bring significant relief, in my personal experience. Best of luck to all and blessings to your fur-babies!
my cat is having the exact same problem that you gus have been talking about. She has chewed he tail off so much that it is now nothing but a nub…what can i do??
I have had cats all my life and have never seen this behaviour.
I now have a 4 month old kitten who chews her tail constantly to the point where it no longer has hair on the tip.
I am utterly convinced that modern catfood and food in general is so contaminated with harmful substances that it is affecting both animals and humans massively.
Laugh or scorn if you will but i tell you that something sinister exists beneath our so called modern advanced civillisation.
Scientists are reporting strange behavioural traits throughout the animal kingdom.
ITS THE FOOD!….TRUST ME ON THIS.
my kitti is only biting her tail when i show her the tali so i dont know if this is normal and at my moms place she have 7 cats and 15 kitties
I have a sort of similar story to these.
A year ago, my friend Lacey’s cat had kittens. I brought one home, and named him Jack. He’s a calico mix. He looks like an orange tabby, but his mom is a calico. Be also had 2 other cats when we brought him home, Tigger and Maybelline. He was doing great! He got a long with them. But 5 months ago I adopted a Female kitten named Molly. He DID NOT get a long with Molly. He was sort of “The boss” of the house. Like, he thinks he’s the king. So when we brought another cat in, he got jealous. He was very aggressive to molly, but then he started coming around. He accepted her, I guess.
Ever since we adopted Molly, Jack hasn’t been the same. He use to be really friendly, and would sleep with me and sit on my lap. Now he doesn’t. I can pet him, but he doesn’t like it when I pick him up. When I shook a bag of cat treats, he would come running, and always be the first cat to get some. Now when I shake the bag, he just laying around and doesn’t even move.
A couple months ago all 4 of our cats were infected with fleas. We shampooed them all, bought a flea comb, bought so drops to put on the back of their necks, and some flea powder. It worked, and we got rid of them.
I noticed like 2 weeks ago, Jack’s tail looked sort of.. redish/pickish. And he had loss of fur.
Today, I pet him and pet his tail and he hissed and growled. I looked at it and its raw. Its red, and you can practically see his flesh. A major loss of hair, and I feel so bad for him! He’s my baby, He’s maybe like, 1 year and 3 months old? I think. I licks his tail a lot too. and bites it.
Anyone else have the same problem?
Please email me email@example.com
I feel so sick and worried after reading the other posts. I have a 13 yr old domestic who has diabetes. He started the tail biting a month ago but only pulled off the fur. He was full on attacking it I thought another cat got in the house and the was a cat fight! Yesterday he bit his tail and was dripping blood,I took him to the vet who thought it was allergies. His blood sugar was good. The vet dressing lasted only an hour I put one one with coban and duct tape but he took that off today while I was out. I came home to a blood bath. The poor cat now has the whole end down to the bone. I’ll be bringing him in tomorrow to the vet. He had mentioned maybe phenobarb but after reading this site it seems maybe an OCD problem. I also liked the suggestoin of the rescue drops and the e-collar. I fear he may need the tail amputated as others have done. I don’t know how he will do with having diabetes. I appreciate this site for info and to vent. Our poor kitties need help.
I realize that no one has updated on this site in awhile but just in case there is someone just starting to go through this I thought I would tell you where we are. The next day after my first posting Spirit had to have 1/2 his tail amputated and was started on amityptaline. That same afternoon he started attacking his wound and I had to meet with the Vet,she then bandage the cat and gave him more pain meds and also xanax. In order to keep him from biting the tail I had to give him the Xanax until the Amityptaline became effective. He couldn’t walk and I had to give him water by dripping it into his mouth. It was a very stressful time. I’m not working right now so I had 24/7 to watch and take care of him. We had one good week when he was off the Xanax and was getting more active again, he had periods of time when I could leave the e-collar off,he also had a dressing on. We went to the vet on Friday to have the stitches removed but she wanted to wait until today. That evening on Friday he tried to attack his tail .I had to give him xanax and put a dressing on. Saturday he got the dressing off and was biting again. At first I thought it was the stitches but on Sunday he had another spaz attack and got to his tail and opened the incision. I gave him xanax and redressed the tail. Now I’m back to looking at another amputation. I read the other sites were they said it didn’t help so now I have to decide what is best for him. I can’t even believe this is happening. That I’m even thinking about putting him done but I don’t want him to live if all he will be is so doped up he can’t enjoy life. This is all I can say for now. I pray I do what is right.
My six year old male cat started experiencing twitching tail syndrome (hyperesthesia) about six months ago. He had never had any problems at all. We first attributed it to fleas, although, as an indoor cat, he’d never had fleas before. He was treated and had a flea bath (probably a mistake, in retrospect), but the twitching continued. Realizing that the twitching wasn’t from the fleas, he was diagnosed with hyperesthesia, and prescribed fluoxetine (prozac) and gabapentin. The gabapentin alone didn’t help, but the prozac did reduce the number of seizures he was having. But here’s what REALLY helped. I bought ProQuiet from EntirelyPets.com (I’m not shilling for the site, that’s just where I found them) and started giving him one tablet per day. In just one week he has changed immeasurably. The twitching is almost gone, and when he does twitch, he doesn’t freak out like he used to. These tablets, in my opinion, have made a world of difference. They are homeopathic, so I would definitely give them a try if your kitty is having similar problems.
My 13 month old rescue kitty just a few days ago started the behaviors described above. I just adopted her 6 months ago and fell in love with her immeadiatly We gave appt with vet this morning. Mossy of the posts are saying years or months went by before vet visit. I hope I’m catching this thing early and avoid amputation. Which I won’t do anyway. Would have her put down first!! Looks like choices are: FHS, HYPORTHYROID, Flea allergy… Although I haven’t noticed fleas and she is indoor only, it’s certainly a possibility. I’ll update upon news from vet, hopefully today.
My cat paws is about 4 and he just started acting weird at first it was vicious hissing. Then we found out why he was hissing or so we thought he began biting his tail. The vet gave him a shot and said put an e collar on him, now all he does is mope and from time to time he growls and and hisses I think its the devil but as long as he can’t bite his tail everything is fine the vet also said he might need amputation but I don’t know if that will work… My cat is very active he doesn’t like store bought toys he seems to like home made toys when I bring out the homemade toys he gets really playful. All this started about a month ago. Tonight I’m siting in my room and he’s going crazy in the other room just don’t know what to do who do I need to talk to… I’m from maryland 4436768768 is my number if anyone knows how to deal with this send me a text or something please
I have a gorgeous Bombay male and as near as we can guess, has just turned 6 yrs old. He is 18-20 lbs (lean), stands 13 1/2″ at the shoulder, and was 32″ from nose to tail tip but has had 3/4″ amputated. Last year he had a bout with crystalitis and again this July. It was cleared up with antibiotics both times and prescription food. However, with the last bout, he began attacking his tail. First it was just claw marks which escalated to chewing the tip with bone exposed. And he exhibited all the symptoms that people here have talked about. The vet bills are killing my retirement funds. I had a collar on him, but had to buy another longer one which still didn’t prevent him from getting at his tail. So, out of frustration, I bought a shower hat and cut a hole on top and fit the collar into it. That has worked fine and now I use it if he shows any serious interest in the tail. It seems to settle him down. As time went on and the healing took place, we allowed him more freedoms (he is an outdoor cat). He would be good for a couple of days and then the bloody mess would happen again. I just can’t bring myself to putting him down as he is a perfect pet in every other aspect, so now I will be keeping his tail taped with one difference……he is fitted with a plastic casing from a tampon so air can keep it dry and he can’t actually chew the tail. He seems comfortable with the arrangement. This has been going on for ten weeks and not a lot of sleep. Fingers crossed and a lot of prayer.
I had read all your comments in December. Seeking info for hyperesthesia (also known as “twichy cat syndrome”) and hoping to find some miracle method to free my poor cat from it.
He was one year in November, A part from a chronic cold showing up due to Calicivirus (FCV) caught as a wee baby (I bottle fed him from age 20 days, when he was rescued from the street very sick), he had no problems.
Until October 7th evening, when he came down stairs from our roof terrace acting crazy as if something had stung him. And since then we have given him extra flee killer product (Stronghold, against flee allergy), kept him under antihistamines and tried cortisone (which eventually worsened symptoms), put him on hypoallergenic diet (only hypoallergenic pet food and boiled lamb).
For two months and the only slight signs of it getting better came when a very strict routine was settled for eating hours, homeopathic treatment and Bach Flower drops against compulsive behavior were added to his food, Feliway plugged in and new toys were always ready to distract him from his allergy like symptoms that would eventually end with him seeing his tail and either: rushing from it, hissing at it or attacking it. If not coming to hide between my legs as if to ask me to please free him from the monster that was following him.
He is now free!
After all the blood tests needed to check that his problem wasn’t of some other kind, the vet eventually cut his tail off on December 20th. He had to keep an Elizabethan collar for two weeks, within which he managed to reach his wound twice making a mess of blood, making swell again, needing extra antibiotics and extra painkillers. But as soon as the wound closed up properly and he didn’t feel it anymore, he stopped worrying.
He’s been now collar free for the last two weeks and behaving perfectly well. He has no more enemy following everywhere and not letting him rest (could you rest with a monster laying right beside you?!), he plays, has resumed washing himself (when he arrives to the tail we distract him with a toy, just in case, since his fur still has to grow back to cover the tip of the tail).
He now is a happy young Manx cat…!!!
I am still giving him homeopathic treatment and Bach Flower therapy and he’s continuing his hypoallergenic diet (that are long term cures that in any case have no counter effect!).
I advise any reader seeking for help to consider amputation as THE solution, I regret having waited so long. It is such a relief to see a poor kitty back to being himself!
Thank you, I am so happy that I came across your post. My cat is exactly like many of the others posted above. It has been going on for 4 months, and we have tried so many different things. He is scheduled for an amputation tomorrow. I have been going back and forth in my head as to whether or not this was the right thing to do, especially since many people seem to think they may start to attack another body part. Your post has made me feel so much more hopeful, and that maybe I am doing the right thing afterall. Thanks again!
Did the amputation work? We have a female Persian with what must be FHD. She bit her tail almost in half before we had purchased her as a retired cat from a breeder but was never told. We didn’t know it until later that half of her tail was amputated. Now I am wondering if we should amputate the rest of it because she recently has gotten worse.
Our boy Oliver is almost a year old and started having this twitching tail syndrome about 2 months ago. When we adopted him he had jus left back leg amputated along with the top of his tail due to being mauled, so he already has issues with his stump, for instance when his left ear is itchy his stump moves just as if his leg was still there. But now he literally jumps up and runs as if he’s trying to run away from himself and bites his tail to the point where it’s bleeding. I appreciate everyone posting their stories as my vet thought he had some infection on the tip of his tail due to his prior surgery but I think by the way is back twitches and he attacks his tail that he has FHS. I don’t know what the right course of treatment should be, amputate the rest of his tail? I really hope by changing his diet that this will help.
Am I going to lose my cat to this?
One of the feral cats that showed up last year developed a tail biting problem this year. I took him to the vet with the end of his tail all bloody and partially chewed off. They bandaged it and kept him for 3 days. at the end of a week they removed the bandage and put another one on. Over the weekend he had what appeared to be a seizure and tore the bandage off. He spattered blood everywhere! I turned out and left him having spent a few hundred dollars and ending up back at square one. I started dipping his tail in an iodine solution to keep the maggots out and hopefully keep him from biting it more. I’ve had limited success. He still has an occasional episode. The vet gave me the choice of amputation or euthanasia saying the amputation might not solve the problem. we still have the problem, but for the most part he is doing OK. I’ve given him Cap Star for fleas and rub herbal flea medicine on his back which seems to help a little.