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How to Tell if a Cat's Tail Is Broken and What to Do

 
By Anaëlle Laurent. November 25, 2020
How to Tell if a Cat's Tail Is Broken and What to Do

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Do you think your cat has broken its tail? If they have been in pain and their tail has been limp, it's understandable that you may worry.

In this AnimalWised article we're going to help you tell if your cat has a broken tail or an injured tail, and what to do to help them. We'll go through the symptoms, causes, tail anatomy, what to do and the treatment. Continue reading to learn more.

How to tell if a cat's tail is broken or injured

Whether you have witnessed the injury or not, there are different ways to know if your cat has injured their tail or has even broken their tail. The most common symptoms include:

  • Limp tail
  • Lack of tail movement
  • Bleeding
  • Swollen tail
  • Hair loss
  • Difficulty controlling bowel movements
  • Your cat is hiding, crying or being aggressive

We also encourage you to read our article about how to tell if your cat is in pain. This way, you will be able to recognize when your cat is in pain and you will be able to act quickly before it gets too serious.

The cause of an injured or broken tail is always an injury. Perhaps your cat was outside exploring when an accident occurred where they fell or something fell on their tail. When a cat injures their tail, it can be fractured, broken or even dislocated. Minor injuries may include scrapes, hair loss, swelling or a bit of bleeding. Mayor injuries may include nerve damage, blood vessel damage, broken bones, etc.

With that being 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 severe as it can also involve nerve or blood vessel damage, making it a more serious and painful injury. Fractured cat tails near the tip are less painful and often less severe.

Nerve damage in a cat's tail injury is usually indicated by a limp tail, lack of movement in their tail and difficulty with bowel movements. They will probably be crying, hiding, being aggressive or immobile due to the pain. Learn more about the movements of a cat's tail and its meaning in our article about why cats wag their tail.

How to Tell if a Cat's Tail Is Broken and What to Do - How to tell if a cat's tail is broken or injured

Cat tail anatomy

A cat's tail is made up of about 22 caudal or coccygeal vertebrae, which are small rectangular-shaped bones that decrease in size from the base to the tip. The feline tail is a continuation of their spine. The sacrum around the hip separates the lumbar vertebrae from the tail vertebrae.

The spine of cats is more flexible than that of dogs, especially around the area of the tail which allows them a lot of mobility and flexibility, in addition to serving as an axis of rotation when they fall to readjust their posture and intervenes in the centre of stability.

What to do if your cat injures their tail

Help your cat keep calm

The first thing you will want to do is help your cat keep calm. They will be frightened and in pain, as their companion it is our responsibility to help them through this problem. To help them calm down you can make sure they are in a comfortable and cosy place, perhaps their cat bed, box or cat carrier.

Leave a fresh bowl of water near them, speak to them softly and pet their head so they can try to calm down. Make sure there are no other stressful triggers around them, such as loud sounds, other pets or people, etc.

Observe the injury

Now that your cat is a bit more calm, you can visually observe the tail. Is it limp, swollen or bleeding? Try to observe any other abnormal behaviour in your cat. Are they crying or hiding?

You will need to keep all of this in mind when calling your veterinarian and telling them what happened and what symptoms your cat is exhibiting. Avoid touching the tail as it may cause further pain or damage to your cat's injury. If you must touch the tail be extremely careful.

Call your veterinarian

Now you must call your veterinarian. Even if your cat is suffering from one of the symptoms mentioned above which makes you suspect an injury, that is enough to call up your veterinarian. We must never wait to contact a professional when our cat is behaving abnormally or is in pain as it will produce further damage and make your cat suffer for a longer time.

The best thing to do is to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible to be properly diagnosed and treated. Your veterinarian will ask you about the symptoms and then ask you to bring in the cat to their clinic.

How to Tell if a Cat's Tail Is Broken and What to Do - What to do if your cat injures their tail

Treating an injured or broken cat tail

Each injury will be different, therefore it is up to the veterinarian to diagnose the injury and find the suitable treatment for your cat's condition. With that being said, let's take a look at some possibilities of treatment for a fractured cat tail.

Minor cat tail injuries

For most fractured tails, the tail will be able to heal itself naturally over time. This implies that it was a clean break that did not affect any nerves or blood vessels. In these cases your veterinarian will simply make sure it is healing properly and will provide your cat with pain-killers to help ease the pain.

Severe cat tail injuries

In severe cat tail injuries, the bone has broken beyond repair or the injury has damaged your cat's nervous system or blood vessels. In these cases, where the tail cannot heal on their own, your veterinarian will need to amputate their tail. They may also need surgery to repair any damaged nervous. If this is the case, your veterinarian will provide you with more information.

Fortunately, most cats recover extremely well from this procedure and quickly adapt to their shorter tails. They will be back to jumping around and playing around in no time. Speak to your veterinarian about the procedure and ask them about the recovery time as it will depend on your cat's injury.

The most important thing to do when your cat has suffered a tail injury or is experiencing symptoms from an injured or broken tail is to go to your veterinarian as soon as possible. The faster you go to the veterinarian and get the injury treated, the faster your cat will heal and recover from their unfortunate injury.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Tell if a Cat's Tail Is Broken and What to Do, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

Bibliography
  • Z. Ann. Injuries to the caudal vertebrae in cats . Available at: https://www.monografias.com/trabajos96/traumatismo-vertebras-caudales-gatos/traumatismo-vertebras-caudales-gatos.shtml
  • Editorial Team Cats. (2014). The "M" gene that modifies the length of the cat's tail . Sphynx stop. Available at: https://gatos.paradais-sphynx.com/genetica-felina/mutacion-cola-gato.htm

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