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Old 04-22-2010, 07:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cat is biting the end of it's tail until it bleeds...

Hey - it's me! The irregular poster some may remember with the screwed up cats. lol.

So about a month ago, I had to work a lot of overtime. Like - 12-14 hour days. I'd leave home at 8, get home at 9 or later. My cat Fred is a bit needy, and shortly after all the overtime ended, Fred started chasing his tail (more than usual). Sometime's he'd bite it and meow like it hurt. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary at first.

Then I saw quite a large gash in his tail. Maybe about a centimeter long, 1/2 centimeter wide. I took him to the vet (my normal vet was out and had to go to another), and she said it looked traumatic as if it got stuck in something or the other cat did it. I was kind of sceptical, as there isn't really much in my home to do that and he'd been catching his tail a lot. sometimes he would get on a chair back and chase it almost falling off (sometimes he did) so I was thinking maybe he stepped on it and it tore while he was running around in circles trying to hold on.

Anyway, the biting continued, and it took forever for it to heal as he was licking the scab, biting it off or just biting his tail and breaking it open. I tried pretty much everything. Clipped his nails, sprayed the tip with some of the bitter stuff so he would be less prone to bite it. Maybe that was a bad idea. I'm giving him anxiety relief drops too. And I play with him for 10 minutes or so when he starts on it, which means I'm playing with him like every 30 minutes. He's been chasing it less lately, and the scab that wouldn't heal finally fell off last night (he hadn't really been able to touch it the last week).

Last night I heard him yelp again and inspected his tail. The very tip has a smallish scab on it. Then I got home from work today to blood splatters and drops in the living room. There's a big mass of dried blood in the hair on the tip of his tail. I guess this is going to be an ongoing issue.

I was hoping it would go away - that maybe he had had some kind of trauma, and the healing of the scab bugged him. Maybe it itched, or he didn't like the feel of it. But now that he's made a new sore it's looking less likely. Any ideas on how to stop him? My vet seems to not have any ideas.

I've heard it could be anal glands, but this is the end of his tail and it seems to be a game for him. He gets his tail going, and then sees it and goes after it. Might be a bit anxiety related as it happened after the overtime. I've also read it could be a neurological disorder, which sometimes results in an anti-depressant type of medication, or in tail amputation. Is that what I'm faced with?

My other cat has also started having minor seizures. She's quite old, and I'm not 100% sure what that is either. I had he into the vet once, but there was no set verdict as she looked fine afterward. They seem to happen after my two cats have an altercation, when she's prone to a lot of physical/emotional exertion. It doesn't happen a lot, but both the last times have resulted in a seizure. I don't know if that has but the younger, tail biting cat on edge.
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat is biting the end of it's tail until it bleeds...

Bean! My friend and former colleague! I'm so glad to hear from you, but sorry to hear your cat is having a problem. Have you tried an Elizabethan collar? With that on, she won't be able to bite, and you'll know if she is or is not the cause of the bleeding. I so hope she recovers soon! Please send me a PM with your latest email address. So happy to see you back home!
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat is biting the end of it's tail until it bleeds...

There's a product called Bitter Apple, mostly known for use on wires and things pets shouldn't chew, but it's also safe to use on pet fur - it's right on the bottle. It's used on dogs and cats who have problems with chewing their tails, etc. It really tastes awful, according to Cali.
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat is biting the end of it's tail until it bleeds...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanie
Bean! My friend and former colleague! I'm so glad to hear from you, but sorry to hear your cat is having a problem. Have you tried an Elizabethan collar? With that on, she won't be able to bite, and you'll know if she is or is not the cause of the bleeding. I so hope she recovers soon! Please send me a PM with your latest email address. So happy to see you back home!
I tried the e-collar, but I returned it after he took off running in circles at full speed and ran into a wall, where the e-collar popped off. I think he'd hurt himself.
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat is biting the end of it's tail until it bleeds...

Quote:
Originally Posted by marie73
There's a product called Bitter Apple, mostly known for use on wires and things pets shouldn't chew, but it's also safe to use on pet fur - it's right on the bottle. It's used on dogs and cats who have problems with chewing their tails, etc. It really tastes awful, according to Cali.
I actually have this Bitter something spray. It's safe for injestion too and doesn't have alcohol to irritate the wound. It's mostly rosemary based with a bittering agent, although it doesn't seem to affect him. He seemed to want to lick it more. To the point where I tasted it, and it felt like I chewed on a fresh rosemary bush for a couple hours. lol...

He's fine right now. It seems like he's good for a day after he really hurts himself. Not sure if it's for attention too. I'm amazed he's let me on the computer for this long.
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat is biting the end of it's tail until it bleeds...

Please do some research about "Feline Hyperesthesia". You may also want to visit yoru vet to ask about this and maybe learn of some calmin gproducts. Perhaps Composure Liquid and/or Rescue Remedy could help with his overactive nerve endings, but I think your vet could have information that would be helpful, too.
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat is biting the end of it's tail until it bleeds...

It does sound a little like Feline Hyperesthesia, but not as extreme. He loves being pet and it's not a source of discomfort nor does it spur episodes... He does twitch every once and a while and lick like a maniac. But I had another cat that did that a while ago and thought it might have been normal - like they have a hyper mode or something they go into. Maybe it's not though.
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat is biting the end of it's tail until it bleeds...

I know it doesn't sound like a typical feline hyperesthesia (FH) presentation, but I suppose it is possible for this issue to manifest in different ways and vary in its' severity.

My Malibu likes to chase and catch her tail, but with her it is definitely a playful sort of mood. Marmalade (1996-200 had a mild manifestation of FH, not severe enough to make my vet think we needed to do anything. Marmy would occasionally chase/catch his tail and cry if he bit or scratched it. I do not think he ever drew blood, certainly never splashed blood anywhere. He would also ripple the fur along his lower back and occasionally leap up, run a few steps, shake one or both back feet and then sit quickly for a few licks along his back. Sometimes petting him soothed him, sometimes it aggravated the issue.
I wish I had learned more about composure liquid and rescue remedy early enough to have tried them on him to see if they could have helped him.

In general, I think if your cat is causing himself injury, that this is definitely something that needs some sort of intervention. Can you locate an E-collar made out of fabric? I've made a few and used them on a spay (Mischy) who was licking her stitches and Allie (Melysion) has one she uses for Toby when his allergies crop up and make him pull his hair. The fabric collar is flexible, won't jab into the shoulders when the edges encounter a solid object and I noticed the collar worked whether it was up in the cone shape or folded down over the shoulders like a cape. Either position worked; every time the cat pushed its' muzzle forward to lick an area, the fabric E-collar also moved forward and kept itself just past the edge of the muzzle so the mouth couldn't reach its' wound.

Ack! I did a Google-search for images and found my foster, Mischy, with the first quilted collar I made:
Here is Mischy modeling the collar folded down over her shoulders:
Here is another type commercially available:
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Old 04-23-2010, 09:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat is biting the end of it's tail until it bleeds...

I tried an e-collar and he spazzed out. I'm not sure if he would hurt himself with one... It's also on the tip of his tail, so would an e-collar interfere enough for him to not bite it?
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat is biting the end of it's tail until it bleeds...

Look at the pics of the cats wearing the softer, fabric e-collars ... they are all calm and relaxed. Mischy was *very* upset with the plastic one and I took it off her, used it as a pattern and whipped up that tan/black one in less than 20min. I had to work fast because she was already licking at her stitches.

If your cat already wears a collar, the adjustment will be minimal. If your cat does not, it will take just a bit longer to adjust, but what I've found is the stiff plastic cones *jab* into the cat when it tried to crawl under something to retreat/hide and feel safe. When the cone prevents them from getting to their 'safe-place' it causes them to panic. The soft fabric cones do NOT poke or jab and the cat can easily get to it's safe-place.

I noted with the fabric collars I made, they extend just past the edge of the muzzle which prevents the muzzle from reaching its' goal. If your kitty catches its' tail and then moves its' head forward to worry at their tail tip, the E-collar will *also* move forward and should block access to the tail. Even if the kitty occasionally does manage to reach its' tail by bending the fabric back as they move their head/neck forward, that shouldn't happen every time and I believe it will work at least most of the time ... and give the wound a much better chance at healing than if the cat had nothing preventing it from reaching its' wound.
Best of luck,
h


Here is another soft e-collar available at PetCo that I thought looked innovative. It is made of nylon over a foam batting to keep its' shape yet be bendable and comfortable.
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