Is Your Cat Chasing His Tail? Should You Ever Worry About It?

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I've seen plenty of dogs chasing their tails before, so I was caught off guard when I saw a cat chasing his tail. My friend's cat, Jax, started to chase his own tail, and it made me wonder if Jax was copying the behavior of my friend's Golden Retriever.

Later, I found out that Jax was not a copycat. Unfortunately, he had an infection on his tail. So, is it ever a problem when you see a cat chasing his tail? What should you do about a cat chasing his tail? Let's take a look.

First, is it normal to see a cat chasing his tail?

Cat showing tail and butt.

Is a cat chasing his tail normal – or is something serious at play? Photography © debibishop | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Some cats, like dogs, do not chase their tails just for fun. "Sasha Gibbons of Just Cats Veterinary Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut," says Dr. Sasha Gibbons of Cats Veterinary Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut.

But, sometimes, a cat chasing his tail means a little something more in cat tail language. And, unfortunately, there are times when a cat chasing his tail signals opposite of fun.

"Cats can also chase their tails for medical reasons," Dr. Gibbons explains. "Cats would be uncomfortable, if it is itchy from allergies. Cats can also have a condition called hyperesthesia syndrome, which is caused by overactive nerve endings, and can feel sensibly on the tail. "

Stud tail, which is a cat skin condition, is another issue that may be at play and calls for vet attention.

It is important to know your cat's normal body and make sure it is not acting out because of a medical reason.

What if a cat is chasing his tail – and biting it in the process?

Make sure you have a plan of action if you want a cat chasing his tail – and biting it! "Cat tails can get infected very easily, and it can be hard to resolve a tail infection, or any other injury to the tail (or self-inflicted) or from another cat, should be evaluated by a veterinarian," says Dr. Gibbons.

How do you stop at cat from chasing his tail?

Cat looking backward showing his tail / bum.

Can you stop a cat from chasing his tail? Photography © GlobalP | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

If your cat is chasing his tail and you suspect infection, hyperesthesia, stud tail or any injury, get your cat to the ASAP vet.

But, should you ever be concerned about a cat chasing his tail playfully?

"If a cat is simply chasing its tail, it can be from boredom," Dr. Gibbons explains. "If they're going to do it, they can try to redirect the cat to chase a laser on a string or a laser pointer."

If you're worried about your long periods of time, Dr. Gibbons suggests using interactive toys such as Frolicat or Panic Mouse. This will help your cat focus on the toys.

What about who swat their cat siblings' tails?

Sometimes a cat chasing his own tail is not the issue – it's a cat chasing another cat's tail! It is important to recognize a cat's body language when this is happening. "Attacking another cat's tail can be playful or aggressive," says Dr. Gibbons. "It all depends on the attacker's body language during the act – and the extent of damage to the victim."

Separate cats who are behaving aggressively towards each other. Even if your cat is chasing or swatting at another cats 'tail playfully, redirect the cats' attention to interactive toys.

The bottom line on a cat chasing his tail

Remember that a cat chasing his tail is not always playful or fun. Seek vet care any time your cat is causing damage to his tail or you suspect that he's chasing his tail out of discomfort. If the issue seems behavioral and not medical, search for a veterinary behaviorist in your area by checking out the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB). These experts will evaluate your specific situation and help you decide what to do next.

Tell us: Does your cat chase his tail? Is your cat chasing his tail for fun?

Thumbnail: Photography © GlobalP | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

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