Have you noticed that your cat bites its own tail and does it often? It could be a minor annoyance or something more serious: let’s find out together!
That the cat has a habit of taking care of its body is a known fact. But what we may not know is that he sometimes assumes attitudes that border on self-harm: in fact, in addition to ‘chasing’ his own tail, he may find pleasure (and sometimes relief) in biting it. But what is behind this bizarre behavior? We certainly know that animals can surprise us with their way of doing it but we must be sure that they do not do it because of some physical or psychological discomfort. So if we see that the cat is biting its tail, let’s ask ourselves about the reasons that push it to do so.
The cat and its tail: a passion without borders!
It seems that the cat has an almost maniacal passion for his body: it is no coincidence that he is considered one of the cleanest pets because of the care he takes of his personal hygiene. In particular, it is the tail that attracts it: in fact it often happens to see the cat that, with its paws, tries to grab it almost as if it were a foreign body. He often succeeds in locking her between his front legs but, if he escapes him, he is ready to grab her with a bite. However, this behavior cannot simply be explained by the cat’s hunting instinct, inherent in its DNA, but it could arise from a health problem.
So let’s not forget that the cat has an innate hunting instinct, which can also affect its own body. Its tail, so ‘external’ because at the extremity of the body, it seems to it a ‘piece apart’, like an insect or an object to be grasped. And as a result he will try to catch her, triggering a challenge to the limits of the possible with himself. If the environment in which he lives does not offer him any distraction or entertainment, all the more reason he will try to have fun ‘playing’ with his own body because he is bored. But what if this somewhat bizarre behavior hides some basic suffering? Here are all the reasons that can lead a cat to bite its tail.
The cat bites its own tail: when to worry
We must not be alarmed if we catch our cat grabbing its tail between its paws, emitting groans and giving itself small bites: the problem will be when we notice that the same is cracking, or worse infecting, due to the numerous wounds that the cat itself causes. When biting becomes a habitual behavior, you have to run for cover before it is too late for two reasons: the first is that the part could become seriously infected and the second because it could be symptomatic of a disease or in any case a more serious health problem.
It is obvious that we will need to find a way to prevent the cat from harming itself and maybe try to understand what the underlying problem is to solve it. Who can help us better than an expert in this? We explain in detail to the trusted veterinarian what our cat’s behavior is: it will be he who will formulate a diagnosis and prescribe an appropriate treatment for the situation. Through specific examinations and tests he will certainly be able to provide us with a history of the feline, so as to exclude pathologies or possibly find the remedy to cure them.
The cat bites its own tail: possible causes
If the cat continues to harm itself, even in secret, it is necessary to go deeper into the matter and discover the reasons that lead it to self-mutilate. Here are the causes behind this behavior and which induce the cat to inflict what seems, in effect, a punishment: we will distinguish them into external and internal causes.
Health problems from external factors
- Fleas and parasites: the attack of these external agents, such as fleas, ticks, mites, can cause such itching in the cat as to cause it to scratch and bite continuously. The same can give rise to allergic dermatitis: in particular fleas can trigger even serious skin reactions. For this reason it is essential to administer pesticides to the cat, even if they usually live in the house.
- Wrong diet: taking foods that cause allergies and intolerances can lead the cat to feel discomfort that he himself will try to soothe, scratching and biting himself. In fact, food allergy in cats can cause dermatosis, linked to the consumption of a food.
Internal health problems
- Trauma and stress: when a cat suffers a trauma, due to a bereavement or a radical change in its habits, (think of a move or a stressful trip), it could even suffer from the so-called ‘psychogenic dermatosis’. In this case it is a trauma that the cat inflicts itself following an obsessive compulsive disorder, caused in turn by an inner stress. Even stereotypies, or behaviors that are constantly repeated, can translate into such attitudes.
- Boredom: even when the cat has no stimuli and feels lonely, bored, it can hurt itself. Negative behaviors could affect others but also oneself.
- Attracting Attention: What if he was just trying to capture the interest of his master, too busy with daily chores to notice him? It must be said that cats love to be the center of attention and they decide when it’s time to play and enjoy our company.
What can we do to avoid this discomfort
Certainly, knowing the cause, we will have to try as much as possible to avoid it. But when it comes to an ‘inevitable’ stress, such as a move or the birth of a baby, we just need to be next to the cat and make him feel that we have not abandoned him. Care and cuddles should never be lacking, indeed it will be better to ‘abound’ in periods in which the feline may feel a sense of emptiness and loneliness. As for his health, however, we must be careful to respect the cat’s vaccination schedule and do not forget to give him preventive antiparasitic treatments. Furthermore, we must create an environment around him that is not only serene but also playful and fun, so that he can have fun with his mind, avoiding the risk that he may get bored.