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Dr. Marie
Dr. Marie, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 3938
Experience:  Compassionate licensed veterinarian with >20 years experience with cats, dogs and pocket pets
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My 6 year old cat is hissing, growling and attacking his tail.

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My 6 year old cat is hissing, growling and attacking his tail. He seems to be obsessed looking at it when the tail twitches. When I place a blanket over it he is OK.

Hi there and thanks for your question!

 

That is certainly an odd behaviour!

 

How long has your cat been doing this for?

How often does he do it?

 

Dr. Marie.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The behavior started about 10 days ago, first it looked more like play, but over time became more aggressive and dangerous to the cat's tail and it has become more frequent. When I take off his collar off he starts the behaviour within minutes and would go on doing it. Initially I observed it a few times a day and in a much milder form.
Nothing in his environment has changed otherwise.
He is on a low dose of Prednisolone as needed for Asthma.
In Sepember 08 he has been placed on a Urinary SO diet after he had a blockage of the urinary tract.

This is very puzzling! I too have never seen anything quite like this, but I would love to do some research for you.

 

This may take me a few minutes, but I should have some type of answer to you within the next 30 minutes or so...

 

Dr. Marie.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
OK, Thank you.

OK...first I'd like to thank you for teaching me a few things! I have just done some research for you on Veterinary Information Network where vets talk about interesting cases and I have a few thoughts for you.

 

The most common cause for this is something called lumbosacral syndrome. Now usually we can see evidence of lumbosacral syndrome on xrays, but not always. However this condition usually improves with pain medication, which doesn't seem to be working for your cat.

 

The next thing that can cause these symptoms is problems with the anal glands. Did your vet check them? If not, it is a good place to start.

 

I'm assuming he is on flea prevention? If not, it would be worthwhile to try some. I have seen some cats who are so allergic to fleas that even one flea bite can send them into a frenzy.

 

And finally, you can ask your vet about something called feline hyperesthesia syndrome, which you can read about here:

 

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1998

 

Dr. Marie.

 

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would highly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you. The anal glands have been checked and are OK. the cat is on flea prevention meds.

I read about the info about the feline hyperesthesia syndrome. This is a possiblity. One thing that is puzzling is that the cat appears quite calm and does not try to groom himself when he wears the collar and as long as I do not touch the base of his tail.
In essence, the behavior appears to be provoked by seeing the tail twitch, and discomfort is obvious when I touch the base of the tail. Would symptoms of sacral-lumbar syndrome or hyperesthesia syndrome not be obvious even when the cat wears the collar?

Hmmm...that I don't know.

 

The only other thing I can think of is that this is a bizarre behavioural problem. Has your vet talked about trying a behavioural medicine at all such as amitriptylline or clomicalm?

 

You may also want to ask about a referral to a neurologist or a behavioural specialist. Both of these specialists will have more experience with unusual cases like this one.

 

Dr. Marie.

 

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would highly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.

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