A cat chasing tail is one of the many things cats do to baffle us. But is it good or bad? Believe it or not, there are many reasons cats might chase their own tails. So, let’s talk more about it.
6 Reasons Your Cat Is Chasing Its Tail
It doesn’t seem like a bad thing, but there can be various causes to cat breeds chasing their own tail. Let’s go over a few reasons why your cat does this. This cat behavior may be nothing to worry about, while in some cases it might warrant a trip to the vet.
Your Cat Is Playing
One simple reason is that your cat is playing. This is especially common (and normal) in kittens. Kittens may see their tail as a toy, not realizing it’s attached to them. If the tail moves, they’ll try to catch it.
They’re Trying To Relieve Stress
On the other hand, if you have an adult indoor cat who seems to chase its tail often, this could be a sign that something else is going on.
For example, they might be bored in the house. You might want to consider trying to find other ways to stimulate their body and mind. Try to find new toys for them and set aside some time to play with them.
In addition, this could also stress them out. Or, if something else in the house is stressing them out, find the cause and try to help your cat through it.
The Tail Is In Pain
Sometimes, something might be wrong with your cat’s tail. If you notice that they’re chasing their tail more often or they began to chase it when they didn’t, take a look at their tail.
For example, the tail may have a wound you couldn’t see through the fur. Or perhaps they need to get their anal glands expressed. They have worms, a stud tail, or some other infection going on.
If you’re not sure, you can always check with your veterinarian.
They’re Practicing Their Hunting Skills
It’s entirely normal for cats to practice their hunting skills, no matter if they’re indoor or outdoor cats.
Kittens will practice their hunting by chasing and “attacking” their tail.
Adult cats can do it as well. Sometimes, their instincts might kick in if they see their tail moving. They may not even realize it’s their own tail until they’ve caught it.
Your Cat Has Hyperesthesia Syndrome
In addition, your cat might have Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome, also known as Feline OCD, which is a cat health issue. If you notice this happening to your cat, you’ll want to call your vet ASAP.
For instance, call your vet if you notice the following symptoms in your cat:
- Running from a threat that’s not present
- Moments of hyperactivity or aggressive
- Dilated pupils
- Fixation on its tail
- Excessive grooming of its tail
- Sensitive to the touch
Also, watch their body language. If their ears are flattened, and they seem too aggressive with their tail, something is wrong.
Your vet can help you figure out the cause and make your cat more comfortable.
The Tail Is Itchy
Finally, their tail might be itchy. It could be a simple itch that will go away in a minute, or it can be something more.
For example, they might have skin allergies, fleas, bug bites, or something else.
If you’re unsure, look over your cat’s tail carefully and ensure you don’t see anything out of the ordinary.
How Should You React To Your Cat Chasing Its Tail?
In most cases, your cat is chasing their tail because they’re bored or are simply playing. However, there may be underlying problems going on.
So, one of the first things you’ll want to do is monitor your cat.
There shouldn’t be much concern if you notice them chasing their tail for the first time.
Look at their body language and ensure they’re not aggressive or agitated. For example, ensure their pupils aren’t dilated and their ears aren’t flat on their heads.
In addition, if it’s the first time your cat has gone at their tail and they don’t seem to be stopping, try to get close enough to check out their tail.
Maybe their tail has an open wound that’s bothering them, or maybe it’s an itch they can’t seem to scratch.
Also, they could have bug bites or fleas if your cat goes outside often. If that’s the case, then always keep up with putting flea and tick prevention on your cat.
On the other hand, if your cat does it once and doesn’t bother with their tail again for a while, then there’s most likely nothing to worry about.
However, you’re always welcome to bring it up to the vet at their next appointment, especially if your cat suddenly chases its tail. It’s always good to let your vet know these things in case anything else should happen.
Finally, if you notice your cat chasing their tail and something seems off, make a note about when and how long they were going at its tail. Keeping track of it might help you narrow down what’s going on with your kitty.
Question Corner: FAQs About Cat Chasing Tail
If you want to learn more about why your cat keeps going at their tail, check out some of the frequently asked questions below.
Why Is My Cat Chasing Another Pet’s Tail?
If your cat is chasing another cat’s tail or your dog, they might be playing. Once again, if something moves, they might think it’s something for them to catch. Watch their body language, though, and make sure they’re not being aggressive about it.
Why Does My Cat Put Their Tail In My Face?
Putting their tail in your face signifies they’re trying to communicate with you. For example, if they’re hitting you with their tail, they might try to get your attention or show you that they’re interested in you.
Is A Cat Chasing Its Tail Normal?
Depending on the cause and age, cats chasing their tail is normal. It could be a sign that something else is wrong like they have an itch, are understimulated, or have Hyperesthesia. However, in most cases, they chase their tails to play and practice hunting.
A Cat Chasing Tails Isn’t Always Bad
As long as you keep an eye on your cat and their body language, there shouldn’t be any reason to fret. Of course, you can let your kitty’s vet know so you can be on the same page. Otherwise, let your cat have fun with its tail and other toys mimicking a tail.
Rachel Poli is a content writer and author, but her real job is being a stay-at-home pet mom. Her zoo currently consists of a dog, a cat, two turtles, and two fish tanks. She’s also an avid pet sitter for a few local families, caring for various animals.
After realizing how little information there is for pet sitters on the internet, Rachel decided to start her own animal website. She strives to educate pet parents and pet sitters about the overall care of our furry friends.