Why does your cat hunt his own tail ?

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Who has ever seen a kitten spining on himself to catch his own tail ? It’s a show adorable and hilarious at the same time.

If it is a kitten

Playing to hunt his tail is completely normal for a kitten : indeed, a kitten is not still completely conscious that his tail is a part of his body, and this small thing which stirs behind him certainly has to be a toy, or a prey.

If it is a grown-up cat

A grown-up cat knows that his tail belongs to his body and doesn’t normally play to hunt it. Certain cats with infantile temperament can again do it briefly, very occasionally. There is no reason to worry about it for the majority of cats. Pixie still hunts her tail from time to time : two pirouettes, less than 10 seconds, then she goes to play with a ball or another toy.

But in certain cases, this “game” can degenerate and be the sign of a health problem or a behavior disorder. The cat can attack his tail and bite it violently : the pain he feels then and the situation are going to terrorize him. This scene can reproduce repeatedly, and the situation becomes more and more terrible for the cat. How to help him ?

Only a veterinarian, or better, a behaviouristic veterinarian, can propose an adequate treatment. The aggressive behavior of a grown-up cat to his tail can be due to an abscess, to an damage of the nervous system, to anxiety or still to hyperactivity.

Do you know cats who hunt their tail ?

26 thoughts on “Why does your cat hunt his own tail ?

  1. Athena and Marie

    Athena doesn’t do it but my brother’s cat Molly does and I actually have a video of her doing it. It’s so funny! She’s just playing with it really. I’ll have to share it on our blog!

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

  2. frimousse

    As far as “hunting tail” is concerned, I, Frimousse, am an expert. I’ve been hunting my tail for nearly nine years! And hunting my tail is the most ‘gentle’ of my troubles. ‘Cause sometimes I try to bite and cut it. Sometimes I groan ferociously as if I was going to attack my Masters and my friend RouXy.
    My doctor she told my Masters the only solution is ignoring me, going to another room.
    And I am still well and alive and a loving silver tabby.

  3. Aimable Cats

    When Parker became an inside cat about three years ago, she did not have much to do. I did not play with her, and she didn’t have mice or birds to chase — so she had to chase her tail. I started playing with her — little plastic balls, a feather on a string — and now she’s happier and sleeps through the night most nights.

  4. da tabbies o trout towne

    pixie & zorro….sauce used ta chaze hiz tail….him could spin & spin… then tern ona dime N spin de other way N never miss a beat !! ♥♥♥

    heerz two a king oh de herrings kinda week oh end ♥♥♥

  5. Mr Bumpy Cat

    I don’t hunt my tail, but another cat once did.

    Mum took me to the vet with this stick thing sticking out of my tail, the vet pulled on the stick thing gently and my tail curled up. The stick was a broken piece of tail ligament, that had come out in a cat fight.

    I had a night at the vet’s and that adventure was over, but my humans still claim I have the world’s most expensive tail. And the vet said he’d never seen anything like it.

  6. Summer

    My half brother Chilly used to chase his tail a lot! He still does it every now and again… but then, he’s not even a year old yet, so he’s still technically a kitten, even if he competes in cat shows as an adult!

  7. Ellen Pilch

    KaTwo hates her tail, it always has scabs on it from her attacks. She was diagnosed with hyperesthesia. I tried a medicine that is for seizures and it didn’t help.

  8. The Menagerie Mom

    What a great post. I’m glad you bring light to the fact that tail-chasing can of course be play, but also a sign of more serious conditions. My kitten Eddy chases her tail in play on occasion, but as she ages it happens less and less frequently. Thanks for sharing! Purrs!

  9. Raven

    One of my kitties used to chase his tail for entertainment. It’s was funny because he was a bit “round” and wasn’t the most agile kitty.

  10. LP

    We have seen kittens chase their tails and Wilhelmina our puppy chases her tail at times . All sweet, playful antics 🙂

    the critters in the cottage xo


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