Why Do Cats Chase Their Tails?

Why Do Cats Chase Their Tails

We have all seen kittens that appear to be fighting and chasing their tail, and If you have a kitten and it is chasing its tail, then you will dismiss this as normal (cute) behavior, but what if it’s an adult cat? It may be that you just have a crazy cat who likes to play, but it could be caused by something else. In this article, we will take a look at some common reasons.


Ctenocephalides felis is the most common flea that is likely to be found on your cat. Sometimes house cats may show no outward signs that they are infested with fleas. On other occasions, outward signs become apparent, including chasing the tail.

Most people are horrified when they realize that their cat is covered with fleas and will immediately seek treatment. This is a wise decision as fleas can causemany and varied problems:

  • The fleas can carry an early larval stage of tapeworm, which the cat ingests while grooming.
  • If a cat gets fleas from another cat, it can potentially catch several infectious diseases that are carried by fleas.
  • Young kittens can become weakened by the adult fleas drinking its blood. This can also be fatal.
  • Humans may catch cat scratch disease through cat fleas or result in itchy bites around the ankles.

It can sometimes be difficult to find fleas on your cat and it is not unknown for the flea alert to be triggered by those itchy bites on humans. Try combing the cat with a flea cone and placing the hair and debris on a white paper. You may see flea droppings or even fleas.

Infections & Allergies

There is a rare disease called hyperesthesia syndrome. This condition makes the nerve endings on the tail hyperactive, and that “cute” cat chasing his tail may actually be in pain.

Another problem that may cause your cat to be chasing his tail is connected with anal glands. A more unusual reason could be an allergy. Thesedo occur but are less common than infections and anal glands.

Sebaceous glands are responsible for releasing oils that help keep the coat looking good. Unfortunately, these can sometimes produce waxy accumulation at the tail’s base. This is more common in unneutered male cats. Watch out for matted and unpleasant looking clumps of matted hair.

Left unresolved, your cat may also cause further injury by chasing and biting his tail.

Some Other Causes

There are other reasons why a cat may be chasing its tail that are unconnected with medical reasons.. However, it may be just as important to address them.

It may simply be that your cat is bored and chasing its tail adds a little fun to the day. It might also be an indication that the cat is stressed and is seeking to displace those feelings by chasing his tail.

It is essential to understand that a cat has muscles in its tail that it can use to control its position and actions. It is not just some afterthought tagged on to the cat’s body. It can place its tail in a set position and move it at will. Most of the time, however, the tail moves as a reflex to counterbalance a change in position.

Once it’s done chasing its tail, a cat will often want to take a nap

Related Questions

Why Do Cats Bite Their Tails?

This is closely associated with the original question, of why cats chase their tails. However, if the cat is biting its tail, this may lead to further consequences like damage to the tail. This may be a displacement activity and could develop into the cat mutilating its own tail, resulting in it having to be amputated.

In some cases this condition may require drugs to treat what is a form of compulsive disorder.In serious cases the problem can get more severe until physical damage is done.

Do Cats Like You to Play With Their Tails?

Generally speaking most cats will not be happy if you try to pet them on their tales, or interfere with it in any way. The result may well be that the cat gives you a scratch or tries to bite you. This is providing a clear message not to do what you were doing.

Wherever you plan to pet a cat, do not take them by surprise. Hold your finger close to their nose and give them the opportunity to decide if they consider you a threat or not.

The tail also provides you with an indication of their mood. Put simply, the more the tail is moving the more annoyed the cat is becoming, and you should stop touching it.

Do Cats Know the Tail is Theirs?

Be in no doubt, cats fully understand that the tail they are chasing belongs to them. The tail is a physical extension of the spine and controlled by muscles and tendons. It also has nerves providing feedback. If I asked you to place your hand on your butt, you could do so blindfold. You know its there and you know where it is. A Cat would be the same with its tail.

Why Does My Cat Keep Hitting Me With His Tail?

The tail of a cat is one of its communication tools.The way a cat holds its tail gives us an indication of its general demeanor.

A cat may sometimes swipe you with its tail in order to claim its territory. Cats have scent markers in their tail and brushing that tail against you is designed to remind any other passing cats that you are already taken. A cat may rub himself up and around your legs and end with a quick slap. It feels good to the cat and also serves to mark its property. Generally speaking there are more scent glands in the head and the cat rubbing his head against you is more effective.in spreading scent. It is thought that a final slap with the tail is like a final statement that says “You’re done.” once you are completely covered in scent markers.

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