Can a Cat’s Tail Be Broken?


Can a cat's tail be broken

A cat’s tail is essentially an extension of their spine, and contains a lot of vertebrae. These bones can potentially be broken, especially in certain situations. Some of the most prominent reasons for a broken tail include getting their tail trapped in a door, being trodden on by accident, being bitten by another animal, being hit by a car or other vehicle and having their tail pulled sharply.

Tail injuries can be very serious, although minor damage can sometimes heal by itself. Here is our guide for recognising when your cat may have suffered a tail injury and what to expect next.

 Signs of a Broken Tail

Some of the common indications that your cat may have suffered injury to their tail include:

  • A noticeable kink in the tail indicates that an injury has occurred.
  • Pain in the tail area is touched.
  • Evidence of a bite or other injury.
  • Swelling in the tail area.
  • The tail hanging down and not supporting itself properly.
  • Balance issues and/or difficulty walking or moving.
  • Faecal and/or urinary incontinence or being unable to empty their bladder and/or bowels at all.

 Potential Consequences of a Broken Tail

Some tail injuries can potentially be very serious. In some scenarios, they can affect the spine, bowel and bladder. Injury to the tail can be very minor and heal by themselves but depending on the severity of the damage, there can be lasting repercussions.

 Diagnosis for Broken Tail

If you suspect that your cat has a ‘tail injury’, take them to the vet immediately. A vet can determine if the tail is definitely broken very quickly and will then look to confirm which part has been affected, how extensive the damage is and if there is any impact on the spine and other parts of the body. This may involve x rays, a physical examination and manipulation of the tail.

Change to Treatment for Tail Injuries

Treatment will depend on the severity of the damage. A minor injury may only require pain relief and possibly antibiotics. Severe injury including most broken tails will usually require surgical treatment and amputation may be indicated.

Paralysis of the tail will often result in amputation, especially if feeling in the tail is not expected to return. This is likely to be the case even if movement and the spine have not been impacted.

As a worst case scenario, a vet may recommend putting a cat to sleep if there is permanent and irreversible damage to the spine and legs, and bladder and/or bowel control has been permanently affected.