What Happens After A Cat's Tail Gets Caught Or Crushed?

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Cats typically have beautiful tails, but they do get in the way sometimes. Accidentally stepping on a tail or closing one in a doorway can happen, and when it does, it requires immediate medical care. The tail isn't just a floppy appendage — it's an extension of your cat's spine. Here's what's likely to happen after your cat's tail has gone through an event like this.


The first thing your vet will want to do is to examine the tail in detail. They'll do this physically at first, to determine where the break is and to feel how bad the break is. In other words, they're checking to see if it broke all the way through or if it's a mild fracture. The severity of the break can make a big difference in the treatment protocol.

Your vet will also likely want to take x-rays to get a better look at the tail. They'll show them to you, too, so you can get an idea of what's going on with your kitty's tail.


Treatment varies depending on the severity of the break. If it's a mild fracture, many cats can recover on their own. Tails typically aren't set with a cast like other broken limbs, so the tail will just be left on its own to recover. However, you should make sure to follow your vet's directions explicitly — don't handle the tail, pull on it, or otherwise touch it unless directed to.

Unfortunately, if the break is more severe, different treatment will likely be in order. This may require an amputation of the tail. This can sound cruel, but the reality is, if the tail is badly broken it may be preventing nerves from communicating and can be causing intense pain for your cat. By cutting the end of the tail off before the damage starts, your cat's nerves can resume their normal functioning, and the pain will diminish once your kitty has healed from the operation.


The good news here is that most cats can live happy, healthy lives after a tail break. However, things might look a bit different.

If your cat didn't need their tail to be amputated, there's a chance that the end of their tail may be permanently floppy for the rest of their lives. This is effectively because they can't communicate with the damaged part of the tail anymore, so it remains limp while the rest is upright and active.

If your cat's tail is amputated, they will likely regain all the full motion control over what remains of their tail. Cats with amputated tails often exhibit almost dog-like behavior afterwards, as their tails wag when shortened.

See a vet organization like Berlin Township Animal Hospital if you're concerned about your cat. 

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