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Sore tail.

Species: Cat
Breed: unknown
Age: 5-8 years
Yesterday I noticed my cat acting strange. She has been walking with her tail very close to her body, which she never does. Marley always walks with her tail straight up. She has been hiding, and staying on the main floor of the house which is unusual for her. My guess is because it hurts for her to walk up and down the stairs. She also can't jump onto things. I watched her try to jump onto the couch and she couldn't. Also, when i pet her she acts like she's either in pain or sensitive at the base of her tail/back. Please tell me what I can do, I'm worried.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It certainly sounds like Marley is painful. When cats are in pain, the most common thing for them to do is to hide and not move much.

There are a few things that could cause pain like you have described. The most common thing for a cat of that age would probably be some type of injury to the tail such as being stepped on or having it caught in a door. If this is the case, then there's a good chance that things will improve on their own within the next 48 hours. But, if you think that she is really uncomfortable then seeing the vet to get some pain medication would be a good idea. There is no over the counter pain medication that is safe and effective for cats.

A back injury could be a possibility as well although this is not as common in cats.

Does Marley go outside or have access to other cats? Another possibility is some type of abscess near her tail. It is not always super obvious when this happens. Sometimes there can be a wound under the skin that is infected and can't be seen underneath all of the fur. If she will let you, take a good look at her tail and legs and see if you can see any type of wound or red area on the skin. If there is a wound then Marley really does need to see a vet as this type of problem will only go away with antibiotics prescribed by the vet.

We do see arthritis issues in cats, but usually this would be in an older cat and wouldn't come on all of a sudden like this.

If Marley is eating ok then it is alright to keep an eye on her and just keep her quiet for a day or two. If things haven't improved after the weekend then I would have her seen by a vet. However, if she is not eating much then this can be a sign of something more serious and I would have her seen today.

I hope she feels better soon!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.