Tail always going?

dustytiger

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Mar 27, 2013
Messages
85
Reaction score
40
I have been given a small, 8 year old female cat, spayed, all her shots, healthy girl to watch for a couple months but I was told that she's broken her tail in the past so it's sensitive.

That said, her tail NEVER stops moving. Like unless she is asleep, her tail is lashing. Like wagging one way and another, flopping, hitting things pretty hard, just always giving me like an "agitated" vibe. The fur on her back is also always sort of standing. Like not full stand but kinda spikey in a way that makes me feel like she's uncomfortable or in some kind of pain. She also kinda give me like crazy eyes, like she'll tilt her head sort of one way to side-eye, like I've seen kittens do in play fights but then she'll like heatbutt a hand affectionately, like she can't figure out if she wants pets or to throw down.
Sometimes she WILL just give you a nip or a REALLY hard smack (but without the use of her claws) while remaining purring. That's not SO odd to me, as I know cats get over stimulated and I have kitties that do that if I mess with them, but she gets super easily over stimulated.
I just feel like she's extremely sensitive both physically and emotionally, and like she's not comfortable at all. I'm trying to give her space, idk if maybe I shouldn't offer pets when she gets close too? I try not to approach her or reach out unless she comes to sit close to me.

I asked her owner about all this and she said it's normal behavior for her, that she is just Like That even at home. She said her vet said it's just her disposition, but like....
I've raised a lot of cats in my time and I feel like something is wrong. Is there any way I can sort of work on these things with her?

Here is a video of her tail when she is mostly calm. She is also just staring at a wall that has nothing I can see on it.


Edit: I took another video of how her tail is usually going
New video by Ally Robin
 
Last edited:
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

dustytiger

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Mar 27, 2013
Messages
85
Reaction score
40
I added a second video to the main post, but yeah!
I was thinking the same, I was gonna pitch her owner the idea that I might take her to a different one in my area because it seems a little disrespectful to take her without permission.

But yeah, idk she seems to be a little odd to me too :C
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
6,783
Reaction score
34,542
Location
Southern U.S.
Her tail doesn’t look like it was broken from what I see. No lumps or dislocated area. It certainly functions! Did they tell you how she got hurt or where they injury was? I wonder about pinched nerve pain. She does seem very agitated. Have you seen her do this in her home environment? I wonder if it’s worse since she is not at home? I know you said that she is always like this but have they seen the video? I ask because I do feel she is upset but also because I have a Tortie that has an excitable tail. She gets a disgusted expression and whips her tail on me. She does this ever single night when she lays down on my stomach at bedtime. Her tail is like a separate beast! Lol I know that my Muffin is purring and making biscuits so, apparently it’s a form of excitement due to getting one on one time. Maybe telling me that she is on top of me and in charge? She also does the tail thing when she is trying to dominate other cats or confronted and scared. However, when she missed a jump and hurt her paw once, the tail went wild. This is tough. If I didn’t know she had previously had a tail injury I might just think she is very agitated but it should not be like this “all the time.” The ruffled back fur can be a sign of agitation or pain too. If she never seems comforatabke during waking hours, I would absolutely want more information. If the tail injury was near her back, it could be a spinal problem. Poor Sprinkles! Right now we can only go on instinct and experience as cat lovers. I would show the owners how she is in the video and if they see that as the same way she acts all the time, I would hope you can convince them that making sure she is not experiencing pain is the way to go. The injury may be an old one but things like arthritis can develop. Another vet opinion is what I would like to see happen. It could make a huge difference in her quality of life. Please do let us know what you find out or if you notice anything else. Eating hunched over? Difficulty squatting in the litter box? Hesitating to jump up? Etc. Maybe taking some notes of your observations for the owners? At eight years, she may be feeling a bit of new pain. If you have her for a couple of months, I hope they gave you permission to get vet care if you feel concerned. If not, ask for it, “just in case” something comes up. Whenever I had to leave my child I gave permission for medical care and I would do the same for my cats. I have done that for my cats! Good for you for paying attention and caring! Can you kitty sit for me sometime? :heartshape: :) They are lucky to have you acting as guardian for her!
 

ArtNJ

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
3,094
Reaction score
3,436
Its striking to me that I can't find *anything* at all on the web with "cat tail" and "non-stop" or "constant". You can find various guides on why cats move their tails, but none include those words. In today's day and age, you can find something on everything online. So whatever this is, it is very rare. Read up on hyperthesia, just in case its an unusual presentation, it will give you other things to watch for. But the tail alone, and constant, doesn't sound like that.

If your friends got the cat as a kitten are are telling you she has been like this her whole life, I'm not sure there is much for you to do. If its truly a lifelong thing, that would seem to rule out most medical issues except maybe something neurological or hormonal, which you probably couldn't do anything about anyway. Taking the cat to vet on your own is one thing, but subecting the cat to a battery of tests, blood, xray, etc, without permission is another imho. And I just don't know what the vet could say without that stuff. If your friends are truly saying this is a life long thing, I'd let this go. But as mentioned, you could take a video and take another stab at telling them this is nonstop and you have never heard of such a thing. Maybe on further inquiry they will note its been different after the broken tail. That injury could have come with some sort of neuro damage I suppose.
 
Last edited:
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6

dustytiger

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Mar 27, 2013
Messages
85
Reaction score
40
I took a couple more videos of her this morning. One is of this little rolling thing she does whenever she cleans herself and the other is how she reacts to an over-the-head-down-the-back pet

Rolling video

Pets video

Her tail doesn’t look like it was broken from what I see. No lumps or dislocated area. It certainly functions! Did they tell you how she got hurt or where they injury was? I wonder about pinched nerve pain. She does seem very agitated. Have you seen her do this in her home environment? I wonder if it’s worse since she is not at home? I know you said that she is always like this but have they seen the video? I ask because I do feel she is upset but also because I have a Tortie that has an excitable tail. She gets a disgusted expression and whips her tail on me. She does this ever single night when she lays down on my stomach at bedtime. Her tail is like a separate beast! Lol I know that my Muffin is purring and making biscuits so, apparently it’s a form of excitement due to getting one on one time. Maybe telling me that she is on top of me and in charge? She also does the tail thing when she is trying to dominate other cats or confronted and scared. However, when she missed a jump and hurt her paw once, the tail went wild. This is tough. If I didn’t know she had previously had a tail injury I might just think she is very agitated but it should not be like this “all the time.” The ruffled back fur can be a sign of agitation or pain too. If she never seems comforatabke during waking hours, I would absolutely want more information. If the tail injury was near her back, it could be a spinal problem. Poor Sprinkles! Right now we can only go on instinct and experience as cat lovers. I would show the owners how she is in the video and if they see that as the same way she acts all the time, I would hope you can convince them that making sure she is not experiencing pain is the way to go. The injury may be an old one but things like arthritis can develop. Another vet opinion is what I would like to see happen. It could make a huge difference in her quality of life. Please do let us know what you find out or if you notice anything else. Eating hunched over? Difficulty squatting in the litter box? Hesitating to jump up? Etc. Maybe taking some notes of your observations for the owners? At eight years, she may be feeling a bit of new pain. If you have her for a couple of months, I hope they gave you permission to get vet care if you feel concerned. If not, ask for it, “just in case” something comes up. Whenever I had to leave my child I gave permission for medical care and I would do the same for my cats. I have done that for my cats! Good for you for paying attention and caring! Can you kitty sit for me sometime? :heartshape: :) They are lucky to have you acting as guardian for her!
So the tail injury occurred when she got her tail caught in my friend's father's wheelchair. They took her to the vet after it happened as her tail went completely limp, they did an x-ray and the vet said it was fractured at the base and gave them pain medication for it. He told them that if it stayed limp and got in the way of her daily functions, they could amputate it.

It stayed for a few months a limp state and eventually regained function on its own, though. She said that it IS always moving like that, though, but she can't remember if that was how it moved before the incident as that occurred about a year after they'd gotten her as a kitten, but she does say that she used to be able to cuddle and snuggle and after it she wouldn't wanna be cuddled at all. She also said that the puffy fur down her spine is the result of the injury, that she noticed for sure, but she chalked the tail wagging to Sprinkles just having been traumatized by the incident and becoming kind of aggressive in general because of said trauma.
She takes Sprinkles for yearly visits and the vet says she's doing great, though.

I DID notice her tail movement when I would visit, but I also chalked it up to her being upset with a stranger in her territory. Since she's been here, though, I get the impression she really wants affection and attention, she'll come, meow for it, slow-blink and purr but you can't really give her much more than a couple pets before it seems too much for her and she'll give a warning bite or smack. She also seems to retreat after a couple pets for about ten to fifteen minutes before returning, getting pets, then retreating again and repeating the cycle.

Neither of us have noticed any difficulties using the litter box or movement in general. She is a very playful cat, she'll go nuts for a string, chase it, jump, pounce, the works. She also scales things with ease, and has found her favorite spot to be the shelf above my computer table.

The only other odd thing I have noticed is the grooming rolling. I put the video of that at the beginning of this post. She rolls that way, cleans her face and tummy and then rolls more, seemingly to rub her back? I was weirded out by it because it reminded me of how female cats will roll in heat, but she is spayed so I was confused when I first saw it n thought it was a territorial thing, like marking her new place as hers maybe?


Its striking to me that I can't find *anything* at all on the web with "cat tail" and "non-stop" or "constant". You can find various guides on why cats move their tails, but none include those words. In today's day and age, you can find something on everything online. So whatever this is, it is very rare. Read up on hyperthesia, just in case its an unusual presentation, it will give you other things to watch for. But the tail alone, and constant, doesn't sound like that.

If your friends got the cat as a kitten are are telling you she has been like this her whole life, I'm not sure there is much for you to do. If its truly a lifelong thing, that would seem to rule out most medical issues except maybe something neurological or hormonal, which you probably couldn't do anything about anyway. Taking the cat to vet on your own is one thing, but subecting the cat to a battery of tests, blood, xray, etc, without permission is another imho. And I just don't know what the vet could say without that stuff. If your friends are truly saying this is a life long thing, I'd let this go. But as mentioned, you could take a video and take another stab at telling them this is nonstop and you have never heard of such a thing. Maybe on further inquiry they will note its been different after the broken tail. That injury could have come with some sort of neuro damage I suppose.
I mean, I def wouldn't wanna do anything her owner wouldn't approve of. I'm only really trying to find answers because I feel like Sprinkles has been labelled an aggressive or mean cat a little unfairly. When she would tell me about Sprinkle's aggression I thought it was just, yknow, how some people more accustomed to dogs kind of can't read cats at all and that she was simply over-stimulating her. Upon having her here, though, it definitely seems like something is up.

I did look into hyperesthesia, though, and I haven't noticed any kinds of twitches or self-mutilation, but I just might not be able to figure out what a really prominent twitch looks like. Her owner confirmed that the puffy fur down her spine was a result of her injury, but I do see her as being jumpy and easily over-stimulated, though, so it def seems possible to me.
I did ask my friend for permission to take her to another vet, though, so if she says yes, I'll try to get her checked out and see if maybe something else shows up.
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
10,763
Reaction score
13,937
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
Hi. I watched the videos and her demeanor. I think she is fine. Perhaps, there is some involuntary muscle or nerve-related spasms due to the injury.

It is possible that her behavior is slightly exaggerated because she is out of her normal element. But, I don't see anything to be worried about beyond that.

EDIT: There are cats that just don't want petting/cuddling/etc. unless they instigate it themselves. She might just be one of those cats.
 
Last edited:

Hellenww

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
705
Reaction score
988
Location
South Jersey, USA
Watching her face and eyes in your videos, she doesn't look like she's in distress. No idea what to make of the active tail. I've also seen cats roll around on their back like that but washing her face that way is unusual and cute.

Does your friend consider the warning nips and swats agression or continue pets after being warned?
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9

dustytiger

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Mar 27, 2013
Messages
85
Reaction score
40
Hi. I watched the videos and her demeanor. I think she is fine. Perhaps, there is some involuntary muscle or nerve-related spasms due to the injury.

It is possible that her behavior is slightly exaggerated because she is out of her normal element. But, I don't see anything to be worried about beyond that.

EDIT: There are cats that just don't want petting/cuddling/etc. unless they instigate it themselves. She might just be one of those cats.
Watching her face and eyes in your videos, she doesn't look like she's in distress. No idea what to make of the active tail. I've also seen cats roll around on their back like that but washing her face that way is unusual and cute.

Does your friend consider the warning nips and swats agression or continue pets after being warned?

Honestly, if she isn't reading as in pain, that is a relief! Like, I mainly got alarmed because the puffy fur and tail going are like usually indicators there is something hurting or bothering my cats, so seeing her like that had me concerned, but tbh if she is just a little oddball or a sensitive bab, I'd be fine!
I mean, I'm not really trying to push her into becoming a cuddle bug, I just thought something may be wrong, but I am also a worrywart so y'know. And her owner did say her general disposition changed after the injury, like she said Sprinkles was a lap cat, and would snuggle at night, but stopped after her tail was fractured.


As to my friend's response to her aggression, she seems to be reading a lot of emotions in Sprinkles, yknow as some people tend to do with their pets, and she sees it as Sprinkles trying to be naughty or malicious and used to verbally scold her and say "No" or "bad kitty!" if she does it. I talked to her about it a few months ago and said that, yknow, cats don't really do things out of spite, they don't have it in them, and she's said that since she's stopped scolding her after moments of aggression, the "attacks" have decreased significantly and have become less violent.

Personally, I have only been on the receiving end of nips and smacks, and the only time I've been full-on scratched by Sprinkles in the four days she's been with me is when a noise outside the window startled her while she was in my lap and she responded by giving my arm a bit of a claw and hissing before running away, which I think is understandable, y'know, I don't think she really trusts me yet to not see me as a threat when she is surprised. However, my friend has been on the receiving end of much harsher injuries, like proper scratches and bites, some of the scratches having been delivered with such force that they also bruised her.

She also says that if she holds eye-contact with Sprinkles, she'll get attacked by her. Which, Sprinkles does tend to sort of come up, sit pretty much directly in front of you and stare. I usually offer her my hand to see if she might want pets, but if she doesn't I just don't return the stares, but I can see how it might come off as an intimidation tactic or as something to instigate a fight because of her tail motions being as they are.

I know when I first had her come up and stare I thought she might launch at me because of her tail swinging really hard from side to side, but she hasn't done it so far and when I blink at her she blinks back so I think she's a good kitty at heart.
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
10,763
Reaction score
13,937
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
I think you have pretty much nailed the reason for some of Sprinkles' behavior - her owner's reaction and 'discipline' tactics. I hope you will follow up with her from time to time to see if she is staying away from the scolding, and if that continues to help Sprinkles' overall demeanor. And, any skittish cat especially is going to react defensively to being stared at. You more so because you are 'new' to her.
But, her owner's previous behavior with her has probably exacerbated that. These are all the kinds of things people need to learn about the personality of their cats - which can change over time due to age (and events, e.g.; injury) - and respond accordingly/appropriately.

I think the tail injury could have changed her personality to a degree, but I also still wonder if the tail twitching is what I suggested - involuntary due to muscle/nerve spasms. I don't suggest you do it, but maybe you can convince Sprinkles' owner to think about consulting with a specialty vet about the tail and if there is anything that could be done to help with that. It could also bother Sprinkles that her tail moves like that.
 

DreamerRose

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 11, 2015
Messages
7,260
Reaction score
7,063
Location
Naperville, IL
Mingo's tail constantly moves and twitches like that, but I've never thought anything about it. He's just a sensitive kitty. I've also noticed that his spine near the base of his tail is super sensitive, so I avoid touching him there. It could be there's an irritated nerve in your kitty.
 

susanm9006

Willow
Top Cat
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
6,607
Reaction score
11,506
I think she is fine. Some perfectly healthy and happy cats have tails that constantly move. If you want to see one, check out Maru on YouTube. He is a wonderful, very chill cat with a non stop tail.
 
Top