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Is My Cat a Mental Case?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My 15 month old female tuxedo cat is acting incredibly strange and we're worried. She has continuous fights with her own tail and she's always biting it rather hard. THis is NOT normal tail chasing and playing! She growls at it almost constantly and when the fight starts she sounds like a Tasmanian Devil. She acts like a whirling dervish during this until she catches her tail and then she starts gnawing on it. The last 1" - 1 1/2" of her tail is crooked and was this way when we adopted her. Was it broken and is this causing her some pain? She's been with us since she was 9 or 10 weeks old but the tail biting has only been going on for 2 months now.
She's always been a bit anti-social unless you have cat treats. With those in hand you can pet her for perhaps 20 seconds before she bolts away. If you feed her one she'll take it a few feet away and return for another when she's finished. The longest petting occasions are no more than 30 seconds and these happen once or twice in a week. She's not aggressive to us very much unless we over do it with the touching. She's very likely to jump away if you even flinch a single finger and she'll often run to another room. I can deal with the skittish behavior but not the awful sounds and sights of the tail wars. What gives? Any clues out there?
Thanks,
Andrew
post #2 of 11
Hi and welcome! You have come to the right place for some support and advice!

A few more details may help....Is she spayed? You mentioned her tail has a crook in it, where you given any information about this when you adopted her? And most importantly, have you talked to your vet about this?
If there is any sign of physical discomfort, a vet visit is the first suggestion. It could also be a compulsive behavior built up from little interactive play and socialization. If given a clean bill of health, I would definitely start spending more time stimulating her hunt and chase instincts with interactive play and toys.....
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply!
No, she's not spayed yet. I was thinking this may have some effect on hormones obviously but not in a way to cause self abuse. We don't know much about her life before we got her. We adopted her from a home in Winchester, VA and that lady had 10+ cats and almost as many dogs. Some were her personal pets and others were waiting to be adopted. I think the animals had a fair bit of isolation time with not much social interaction. There were always cats out playing but others were kept apart in laundry basket sized containers. How long they stayed isolated we don't know. When we first visited her she sat on my wifes lap and simply enjoyed the petting/touching to no end. She sat there for almost an hour and just ate up the attention. Within a few weeks of having her here she became stand-offish and not as friendly as before.
We have a few other cats (really the neighbors' cats ) that come in for a visit almost daily. Our cat isn't aggressive towards them but she doesn't interact with them either. They come in and play with each other but our cat doesn't join in. She sits off to the side and is just a bystander.
I don't think her tail causes her any physical pain because this whole crazy business is fairly recent. There were no prior indications to this odd and horrible sounding behavior.
post #4 of 11
My thought as well would be a vet visit first. Any behavior change needs to have a vet rule out health reasons. Especially if this started two months ago.

Being adopted at 9 to 10 weeks old is young enough that she would have been socialized by you, in my opinion. I have rescued many feral kittens with no human contact. Some are outgoing and personable and some are not. They definitely have different personalities.

Get her checked out by a vet and try to remember what was going on in her world (your world also)at that time so you can give the vet as much information as possible.

And having her spayed may help in many ways. Hormones fluctuations are not fun.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwsoldier View Post
Thanks for the reply!
No, she's not spayed yet. I was thinking this may have some effect on hormones obviously but not in a way to cause self abuse. We don't know much about her life before we got her. We adopted her from a home in Winchester, VA and that lady had 10+ cats and almost as many dogs. Some were her personal pets and others were waiting to be adopted. I think the animals had a fair bit of isolation time with not much social interaction. There were always cats out playing but others were kept apart in laundry basket sized containers. How long they stayed isolated we don't know. When we first visited her she sat on my wifes lap and simply enjoyed the petting/touching to no end. She sat there for almost an hour and just ate up the attention. Within a few weeks of having her here she became stand-offish and not as friendly as before.
We have a few other cats (really the neighbors' cats ) that come in for a visit almost daily. Our cat isn't aggressive towards them but she doesn't interact with them either. They come in and play with each other but our cat doesn't join in. She sits off to the side and is just a bystander.
I don't think her tail causes her any physical pain because this whole crazy business is fairly recent. There were no prior indications to this odd and horrible sounding behavior.
Is she strictly indoors? You mentioned your neighbors cats visit regularly, especially not being spayed this can cause stress. Stress can be expressed in so many different physical or behavioral ways. Does she display obvious behavioral changes when shes in heat? My first suggestion is to make an appointment for her to be spayed and talk to your vet about the situation.
post #6 of 11
Sending healing vibes right away
In a past issue of CatFancy Magazine, I saw a letter to the editor that discussed that very problem. I think it is some sort of disorder that is related to epilepsy, or something like that, and sometimes responds to medications, but otherwise, the cat can become aggressive & antisocial. If I can recall more specific info, I'll try to post right away.
post #7 of 11
The condition I was thinking of is called Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome. My advice is to read up all you can about it & then create a diary for your cat recording possible triggers, all symptoms that your wife & you notice, when, etc., how long the episode lasts, etc. and then take her to the vet. This article may help:
http://www.catchannel.com/experts/ar...acks-tail.aspx
post #8 of 11
The only way to know for sure what's wrong is to have your cat checked by a vet. Non of us here are vets and while we may have suggestion and ideas about what might be causing this behavior none of us can say for certain.
post #9 of 11
I agree with the others. I'd see a vet. That's not normal behavior and anytime you see a change like that it's best to rule out medical problems first.
post #10 of 11
In answer to the original question--yes, all cats are, to a greater or lesser extent.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zane's Pal View Post
In answer to the original question--yes, all cats are, to a greater or lesser extent.
Well I think this is true in all of us! To be honest I am definitely more mental/crazy then Maia! I often drive her nuts, constantly talking to her and looking for love! Some times she hides from me to catch some z's. If I yell at something, positive or negative, she comes running up to me, to my face to quite me down...........
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