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Swollen tail?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
This is an unusual problem, but a worrysome one. My aunt's cat. a two year old indoor female, has a swollen tail. It doesn't appear to be injured, and she seems fine otherwise, healthy appetite, still using litter pan, doesn't seem to be in pain unless tail is touched. She is a very nervous cat and is almost impossible to get into a carrier, and my aunt is elderly, so she'd rather not take her to the vet unless it's absolutely necessary as a last resort. Have any of you ever heard of this, is there any chance it is something that will go away on its own, or is there a home remedy for it?
post #2 of 8
It is absolutely necessary to take the cat to the vet. If it is a problem for your elderly aunt, might you or another relative or neighbour take the kitty for her?

Cats are incredibly good at masking pain (survival instinct), so the fact that she is tender to the touch makes me even more worried. Please ensure that the kitty is taken to a vet first thing in the morning, and please let us know how it goes.

Good luck.
post #3 of 8
It sounds like an infection of some sort - tails don't just swell up! Could be something like a spider bite. If you want to know how serious this is, look for the thread that's called spider bite with pictures or something like that.

If she isn't liking it being touched, then something is definitely wrong.
post #4 of 8
Without a vet to look at it, there's no way to know. My big orange tabby, Alex, once began freaking out if we touched any part past his middle. We took him to the vet and it turned out he had a puncture wound near his anus. Tiny as the wound was, it could have caused serious harm if it hadn't been treated.

Check the phone book and see if you can find a mobile vet. It might be more expensive, but it could be worth not having to put the kitty in a carrier. If can't find a mobile vet, there are tricks to getting the kitty into the carrier. With my squirmy cats, I've found that firmly wrapping them in a towel, and then placing them in the carrier head first but laying on their backs (feet pointed toward the ceiling) helps. While they try to flip over, you have a chance to close the carrier door. Good luck!
post #5 of 8
Oh, if we're giving squirmy kitty tips, here's mine: first I close all the doors in the house (tiny house; only close as many as you have to, to cut off all access out of the room).

Then I put the carrier on the dining room table, with the last 10% hanging over the edge, with the door open (if your floor slants slightly, make sure you open the cage so the door is resting with the slant, not against, or it will be inclined to close on you).

Then I scoop up the kitty, and carry it to the cage and try to shove it in (face first) in one swift move. This usually does not work (though it does sometimes!) but when the kitty tries to brace itself, the only thing available is the floor of the carrier - after that another good push is usually all that's needed to get it in. Once it's most of the way in, you can gently but firmly push closed the door.
post #6 of 8
Mine just came in from the snow with a big swollen lump in her tail!!! Help!
post #7 of 8

You've replied to a thread from 2006, but the advice is the same - take your cat to a vet.

post #8 of 8


It could be an unopened abscess. It will be hard, swollen, hot, and painful. The hair may be missing due to licking or just the swelling and infection may cause. If it has opened on it's own it can be shocking to someone who's never seen that, especially a large one, but it will look like a red bloody icky hole and can definitely bring to mind bad spider bites or gunshot hole (both fairly uncommon but not unheard of)

I have found when the base of tail is swollen it is almost always an abscess from a puncture or bite (since one cat will usually try to turn and run they get it on the butt) but it also could be something else, perhaps infected anal glands that would need veterinary intervention. I understand it being difficult to go to a vet, so UNTIL you CAN...try to apply warm epsom salt compresses. you may have to restrain (hopefully you know the various methods but if not, try youtube), it takes practice but I have found that once they realize you aren't hurting them, they seem to appreciate the warm compress. You would need to do it several times a day for about 20 minutes each time if possible. It may open on it's own but you will probably still need some antibiotics, probably Clavamox (augmentin). If not the vet will need to open it and debride it. I never use neosporin on an abscess, it causes the top to heal before the inside and then the abscess closes up and then you're back to square one. The open wound needs to kept open and I do that by syringing bottled water (vet will sometimes prescribe a wound disinfectant) into it. In a really bad case they will insert a "wick" which is a strip of gauze that keeps wound draining as it heals...in that case an e-collar is needed. I just read that a tincture of valerian root given orally, will sedate and calm a cat before doing a procedure. Ive always added a pinch of valerian root to catnip bc they go nuts for it but after a bit they do mellow out.

I hope some of the following links help somebody!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN94YltkCME AND http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIyfNM6y3vU both on restraining ...keep in mind that you need to be calm, firm, decisive,committed and confident about the technique or the kitty will sense your hesitation and will re-double their efforts  to escape or bite. If you are NOT confident and all wishy-washy about restraining it also makes the cat feel more out of control and they will fight harder. Some cats respond well to gently jiggling their scruff while you are holding. you also need to be aware of what vet says about cutting off cat's ability to breath (2nd link) if it continues to fight really hard and you scruff too long and tight. Cats that continue to thrash and don't give up need different methods. You can practice on mellow kitties at first to become familiar, and if you are scruffing don't scruff too low or they can twist around and bite, and definitely try to get a helper the first few times or when doing certain things you MUST have a second person. It is best to scruff as high on neck as possible but still have a good amount of skin in your hand to hold onto, while using length of your arm against their back to press their body down and restrain.sometimes I have used an e-collar when trying to restrain to help prevent biting. I need to get a cat muzzle. I work with ferals a lot. So much of the time, once I have nursed a feral or aggressive cat back to health, esp one with long recovery time, they come out of it much friendlier and trusting, even though I'm doing things to them that they don't like much. If they are seriously ill though, many of them they know you made them better and appreciate you for it <3.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5fRHWxBDi8 (a VET explaining abscesses)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_W01J8XF2i4 (GREAT ONE ON TREATING AT HOME EXPLAINED BY A VET, although his advice is only for an already opened wound. I feel you can usually get it to open with warm compresses and then follow his advice, if it won't open in a day or two, or cat gets worse/ ill, you will need to go to vet!! I also learned about some new natural alternatives, esp the oregano oil.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b-g6NVO1Rw (this is what you can expect a vet to do, it is video uploaded by a dog owner whose vet was kind enough to let him video record the visit. He was quoted $800 and could not afford it. He took the dog home and the abscess opened on it's own, but nobody evidently told him how to take care of it so it got infected and there is an update video link with pictures of the drain tube in the 2nd vet visit in the about section of his first video)

There are tons more of cat abcesses, treatment, and also tons on how to restrain for various problems.

I hope a little education on swollen tails is appropriate here. I hope you do too. I absolutely love this site, it's the only one I have set up for notifications, although I don't usually have time to go online too much, rescue work is overwhelming and none of the animals get as much play and cuddling time as I'd like, so they come first) and I must say I was surprised to see no "until you get to the vet" advice on this thread! What's important here is that the cat is cared for as best as possible while people gather the resources they need to actually get the cat to a vet. Also I am tired of seeing so many basic problems being rushed to an expensive vet when the majority of complaints can be treated at home and shots can be administered by the owner if they are shown how ( was a vet tech in my 20's and a nurse as an adult). We are all brainwashed and threatened into believing a vet or doctor and pharmaceuticals are always necessary. We are cowed by the medical establishment by fear of legal repercussions. Unless you are misrepresenting yourself I think it is our right to share medical knowledge we have gained by either being in rescue or just because personal pets have been thru it and you want to share what you learned. Having said that, I know there are still many instances in which it is imperative to go to a vet for diagnosis and treatment. I was just dismayed to see the lack of practical knowledge being shared. Note that I did not say medical advice, although that is just a matter of semantics which I don't particularly care for. Many times I have sobbed with an animal in my arms, saying "I'm sorry, I don't know what to do, I can't take you to the vet" and the only thing that comforts me at those times is knowing I would if I could and then I try to find answers online or thru friends, while trying to raise the money thru a donation drive. I am appalled how when loving owners can't go to vet and they turn to HS or spca etc, they have to SURRENDER the animal!!!! Or pts if your vet won't set up payment plan and animal is suffering. WRONG< WRONG< WRONG!!!  So let's help each other :)

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