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Cat having tail problems. Vet says possible amputation :(

(63 Posts)
AbandonShark Wed 05-Aug-15 23:14:16

We picked up our beautiful rescue cat on Sunday. He'd had an op on his tail, as they think it had been trapped and the end had been damaged. It was healing well, still bandaged up when we picked him up but we were assured that it was healing really well and we could take the bandage off in two days.

So we took the bandage off last night. No blood on the bandage and it looks really nicely healed. However.... the cat is freaking out about his tail. At first we thought he was scared of how it looked as he was fine when we were taking the bandage off and it was until he noticed a few minutes later that he went crazy - trying to catch and bite his tail. We wondered if it was because it looked different, but today we've noticed that he seems to flinch when the tip of his tail touches anything, even gently and that makes him snap at it (maybe he thinks something is biting/hurting him?) It must be really delicate as he's nearly constantly flinching and attacking it.

He drew a little blood this afternoon so I took him to the vet. She gave us painkillers in case it's physical, cat anti-depressants in case it's mental (the stress of a new home and delicate tail) but if neither of those work, she wants to amputate it as soon as next week sad

He's curled up purring on my lap at the moment, and is his happy sweet self when his tail isn't bothering him, and we're giving him lots of love. But he looks so stressed when he's moving around and constantly snapping at his poor tail.

What on earth is the best thing to do for him? I wondered if anyone had been through similar with their cat and what the outcome was?

thanks in advance!

cozietoesie Wed 05-Aug-15 23:20:29

Poor lad.

I think you really need Lone on this one - if she's around in the next few days and sees your thread. I seem to recall that one of her own cats is a cruelty case who had to have a tail amputation, possibly even carried out by her? (And the fact that she's an experienced vet doesn't do any harm!)

Maybe keep an eye on the thread?

Lots of luck to him.

AbandonShark Thu 06-Aug-15 00:02:51

Thank you cozie thanks

It's so hard to know what to do for the best, wait and see if it feels better when the fur grows back more, or just take off what's hurting him.. sad

The shelter recommended putting on his buster collar and/or a fake bandage, but the vet advised against that as is will just delay the problem. Argh! I will definitely keep an eye out for Lone.

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Thu 06-Aug-15 00:09:46

Sorry to be harsh but I think it's in the cars best interest to be put to sleep.

Cats communicate with their tail.

If this was a kitten who you have raised I would say get the op done.

I know your heart is in the right place but I think the best for this cat is to be PTS

TheOneWiththeNicestSmile Thu 06-Aug-15 00:16:05

a cat we used to have had half his tail amputated because the end had been damaged (possibly damaged at the vet's while sedated but that's another story hmm) anyway he managed fine with half a tail.

A bit earlier to suggest PTS? your rescue boy's tail might just be really sensitive following the initial surgery.

good luck flowers

ladybird69 Thu 06-Aug-15 00:27:01

Hi Abandon another positive story of a stumpy cat. Mine lost his in a horrific accident but managed to live a long and healthy happy life totally tailless not even a stump! Please don't worry and give kitty a cuddle from me x

Themoleandcrew Thu 06-Aug-15 00:27:25

We had a cat who had most of his tail amputated. At first the end was floppy,Then he started to chew it. They cut off about two inches but he kept chewing the stump. There was blood everywhere. They cut most of the rest off and he was fine. To be fair he was a pretty chilled out cat before.

ladybird69 Thu 06-Aug-15 00:49:04

Hi Abandon another positive story of a stumpy cat. Mine lost his in a horrific accident but managed to live a long and healthy happy life totally tailless not even a stump! Please don't worry and give kitty a cuddle from me x

ladybird69 Thu 06-Aug-15 00:49:44

Sorry stupid iPhone

HirplesWithHaggis Thu 06-Aug-15 01:01:36

I can't agree with Piper. My cat was found (by ds) as an injured feral kitten aged about 12 weeks. Ultimately, his injuries required the amputation of a rear leg and the vast majority of his tail.

He's 10 now. He's an indoor cat because he can't jump (tails are very important for balance) and he's too stupid to be allowed out through the door - he gets lost too easily. He has other defects, including a cataracted eye (from when he was found) and an odd-shaped pupil.

But he's happy, healthy, and much-loved.

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Thu 06-Aug-15 01:18:02

I'm glad people disagree. If it's a kitten then I will say go ahead.

tabulahrasa Thu 06-Aug-15 01:25:16

My neighbour's cat had most of his tail off when he was about 12... I'm not even sure he noticed, lol.

Ok, I'm sure he did notice, but he adjusted very quickly and had a perfectly normal life afterwards.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 06-Aug-15 07:41:55

Yes I have a cat with no tail that I amputated due to a horrific injury.
Firstly my tail amputation do not wear bandages and take pain killers for at least two weeks after amputation.
It takes them a considerable amount if time to get used to no tail at least 3months and maybe more.
I think you are an incredibly long way fro euthanasia and if this was my cat I wouldn't even be thinking about it at this point.
I would also get a feliway plug in to reduce anxiety due to new home.

Limer Thu 06-Aug-15 07:48:08

One of my cats had to have her whole tail amputated after she was hit by a car, she was 3 years old at the time. She recovered very well and lived for another 10+ years with only a tiny stump.

Stepawayfromthezebras Thu 06-Aug-15 07:56:04

Another positive experience of a cat having her tail amputated here. My cat was about 15 when she broke her tail (don't know how) and it had to be amputated. She recovered well and it didn't seem to bother her, she could still jump perfectly well.

brownfang Thu 06-Aug-15 08:09:11

Weird, I've known a few cats with minimal tails & they jumped & climbed fine. How do you think the Manx breed manages so well.
Good luck to OP. x

SunshineAndShadows Thu 06-Aug-15 08:15:35

Agree with Lone

Your cat needs time to heal and adjust. Next week is a bit early to be thinking of amputation assuming there's no deterioration. With time the wound should heal. However if it remains painful or the cat is sensitive and it's not healing then amputation may be the best way forward.
You're a long way from PTS hmm

CotedePablo Thu 06-Aug-15 08:19:57

Another one here with just a stump. He's presently sitting on top of a six foot wall terrorising the passers-by.
Absolutely no way think of PTS.

cozietoesie Thu 06-Aug-15 10:13:20

Thanks for that, Lone.

If he's got a very sensitive tail - and many cats do - pehaps he could do with that pain killer for a little bit, Shark ? (Just to ease his transition.) I know that cats tend to put up with pain in a way that many animals don't but any human here who has gone through pain will know that it makes you so darned tired and irritable even when you smile and try to carry on through it.

(I've seen the enormous difference that pain meds have made to my own elderly boy - even though he would not have eg yowled or bitten with his arthritic pains, he becomes withdrawn and tetchy with the soreness.)

What instructions did the vet give you on dosage? (And what meds did she prescribe?)

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 06-Aug-15 10:36:45

Back again and have a little more time. My tail less wonder almost certainly had 'phantom limb pain' due to her tail amputation as she self epilated around the stump that was left. I kept her on the full dose of metacam for 3months after she came home to me.
Also like yours not only had she had an injury, but she had to spend time in a rescue centre before she came to her forever home so stress was also involved. So I also used feliway too.
Yes cats use tails to communicate and balance, but thousands of cats live happy active lives without tails.

ConcreteElephant Thu 06-Aug-15 11:01:53

Positive story here too.

One of our boys has rocketed through his 9 lives and managed to sneak a few more from somewhere.

He returned from a bit of an adventure with a tail pull injury, whole tail limp. After a rather stressful couple of weeks (not allowed out) spent regularly popping to the vet for them to see if any feeling had returned along the length of the tail (it didn't), the vet amputated to a small stump.

Cat was 3. He's now 14, currently up on the shed roof. The lack of tail hasn't curbed any of his enthusiasm for adventure unfortunately and he's had no problems with balance, jumping or movement in general. He hasn't appeared to suffer from communication problems I don't think but his little stump twitches so it's not entirely unclear when he's annoyed! It has helped others to distinguish him from his brother - looking on the bright side...

HirplesWithHaggis Thu 06-Aug-15 12:11:36

Hmm, I wonder why my cat can't jump?

Mind you, as well as losing a hind leg and his tail, and the cataracted eye etc, he really is outstandingly stupid...

cozietoesie Thu 06-Aug-15 12:30:31 well as losing a hind leg and his tail, and the cataracted eye etc, he really is outstandingly stupid...

What was your first clue? wink

HirplesWithHaggis Thu 06-Aug-15 12:53:44

I suppose the first clue was the way ds found him. He'd got a bit of long grass caught between his toes, (on the leg he lost) and twisted and turned so much trying to free himself that he had actually bound himself tight to the ground with a centimeter-thick grass rope. He was near death from dehydration when he was found, I suppose there may have been some brain damage too.

We definitely improved the local gene pool when he had him castrated! grin

cozietoesie Thu 06-Aug-15 12:59:03

Ah I wouldn't knock him too much for that - long grass is tough stuff and can be the very devil for all animals.

Poor lad. wink

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