Cat Licking Base of Tail Raw: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Cats are curious creatures, often engaging in peculiar behaviors that can leave their owners puzzled. One such behavior includes excessive licking and scratching, particularly at the base of the tail or hindquarters, leading to the loss of hair in that area. This phenomenon, commonly referred to as "Twitchy Cat Syndrome," can be caused by a variety of factors, one of which is flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). These relentless pests can cause immense discomfort to cats, prompting them to aggressively scratch and lick in an attempt to alleviate the itching sensation. Additionally, dry and itchy skin can contribute to the development or exacerbation of a condition known as hyperesthesia, in which cats experience heightened sensitivity and seem to be in a constant state of discomfort. Understanding the underlying causes of these behaviors is crucial in order to provide appropriate treatment and relief for our feline companions.

Why Is My Cat Licking His Tail Raw?

Cats are known for their grooming habits, but when a cat starts excessively licking their tail to the point of rawness, it may indicate a underlying problem. Dr. Miller, a renowned veterinarian, explains that compulsive licking at the tail head could be a sign of a flea infestation. Fleas can cause intense itching and discomfort, leading cats to constantly lick and chew at their tails in an attempt to alleviate the irritation.

Furthermore, cats with allergies, whether it’s pollen or food allergies, may also resort to excessive licking. These allergies can manifest in various areas of the body, such as the back, abdomen, or other parts. By licking these areas, cats try to soothe the itchiness caused by the allergens. It’s crucial to identify the specific allergen triggering the reaction in order to provide appropriate treatment or remove it from the cats environment.

Dr. Miller stresses that abnormal licking may lead to increased hairballs or hair loss. If a cats constant licking causes excessive shedding, it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. In such cases, it’s vital to consult a veterinarian for a thorough examination and proper diagnosis.

In addition, stress or anxiety can also contribute to a cat licking their tail raw. Cats may resort to excessive grooming as a coping mechanism in response to stressful situations or changes in their environment. Identifying and addressing the source of stress or providing appropriate behavioral therapy can help alleviate the behavior.

Moreover, dermatological issues like infections or irritations can also lead to excessive tail licking. Infections could be caused by bacteria, fungi, or parasites, while irritations may arise from contact with certain chemicals or substances. Proper diagnosis, medication, and suitable preventive measures are essential to treat these underlying conditions.

Early detection and intervention can prevent further discomfort and potential complications for our feline companions.

Common Skin Conditions in Cats That Can Cause Tail Licking

Cats may lick their tails due to various skin conditions that could be bothering them. These conditions are typically found among felines and aren’t harmful to humans. They can include issues like dry skin, allergies, fleas, mites, or infections. It’s essential to monitor your cat’s behavior and consult a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

When cats continually lick their wounds, it can impede the healing process, resulting in a longer and more difficult recovery. It’s crucial to take measures to prevent your cat from licking any wounds to promote optimal healing.

Will a Wound Heal if a Cat Keeps Licking It?

Cats tongues are equipped with small, hook-like structures called papillae that aid in grooming. While this instinctual behavior serves to keep their fur clean and tangle-free, it can be detrimental when it comes to healing wounds. When a cat licks a wound, it introduces bacteria from it’s mouth into the open wound, increasing the risk of infection. This can lead to delayed healing or even exacerbate the severity of the wound.

Furthermore, the constant licking and cleaning motion of a cats tongue can remove the newly formed scabs or granulation tissue that forms during the healing process. Scabs act as protective barriers, preventing dirt and bacteria from entering the wound.

Their rough tongues, lined with tiny, raspy barbs, can abrade the edges of the wound, causing it to become more inflamed and painful. This perpetual irritation can create a cycle of licking and inflammation, making it difficult for the wound to heal properly.

It’s important to note that while a cats licking may have a soothing effect on them, it can cause more harm than good in terms of wound healing. Instead of relying on your cat to tend to it’s own wounds, it’s essential to thoroughly and properly clean the wound, apply appropriate medications, and cover it with a bandage or protective barrier. This won’t only help prevent infection but also give the wound the best chance of healing without unnecessary complications.

One common solution for preventing a cat from licking a tail wound or stitches is by employing an Elizabethan cone, or E-cone, which is a lampshade-style cone that restricts the cat’s access to the wound.

How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Licking His Tail Wound?

Getting your cat to stop licking his tail wound can be challenging, but there are a few strategies you can try. The most common method is to use an Elizabethan cone, also known as an E-cone. This lampshade-style cone prevents your cat from reaching the wound, allowing it to heal undisturbed. However, some cats may find the cone uncomfortable or stressful, so it may take some time for them to get used to it.

Try providing him with interactive toys or puzzles to keep his mind occupied. You can also engage in play sessions to redirect his attention away from the wound. Regular grooming can also help to prevent excessive licking, as it keeps the wound area clean.

These products have an unpleasant taste that discourages your cat from licking the wound. However, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before using any topical sprays or ointments to ensure they’re safe for your cat.

In some cases, an underlying medical condition may be causing your cat to lick excessively. Anxiety, allergies, or pain can all contribute to this behavior. If you suspect this is the case, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment. They may recommend behavioral modification techniques or prescribe medication to address the root cause of the licking.

Providing a calm and stress-free environment for your cat can also help reduce his excessive licking. Make sure he’s a comfortable resting area away from loud noises or disturbances. Additionally, consider providing him with vertical spaces such as cat trees or shelves, as these can help alleviate stress and keep him entertained.

If none of the above strategies prove effective or if the wound doesn’t improve, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian for further guidance and treatment options.

How to Identify if a Cat’s Tail Wound Is Infected

When assessing a cat’s tail wound for infection, look for key signs such as redness, swelling, and discharge. Ensure you check for any unpleasant odor or excessive heat around the wound area. Additionally, monitor the cat’s behavior for signs of discomfort or pain, as this might indicate an infection. If you suspect infection, it’s crucial to seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

If your cat is constantly licking herself to the point of causing raw skin, it may be a sign of excessive anxiety. While a medical diagnosis is advisable to rule out any underlying conditions, anti-anxiety drug therapy prescribed by a veterinarian can help break the cycle of excessive licking. These medications are typically used for a period of time to help the cat cope with stress and aren’t required for it’s entire life.

What to Do if My Cat Is Licking Herself Raw?

It’s important to closely observe your cats behavior and symptoms to determine the underlying cause of the excessive licking. If your cat is licking herself to the point of rawness, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as allergies, dermatitis, or parasites. In such cases, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care to properly diagnose and treat the issue.

If the excessive licking behavior persists despite environmental enrichment, it may be beneficial to consult with a veterinarian. They can evaluate your cats behavior and prescribe anti-anxiety medications if necessary. These medications can help break the licking cycle and provide relief for your cat. It’s important to note that these medications are typically prescribed for a limited period of time, and it’s necessary to closely follow the veterinarians instructions.

Aside from medication, there are also non-pharmaceutical options available to help manage stress and anxiety in cats. These include pheromone diffusers, calming collars, and behavior modification techniques. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on the most appropriate approach for your cats specific needs.

Whether it’s due to a medical condition or behavioral issue, seeking veterinary care is essential in order to provide appropriate treatment and alleviate your cats discomfort.

Potential Medical Causes of Excessive Licking in Cats

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Allergies
  • Dental problems
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Parasites
  • Neurological disorders
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Environmental irritants

Source: Reasons Why Cats Overgroom and How to Stop It

Additionally, it’s important to keep the cat’s environment clean and prevent further injury by minimizing the cat’s activity level. Regularly inspect the tail wound for any signs of infection, such as excessive redness, swelling, or discharge. If the wound doesn’t show signs of improvement within a few days or if the cat’s behavior changes significantly, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian for further evaluation and treatment.

How Do You Treat a Cat’s Tail Wound?

When it comes to treating a cats tail wound, there are a few steps you can take to ensure proper healing. Firstly, it’s important to apply antibiotic ointment to the wound. This helps to prevent infection and promote healing.

To protect the wound and keep it clean, lightly bandage the tail using self-adhering wrap. Avoid using adhesive tape, as it can cause discomfort and restrict blood flow. Be sure not to wrap the bandage too tightly, as this can also impede circulation. Regularly changing the bandage is crucial for maintaining cleanliness and preventing infection.

However, it’s worth noting that cats have a tendency to chew or bite at bandages, which can disrupt the healing process. In such cases, using a bitter apple spray or applying an Elizabethan collar (commonly known as a cone) can help deter them from chewing on the bandage. This additional step can provide further protection and promote faster healing of the tail wound.

Remember that while home treatment may be suitable for minor wounds, it’s always best to consult a veterinarian for serious or deep wounds. If there are signs of excessive bleeding, pus, foul odor, or if the cat is in significant pain, seeking professional veterinary care is imperative.

Signs and Symptoms of a Tail Wound in Cats

When a cat has a tail wound, there are certain signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of this injury. These can include visible cuts, lacerations, or puncture wounds on the tail. The cat may also exhibit signs of pain or discomfort, such as limping or favoring the tail, vocalizing when the tail is touched, or displaying a sensitive reaction when the area is examined. Additionally, there may be swelling, redness, or discharge from the wound site. If any of these signs are observed, it’s important to seek veterinary attention in order to properly diagnose and treat the tail wound.

Cat owners may often wonder why their feline friends exhibit unusual behavior, such as biting the base of their tails. While this could initially seem like harmless playfulness, it’s important to address any underlying issues that may be triggering this behavior. Lack of routine, stimulation, or other environmental factors can cause this seemingly harmless habit to escalate into more serious consequences.

Why Is My Cat Biting the Base of Her Tail?

Cats are known for their playful nature, but when it comes to biting the base of their tail, there can be several underlying reasons. One common cause is a lack of sufficient routine and stimulation in a cats daily life. Cats need mental and physical engagement to stay content and satisfied. If they become bored or frustrated, they may resort to chasing and attacking their own tails as a form of play.

Cats are sensitive creatures, and changes in their environment or routine can trigger anxious behavior. Stressors like new pets, visitors, or even moving furniture can cause a cat to display abnormal behaviors, including tail biting. If you suspect stress is the underlying cause, consult with a veterinarian or a feline behaviorist to develop a plan to manage and alleviate your cats anxiety.

In some cases, biting the base of the tail can be a sign of pain or discomfort. It’s crucial to carefully examine your cats tail and surrounding skin for any signs of redness, swelling, or wounds. If you notice any abnormalities or if your cat appears to be in pain, it’s important to seek veterinary attention promptly.

To address this behavior, it’s crucial to identify and address the underlying cause. Providing your cat with a structured routine, environmental enrichment, and opportunities for play can help alleviate boredom and prevent tail-chasing behaviors. Additionally, regular vet check-ups can ensure that any potential medical issues are promptly diagnosed and treated. It’s always best to consult with a professional to develop an individualized plan to address your cats specific needs and concerns.


In conclusion, it’s important to recognize that a cat licking the base of it’s tail raw could be a symptom of various underlying conditions, including Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) and hyperesthesia. FAD, caused by flea bites, triggers intense itching and discomfort, leading to excessive scratching and hair loss. Identifying and addressing the root cause of the cat's discomfort is crucial in providing appropriate treatment and relief for the animal. Consulting a veterinarian to determine the exact cause and develop a tailored treatment plan is highly recommended when faced with a cat exhibiting such behavior.

Scroll to Top