Why Is My Cat Chasing its Tail?
Felines are an inexhaustible source of funny moments, especially for the internet and its surfers. However, if a cat is chasing its tail, it may not be much fun for them. You need to bear in mind certain factors to confirm that it’s just random behavior and not a sign of a disorder.
The reasons for this curious behavioral mechanism change throughout the different life stages of the feline. In this article, we’ll look into it and give you some ways to correct it if it really becomes a problem.
Tail chasing in kittens
In childhood, like other animals, cats learn to function in the world and, in order to do this, they need to explore. Thanks to this, they learn what is harmful or dangerous and what is fun, although along the way you’re bound to observe somewhat eclectic behavior patterns.
When the kitten is chasing its tail, it will usually be developing its hunter instincts through play. In fact, this behavior is very common during this life stage.
As long as you don’t observe wounds or alopecia, you shouldn’t worry – it’s one of the ways that cats learn to hunt things in motion.
It’s also a way to release energy and you’ll surely realize this when the cat starts jumping and playing unexpectedly. If your cat never goes outside, then it’ll need more time to play in order to amuse itself, and so it may chase its tail more than normal.
What if the cat chasing its tail is an adult?
In the adult stage, things change because the feline has already learned to hunt, play and respect limits. That’s why a cat that’s chasing its tail is a more worrying issue when it’s older.
By now, the cat must be mature enough to know that its tail isn’t a toy. Therefore, if it exhibits this behavior repeatedly, you may be dealing with compulsive behavior. Some of the causes of this pathological sign in adult cats are the following:
- Lack of stimulation: If the cat doesn’t have enough environmental enrichment in its day-to-day life, then boredom can lead it to develop stereotypes.
- Socialization deficit: Either with other cats or with humans, if this aspect is neglected, then compulsive behavior may appear.
- Stress and/or anxiety: Cats are very sensitive to stress. For certain individuals, a small change in their routine can cause great discomfort.
- Traumatic episodes: A bad experience, such as abuse or neglect, can affect a feline’s mental health in many ways.
If you know of a case, or think that your cat may be suffering from it, it’s important to work to correct the problem and make it escalate as little as possible. In order to do this, here are some tips for you.
How to avoid or correct this compulsive behavior
Once the origin of this behavior has been correctly diagnosed, the first step is to enrich your cat’s daily life. Here are some of the many ways to do this:
- Socialize with them daily: You live with a cat, so why not enjoy its company? Both playing with them and watching them while they have fun will give you both a good time and they’ll feel good and won’t feel lonely.
- Locate and eliminate all sources of stress: Sometimes it can be a little difficult to know what’s disturbing the animal, but it’s important to suppress these stressors, as otherwise you won’t be able to advance in the recovery.
- Rule out physical illnesses: A condition like external parasitosis can be a cause of the cat chasing its tail. In such a case, as with pain, the cat will also bite its tail.
As with all behavioral problems, the last recommendation is always that, when in doubt, you should go to an expert for advice. Stereotypes can be corrected, but if allowed to continue and grow, they can have dire consequences at all levels — in this case, the cat could mutilate its tail or cause serious injury.
The quintessential solution to prevent the appearance of behavioral problems is to have a good relationship with the animal and enrich its day-to-day life with good times and intellectual challenges. The synergy between you and your cat can only bring you moments of happiness, so don’t stop working on it.