Can Cats’ Tails Be Broken?

Can a cat have a broken tail? If so, what can be done for it?

Yes, a cat’s tail can be broken. The cat’s spinal cord does not extend as far as the beginning of the tail, meaning that tail injuries rarely result in spinal injuries. The tail consists of vertebrae (called "caudal" vertebrae), muscle, ligaments and tendon. Tail injuries do not usually result in an obvious external wound and are normally noticed because of nerve damage – whereby the expressiveness of the tail in its normal behavior is reduced. Cats with broken tails might also have slight incontinence, diarrhea or lack of coordination in the rear limbs.

Tail injuries can involve dislocation of one or more vertebrae (where the injury is a result of the tail being pulled or twisted) or a fracture of a vertebrae (where the injury is from a trauma). The longevity of symptoms associated with a break depends largely on whether there has been any nerve damage. If the tail has lost mobility, your veterinarian might consider amputation, as it is likely that the tail would be soiled and potentially injured often. If there are symptoms such as incontinence, the long-term outlook for healing is limited, since nerve damage is most likely permanent