As much as a cat’s meow is part of the cat’s communication with other cats and humans, the position of the cat’s tail is also a form of cat communication with humans and other cats. A cat’s tail is multi-functional. Cat parents must be sure that they keep the kitty’s tail free from injuries, infection, and pain. Cats are experts at hiding pain and illness, which means that cat parents must always be on high alert for behavior changes in their cats due to a recent injury. Your cat’s tail has a purpose, and your cat needs its tail to continue communicating moods and behaviors. If your cat’s tail becomes injured or develops a health issue, you can understand how it interferes with the essential communication needs of your best fur baby friend. A cat uses its tail for balance and self-expression during communication, and the tail helps keep the kitty warm.

Why Is My Cat’s Tail Swollen At The Base? 

It only takes one time for your cat to get into trouble and become seriously hurt or killed by outside sources. Cats who frequent the out-of-doors are in danger every minute they spend outside. Yes, cats are wise and intelligent creatures. However, there are bigger and more dangerous animals and people who harm cats because a lot of society does not like these animals and are mean to them. Some children are cruel and think it is funny to taunt a cat on the street. The cat’s tail is usually the first thing other animals and people grab hold of to catch them. The thought of what could happen to a kitty whose owner lets them roam freely out of doors makes my heart ache. For these reasons, I do not let my cat family outside unless they stay within the confines of our privacy fence. All five cats have the privilege of going outdoors within the confines of our yard except for Lil’ Luke, who is an untrustworthy fence jumper. I have seen stray cats chased by other cats, dogs, and people, and the first thing that gets grabbed is the kitty’s tail. Of course, I intervene when I can. So, Could pulling the tail of a cat be why the base is swollen?  Cats who do not frequent the out-of-doors are less likely to have a tail injury or infection.
  • When you notice a swelling at your cat’s tail base, it could be a bite wound, which is the most common thing for outside cats. Cat’s tails are the first thing that gets bitten by another animal. These types of bite wounds from another animal can quickly become infected. Infections occur when there is redness, swelling, heat, and pain in the area. This requires a visit to the vet for treatment. When an outside kitty is injured, it must be kept inside until the area is healed.
  • When a cat is running away from another cat, dog, or human, its tail is the first thing that gets grabbed. Grabbing the cat’s tail can cause a tail-pull injury, and the vet needs to examine your kitty.
  • A cyst can cause a small area of swelling at the base of the tail, as can a tumor. My sidekick, Mia, developed a fifty-cent-sized lump at the base of her tail in 2021. I knew this was not an injury. The vet said to keep watch of the area, and if it seems to be getting larger, they would examine the site again and possibly excise the area. Mia does not go outside or fight with any of my other five cats, so a benign cyst would be my guess. This lump is getting smaller.
  • Cats who are excessively self-kickers and biters can cause a self-inflicted wound at the base of their tail. If your cat has fleas, the base of the tail is one place where fleas like to gather. This causes the kitty to repeatedly bite the area, causing a wound.
  • Cats are nosey and curious critters. Cats can get into trouble by entering dangerous spaces, getting their tail caught on, or into something causing an injury at the base of the tail.

What To Do If My Cat’s Tail Is Swollen At The Base?

If you find your cat’s tail is swollen at the base, you use common sense and take the following steps.
  • Examine the area under a bright light or flashlight to see if there is an open wound.
  • Approximate the measurement of the lump.
  • Feel the lump and watch your kitty to see if it is in pain while you palpitate the swollen area.
  • Monitor the lump for a few days to see if it gets bigger. If it is not going away or seems to be getting bigger, or your cat seems painful, your vet should look at the area as soon as possible.
It is wise to give your cat lots of pats over its body every day and spend some time brushing the fur. When you do this, you can keep up with possible and unexpected changes in your cat’s body, such as a new swelling at the base of its tail.

When To See A Vet About My Cat’s Tail Being Swollen At The Base?

Some cat parents run their fur babies to the vet for anything and everything. I tend to do this myself. I do not ever want to regret not acting soon enough for a lump or abnormal swelling at the base of a cat’s tail. I always practice on the side of caution and make a vet visit as soon as I notice a change in their body, such as a swelling at the base of the tail. My first thought with Mia was the dreaded C word or cancer. When the vet told me that it was a benign cyst or fatty tumor, and to just watch it for the time being. This was a relief to this crazy cat lady. If you are a cat parent, buying a first-aid book for felines is highly recommended. An excellent first-aid book used with an element of some good common sense can help you know when you need to take your kitty to the vets. However, if there is a swollen area and you notice drainage, it could mean infection, and you need to get your kitty to the vet. The vet may order an antibiotic to keep it from worsening.

Common Tail Injuries In Cats

I have already mentioned that an outside cat is significantly more susceptible to all types of injuries and even death. Keeping your cat inside a fenced yard or enclosed porch significantly decreases these injuries from untold dangers. The following are some of the more common tail injuries and what you need to do should they occur.
  • Abrasions are scrapes. Your cat could fling its tail against a sharp surface, and there are plenty of these harmful surfaces outside, such as a barbed-wire fence, wires, machinery, and under-car hoods. Keep the area clean and dry, and keep the kitty inside until the area heals.
  • Lacerations are abrasions, but more severe and profound. A laceration can expose the first couple layers of skin or go through to the muscle and bone. These need the attention of your vet.
  • A tail fracture occurs when the cat gets its tail caught in something. More often, a car door. It all depends on where the fracture is in the tail and the seriousness of the injury, and the cat needs to see the vet. Many cats may get the tip of their tail caught in something and fracture it, and there is not much you can do about this injury as it will heal on its own. The cat’s tail may forever have a slight kink at the tip. Any incident more than this needs your vet’s attention.
  • Nerve damage in the tail occurs when the tail is violently pulled and stretched. This tears and severs the nerves and causes damage higher in the vertebrae.
When I think of all the untold dangers that await any of my cats outside, it helps me remember why my cats are inside. They do not need to run free on the street.
Author

I created and currently run Kitty Cat Tips, the website that you can go to when you have questions about your cat's behavior. It's my hope that you find Kitty Cat Tips to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your cat. You can read more about me and my website here.