Odd tail chasing

by Mike

I own two cats, Frodo and Raphael, from the same litter. Frodo is very talkative, playfully aggressive, and seems to be the more intelligent of the two (I've taught him tricks). Raphael is a lap cat, very friendly, and very... VERY lazy.

The odd behaviour is with Frodo - he's grown accustomed to chasing his tail whenever he is alone, and I don't mean when we leave him for hours - the SECOND he is alone, he will begin chasing his tail. He will get so into his tail chasing that he won't notice anything else... until he bites down on his tail or gets his claw stuck once he catches it.

He will do it 10 times a day, and that's only when I'm home. When he catches his tail he growls, usually turns to an angry, low meow, as if he were facing an unfamiliar cat. Is this a problem? Possibly something he will grow out of soon...?

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Feline Hyperesthesia?
by: Kurt (Admin)

Hi Mike,

Priscilla used to chase her tail, but I don't think I ever remember her doing it until after she was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and had mild hyperthyroidism to go with it.

But, I spent a lot of time with her, and only noticed her chasing her tail every so often. The extreme behavior you describe, I have never seen.

Excessive tail chasing or tail biting, or tail grooming may be signs of a condition known as feline hyperesthesia. There are any number of causes, including food and flea allergies and neurological disorders, and there are any number of symptoms, of which tail chasing is one. So, if it were my cat, I would look into it. I would recommend you talk this over with your vet, and go from there.


"Feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS) is commonly seen in private practice. It is also known as self-mutilation syndrome, rolling skin syndrome, twitchy cat disease, atypical neurodermatitis, and hyperkinesis. Unfortunately there is not much known or published about FHS."

I'll post this on Twitter and we'll see if anyone responds.

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