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Tail Chewing

Kelly88

Lairian
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
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1
Points
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I adopted two sphynx in the summer and after completing the 12k bag of hills kibble that I was given I transitioned to raw diet for two reasons; one because I believe raw is the most natural, and second because one cat had a very sensitive stomach with unhealthy rancid runny faeces. (This was apparently a continuous issue and the previous owner had trouble finding a kibble that caused the least problem)

My mother feeds her dogs raw and has done for some years so I have vast knowledge on the subject of raw feeding.
I use a barf approved commercial brand, split feeds into 3 meals per day, water always available and feed around 4.5% instead of the 2-3% recommended to account for their higher metabolism.

They have healthy body scores, slim but not boney - I cut jumpers for them from my leggings to help them conserve energy and heat in these colder months, they are very personable and lovable and although they don't play or snuggle with my young cat, they tolerate eachother very well with no signs of hostility or territory squabbles.

I have multiple litter trays and water bowls, many choices of scratchers beds and hidey holes and fed in separate rooms to avoid stress during meal time.

The sensitive stomached cat, Roche, began chewing his tail. When I say chewing.... I mean swallowing and lightly gnawing.... not enough to cause open sores but it is extremely gross, alarming to see and hear and very worrying behaviour.

I did some research and concluded stress was the issue. Signs are similar to but not quite fitting hyperesthesia. He doesn't erratically and viciously attack his tail, he gently paws it around to his front, lifts it up and just carefully sets to work swallowing the damn thing

Since the kitten was reaching maturity and not yet neutered (he is going to be) then I figured there were silent signs I was missing. But just in case, I topped up all cats with broad spectrum wormers.
Lemon juice sprayed on tail had no effect. Bitter apple spray works only for a short time because with no hair, there's nothing for it to cling to. It wipes off on the fabrics and he still swallows away.
I then plugged in a feliway diffuser just before christmas and lo and behold! No tail chewing.

That was until last night, I caught him at it again.

It then occurred to me that over christmas after missing last post for new batch of raw, I've had to feed kibble and onl switched back to raw in the last 3 or so days.

His tail chewing wasn't due to any other external stress - it coincides with the raw food

Why would this be?
 

Bailey21

V.I.P Lairian
V.I.P Lairian
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Jan 8, 2018
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My boy has always chewed his tail, since he was 4 months old. He stopped for a couple months and randomly started again. I've given up trying to stop him. I think he does it as a comforting thing, kind of in the way a baby sucks their thumb. I've seen quite a few other sphynx on instagram who also chew their tail. @Xandria boy Max chews his tail as well, and last I heard she was largely trying to redirect him with toys which to the last of my knowledge was working!
 

Cinafina

V.I.P Lairian
V.I.P Lairian
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Jul 25, 2018
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Neither one of boys has ever done any tail chewing, but I would agree with @Bailey21 that it's not necessarily a stress thing. As long as Roche isn't hurting himself and creating wounds on his tails, it might not be cause for serious concern.

Of course, if he starts to chew until he breaks the skin, then it's a different matter, since it can lead to infections. I can imagine it's a bit gross, but unless it takes a turn for the worse, I'd just keep an eye on it. Distracting him when he's doing it is also a good idea.
 

Toa and Ross

Moderator
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Jan 23, 2015
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We've seen more tail chewing sphynx here. Hope those members will chime in.
Try to redirect him with a toy when he chews on his tail. As long as his skin isn't getting sore I wouldn't worry too much about it.
 

tuffysmommy

Lairian
Joined
Jan 10, 2011
Messages
74
Points
49
Paka never got to nurse. She never saw her mother. When she was a kitten she used to suck her paw until it got raw to fall asleep. Not bleeding but obviously sucked. Since we slept together I would separate the paw from the mouth with my arm. She would snuggle up to me and fall asleep. However then she started sucking her tail after I tried to stop her from licking the pillow case (stupid human) and then she started sucking her tail. I separated her from doing that again my introducing my arm. Now she only does it to show me she’s mad at me because she knows it upsets me and causes a reaction. She was recently sick and crated went back to her paw. Now that she is free most of the time she isn’t doing it at all so far. The vet says she isn’t hurting her tail. I’ve tried an Ora worm for teeth and a fish for teeth but she shows no interest. Good luck. A Sphynx rules your world, I’ve found.
 
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