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Q: Could a pinched nerve in my cats tail cause her to be incontinent?

Original Question: "My cat, Little Tea, recently got her tail caught in my walker. The vet and I think she has a pinched nerve at the base of her tail and her tail hangs to the right. She can move it now better than she could when this happened. The biggest problem is that she has lost the body cue for when she has to pee or poop. Have you ever encountered anything like this?" - Barb


Vet Certified Answer | Answered: November 8, 2017

Hi Barb,

I am sorry to hear about Tea’s accident. My first thought is that so long as it is not painful, an injury like this should not be a major concern. Sometimes however, a tail injury can lead to a total loss of sensation in the tail, so that the pet doesn’t know when there is an injury. This can cause dangerous infections and self-trauma of the tail. In this case, sometimes a tail amputation may be necessary. This procedure is tolerated very well in both cats and dogs, and can prevent a lot of problems. Your vet can help you determine if this is necessary or not.

I am not entirely sure what you mean about “body cue” for urinating and defecating, but if you mean she is incontinent (cannot hold her urine or bowel movements), then this is a big problem. But, if you mean she cannot get her tail out of the way when she uses the litter, then is not as big of a concern – although I suppose it could result in urine or feces getting stuck to her tail (which would be unpleasant). If you think this is really interfering with her quality of life, it would be a good idea to consult with your vet about possible options.

Wishing you all the best!

Dr. Kim Hester


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