Why Do Cats Chase Their Tail

Tail chasing to an adult cat can be thought to be a medical condition. Nonetheless, when the kitten is chasing his tail, it is considered playful and fun as he thinks it is a toy.

Watching your cat chase their tail can make you dizzy, although through your cat behavior one can know if it is due to a medical condition or just for fun.

An adult cat can do this habit out of boredom or just to pass time. Knowing your cat well will help in knowing the real issue if it is associated with a medical condition especially if it starts suddenly.

Cats have funny behaviours which sometimes are hard to understand, for instance, cattail positions can be interpreted differently.

That being said, remember anything excessive in your kitten or pet life can lead to compulsive disorders with time, even tail chasing.

Reasons Why Cats Chase Their Tails

Cattail chasing can look like harmless fun but sometimes it is caused by more serious health issues than just fun.

One can enjoy watching the cat chase the tail as a kitten but during adult life, it should raise some concern.

It is normal for a cat to chase their tail while playing and having fun as a kitten.

Despite this, any change in your cat behavior should alert you something is wrong and may require a checkup by the vet to eliminate any health issues.

Below we have listed reasons that can commonly lead to a cat chasing its tail.

  • Allergy

Food allergies can cause the kitten’s skin and tail to be itchy and dry. Not only will the cat try to reach it and try to scratch but also will go rub at a scratching post or anything else that can reduce the itchiness.

This itchiness can make the kitten very uncomfortable. Check their diet, and eliminate foods that can cause allergies. Importantly, when grooming and bathing them do not use harsh shampoo or detergents.

For allergies avoid any allergen that affects your cat and if severe treat with anti-histamine with consultation with your vet.

These will reduce the itchiness and your cat may scratch so hard or lick its fur leading to hairballs and vomiting.

  • Infestation of Fleas/Worms

It can be uncomfortable for a kitten infested by fleas, and worms. Fleas are often found under the most humid and warm areas like under the belly, at the tail, behind the ears, and along the back.

When brushing your cat with a pet comb during grooming check out for flea dirt, fleas, or red bumps on the fur and skin.

If your cat looks uncomfortable and keeps on chasing its tail, it could be trying to scratch the itchiness away, pat the fur and look for fleas.

We have home remedies as well as commercial methods of eliminating fleas which are explained in our article how to treat and prevent fleas in Kittens.

If the kitten is suffering from internal worms, for example, tapeworm, check the anal area to see if you can see any visible worms and treat as advised by a vet. The worms can cause irritation near the butt area and the cat may chase the tail trying to reach the itchiness.

  • Playmate

Cats are adventurous and make good playmates. If the kitten is not playing at the scratching post or either with an interactive toy, he might be busy chasing his tail. The tail of the kitten looks like another playmate. Besides, when observing your kitten chasing her tail you might feel dizzy as it never tires.

As the kitten grows into an adult cat she may do away with this behavior.

Regardless, if you notice your adult cat is still chasing her tail then it might signify a bigger health problem and you should consult the vet immediately.

Also, your cat could be bored and just wants some fun and decided to chase her tail for some timely fun alone to pass time. Buy a razor gun as a toy that you can point in different directions for your cat to chase when bored instead of her tail.

  • Hunting Instinct

Clearly, cats are chasers as we see them interested in chasing birds, rodents due to their hunting instinct.

Firstly, chasing their tail can be a training ground for later hunting escapades and sharpening their skills.

Notably, cats have different tail positions, the tail will be different when having fun, when aggressive when sick and it is good to know what the position signifies.

Besides, kittens can mistake their tail for prey due to these different wag positions, and when aggressive can resort to chasing their own tail thinking it is the intruder.

Try to calm your cat down when you notice he is becoming very aggressive and can cause bodily harm to other cats or pets while fighting. He can get injured on the tail by being scratched by another cat while fighting.

Look out for triggers, which make your cat aggressive, and try to remove them. Subsequently, medication can be recommended by the vet to calm your cat down.

  • Excess Secrete Oils

If the Sebaceous glands produce a lot of secret oil at the tail it can lead to the accumulation of wax. Even so, it is good for cat hair and coat.

The problem starts when it is excess as the hair at the tail can mat. Particularly creating an irritating crusty buildup and infection.

Proper hygiene during grooming and neutering can solve this problem for your male cats.


When your cat starts chasing its tail suddenly, first check for body injuries, flea infestation, bumps, change of behavior. Do not assume the cat is having fun chasing her tail, it could be due to an underlying health issue.

Understanding your cats’ behavior is the first step to determining the real reason why the cat is chasing her tail.

For fleas infestation, after treatment ensure to clean the cat environment, beddings, resting area, and the home to prevent an occurrence.

Alongside this, if the tail chasing is because the cat thinks it is another toy, get interactive toys that can be tied on a string to engage him. The cat can jump and play with them instead of its tail.

Finally, tail chasing is also experienced with dogs and can become repetitive behaving. Similarly compared to humans who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder.