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Why Is the Base of My Cat's Tail Swollen?

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian with over 40 years of experience in the field. He works with dogs, cats, exotics, and livestock.

If your cat's tail is noticeably swollen, it's time for a trip to the vet.

If your cat's tail is noticeably swollen, it's time for a trip to the vet.

Reasons for a Swollen Tail in Cats

There are several reasons that this could be happening. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • One common cause is swelling after an injury, like with a cat that has had his tail yanked so hard that it is dislocated or broken. (1)
  • Another cause may be an abscess, which could be from the anal glands but is a lot more common if you let your cat outside or he or she fights with your other cats.
  • There might be a tumor causing the swelling.
  • It might even be a problem called "stud tail" in which the cat—not necessarily a tom—rubs the tail on the wall to spread scent so much that it blocks the pores and leads to swelling.

Take Your Cat to the Vet

There are so many causes for this issue that it is impossible to diagnose without an examination by your veterinarian. If you do not get it taken care of, and it is an injury with nerve damage or an abscess, your cat may end up losing his or her tail, or even dying from a blood infection.


  1. McGhie, J. A., Gibson, I. D., & Herndon, A. M. (2018). Morel-Lavallée lesions: a phenomenon in cats? Case report and review of the literature. JFMS open reports, 4(1), 2055116918774469.

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Mark dos Anjos DVM