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

Could a pinched nerve in my cats tail cause her to be incontinent? Nov 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, which we offer a video ‘How can I stop my male cat from urinating outside of his litter box’  providing some suggestions on this situation. However, 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

Disclaimer: and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.

Related Q&A

  • Why is my cat shedding so much?
  • Answered by: Paul
  • Apr 30, 2023
  • Why is my cat always hungry?
  • Answered by: Paul
  • Apr 29, 2023
  • Why is my cat panting?
  • Answered by: Paul
  • Apr 6, 2023
  • Why is my cat clingy?
  • Answered by: Paul
  • Apr 4, 2023