Ask the Veterinarian/cat habit


I have 2 two year old Cornish rex cat brothers, one of them has always sucked the end of his tail since we got him (at 6 months)when I see him doing this I gently stop him & he doesn't seem to mind, but now after two years the other cat has just started this same behavior, my question is; is there a SAFE bad tasting substance I could put on their tails to discourage this behavior?
thanks so much

The only safe bitter tasting substance I know of is bitter apple, which you can buy at a vets. There are other things you can do like get a Feliway cartridge and plug it is. It emits a pheromone that calms the cats and makes them feel really groovy.

Some people report good results with this. The problem with too much sucking is that they can actually "ring" their own tails and the tail will die and fall off at that spot (if it's the tip of the tail).
If they are just sucking on the fur of the tail, and there isn't any missing, then it's just a comforting thing that many cats do, and in that case, I wouldn't try to stop them.

It's when they are sucking on the tips that can cause a problem. It is odd that the brother would start doing this after two years.

From what I have learned, this is not a breed-specific issue.

So try the Feliway and see if that helps. Otherwise, it's probably something they are both going to outgrow with age. I have had a few blanket-sucking cats and they all outgrew it.  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

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