The idea of amputating your cat's tail probably sounds horrifying, but sometimes it's a necessity after the tail has been severely injured. If your cat's tail has been broken, damaged, or wounded, here's why your vet might not have any choice left but to amputate it.
Infections are a big problem for the tail. When a tail is broken or caught in something, like a door, it can break open the skin and allow bacteria and viruses to get inside. This can create a tissue infection that can be hard to treat. Unfortunately, it becomes particularly dangerous because the tail contains a portion of the spine. If the infection spreads to the spine, it can travel quickly through the rest of the body and cause a number of complications.
Amputating the tail in this instance gets rid of the infected part of the tail and prevents the infection from spreading elsewhere.
Nerve damage is a common problem after a tail has been broken or badly pinched. This is because there are myriads of nerves that run through the tail attached to the spine.
When a break or pinch occurs, the nerves can be damaged. This can not only cause numbness and pain, but it can potentially paralyze a cat's lower half, including the rear legs and their digestive system.
By amputating the tail and removing the part of the nerves that were badly damaged, the remainder of the nerves are able to function normally again. In many cases, this restores function to the lower half of the body and allows the cat to live a normal life.
Finally, in some cases, tails are amputated because they're too badly broken to heal normally. A flopping, broken tail can easily be injured again because a cat can't control it or necessarily even feel it. As a result, it can get caught in something or stepped on easily. In these cases, removing the broken part of the tail is simply safer for your cat and will help to prevent a new injury from occurring.
Rest assured that no veterinary surgical services provider will recommend amputating a cat's tail unless it's for their health and best interests. While you might hesitate, keep in mind that cats with shorter tails can still live happy, healthy lives. They'll look a little different, but if it means giving them a pain-free and safer life, it's well worth it.