Fur that feels greasy, waxy, with mats forming around the base of the tail and rear end is sometimes a symptom of a skin condition. If the skin seems darker or discoloured at the base of the tail your cat probably has stud tail.
Stud tail (also known as Tail Gland Hyperplasia or Supracaudal Gland Hyperplasia) is a feline version of acne, just like humans, but on the tail. It is hundreds of tiny blackheads caused by excessive oil production usually triggered by hormones. It can sometimes also be found on the chin too. It is usually associated with male cats, but females can also have this condition.
This first photo is of a female cat after a preliminary degreasing bath with some combing to break apart the matted hair on the tail so a closer inspection could take place. Notice the yellowing discolouration, greasy waxy appearance, black flakes, and darkened skin. It will often have a rancid smell. After evaluation, it was determined that the stud tail was extensive and that the tail would need to be shaven (as had the body of the cat already had been done) in order to improve the ability to treat and clean the skin condition.
With the tail shaven, in this second photo of the same female cat, you can clearly see the yellow waxy grease and the blackheads. This residue will rub off wherever the cat goes, plus it looks and smells bad. So it was back to the tub for a deep cleaning tail exfoliating scrub combined with a degreasing organic cat-safe shampoo. I use Chubbs Bars Sugar Scrub. It works fabulously.
To get stud tail to clear up, an owner has to begin a regular regime of washing the tail twice a day with a degreasing cat shampoo or vet prescribed antiseborrheic shampoo. It is faster and easier if the infected area is kept shaven so the twice daily washing regime can penetrate effectively. Treatment of stud tail is not that different than daily cleansing for human acne, but please don’t use human products.
Sometimes stud tail can cause secondary skin infections that look raw and oozy. This will require vet prescribed antibiotics to clear up the infection.
After the Chubbs Bar Sugar Scrub, the yellow wax and blackheads were mostly gone with renewed and deep-cleansed soft pink skin beneath. This was only the first step. It will take multiple regular cleansing to clear up the skin and regular bathing to prevent mats in the future.
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