Help - Feline Hyperesthesia

RufusGizmo

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our cat was on buspirone for three years because of the same issue. every time he would take his pill he would go nuts but we did not know what else to do. we then started playing with two kittens a ton, because of other issues. our buspirone cat started playing all the time, and forgot about chasing his tail and we were finally able to take him off the meds. i dont like the meds i felt they did him more harm then good.
 

Greta_Loki

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Greta_Loki Greta_Loki thank you so much for your response! I ordered a bottle of CBD oil for cats to try with her! I’ll report back when it arrives.
Awesome. I hope it helps! We've been doing a few things from the comments section of that YouTube video I posted and it does seem to be helping. The CBD, Vitamin B liquid, and distracting him with cuddles and play when he starts going at his tail. The episodes have really gone down. Crossing fingers you see an improvement.
 

ramscici

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Hi everyone. It's been quite a while since I posted around here, but this thread has been super informative, and I'm glad it's still somewhat active. I'd like to share some information about my own experience.

I've noticed that my cat Celeste seems to have developed FHS. She is now 3 years old, and I started noticing symptoms maybe about a month ago. Since I've noticed, the episodes seem to be progressing. She has the rolling, twitchy skin, and twitchy behavior, the dilated pupils, and the chasing the tail. It usually starts with her staring at her tail, pinning it down, and then biting/licking it frantically. She does also run around like she's trying to get away from something, and her tail does flick. Thankfully, she hasn't lost any fur, or seemed to self mutilate as of yet, and I'm hoping it stays that way. She has started vomiting more frequently though, and it's mostly hair, which tells me that she is likely doing a lot more licking than usual. Her episodes right now seem to occur mostly in the evenings.

What actually prompted me to google feline hyperaesthesia was the youtube channel BilliSpeaks. Billi, the lovely cat on that channel, had the same thing my Celeste seemed to - a lot of tail movement, constantly, that I used to attribute to mental stimulation. I posted a comment asking about it, and Kendra, the caretaker, responded, saying that Billi has FHS, so it probably contributes to the heavy tail movement. Celeste has always seemed to use her tail in funny ways, too - not necessarily normally to how most cats do. She would usually flick it when we were cuddling, and while she was purring. It always seemed to correlate to happiness for her, as well as annoyance, or really any sort of mental stimulation. It was not reserved just for annoyance. She also wouldn't usually hold her tail upright when wandering; it was always in a downright position. Not between her legs, but usually just downright, whereas my other cat, Ramses, always held it up in the universal "I'm happy and friendly" signal.

Celeste is a very sensitive cat and has always been. She spent the first six weeks of her life outside as a feral. We rescued her from under a moving car, and we live in an urban environment with lots of noise and stray cats. She has food sensitivities, and used to get rodent ulcers when she was younger - so severely that she now permanently has a chunk of her lip missing. She also got skin outbreaks near her ear, and has some baldness there because of it. She was on prednisolone for some time in her early life to try and manage it. We weaned her off because it was making her groggy and she was gaining weight. Her personality changed off of the medication, and she seemed so much happier, too, and more active, so I don't regret doing so. Through trial and error and analysis of foods, we found out that she is likely allergic to guar gum, or any other thickening substances in food, since that was when she would get the skin reactions. We now feed her only Tiki Cat with no thickening agents, Tiki Cat After Dark, and some Wellness RawRev at night, and she hasn't had any bad flare ups since. But I include all of that information to note that there is a history of allergies with her.

She's also very high strung and does get anxious very easily. She won't eat if someone opens the door to our apartment, either to go out or come back in - even if it's just us. She'll stare at the door until it closes and goes back to normal. Sometimes I just sit with her while she eats so she might feel better. She had a lot of trouble moving when we switched apartments - wouldn't eat for two days. She did come around but it took her a long time. She hides at a lot of noises in our hallway, even if they happen frequently. Nothing has ever harmed her here, but that doesn't stop her from being anxious.

I'm thinking maybe I'll try Feliway. I'm obviously going to monitor her. Her next vet appointment is in June, but if she continues to get worse I'll take her in sooner. Right now it's basically upsetting but not incredibly life altering, and fingers crossed it stays that way. She does seem to snap out of her episodes if I comfort her. She doesn't seem to get triggered by me touching her and doesn't seem to have extreme sensitivity if I touch her. She is a playful sweet cat otherwise and doesn't get overly aggressive. Despite being anxious, she's also very curious about things. She loves playing with her mouse wand and just the "corner game" with me.

I'll keep everyone updated on how things go.
 

FeebysOwner

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She has the rolling, twitchy skin, and twitchy behavior, the dilated pupils, and the chasing the tail. It usually starts with her staring at her tail, pinning it down, and then biting/licking it frantically. She does also run around like she's trying to get away from something, and her tail does flick. Thankfully, she hasn't lost any fur, or seemed to self mutilate as of yet, and I'm hoping it stays that way. She has started vomiting more frequently though, and it's mostly hair, which tells me that she is likely doing a lot more licking than usual. Her episodes right now seem to occur mostly in the evenings.
Hi. Not saying Celeste doesn't have FHS, but please check her for fleas first. All of the things you describe started happening with Feeby and it took us a long while to figure out it was fleas. Feeby had no hair loss, but had thrown up more often with hairballs due to over-grooming - directly related to the fleas. We saw no flea activity anywhere in the house. She is also an indoor only cat, although she does have access to a screened in patio.

The best way to check for fleas is with a flea comb, a bowl of soapy water (any dish soap will do), and some paper towels. Take long strokes from head to tail with the comb and then dip the comb in the soapy water, wipe the comb off on a paper towel, and repeat her entire body and then do her tail/butt area, then her legs. Two or 3 things will tell if you are dealing with fleas: 1.) you actually find fleas on the comb and in the water (they will drown from the soapy water), 2.) you will find flea dirt/poop on the comb and in the water, and 3.) when you wipe the comb off on a paper towel, if there is any reddish/pinkish tint on the towels, that is blood from the fleas and flea dirt/poop.

You can also check for fleas in your house by setting little dishes of soapy water on the floor in areas Celeste tends to hang out a lot, place a light over the top of the dish no more than a foot or so above the dish, preferably either in darker locations or overnight when the lights are out. Check it a few hours later. If there are fleas in that area, you will find them drown in the soapy water. The fleas are attracted to the light and then land and drown in the water.

Just rule it out before you move forward!!!
 

ramscici

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Thanks FeebysOwner FeebysOwner , will definitely check for fleas too! I've read this entire thread so I have that on my list. I've already ordered a flea comb.
 

FeebysOwner

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Thanks FeebysOwner FeebysOwner , will definitely check for fleas too! I've read this entire thread so I have that on my list. I've already ordered a flea comb.
Yeah, I probably just repeated myself from earlier in this thread!! Oops! :rolleyes2:

I don't want it to be fleas, but not all that crazy for Celeste to have FHS either. Feeby has a mild form of it that fortunately doesn't require treatment.
 

ramscici

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FeebysOwner FeebysOwner No worries, it was helpful to hear your advice on the best way to check!

Does Feeby have the tail obsession? Starting today, I've just been comforting Celeste and giving her attention/diverting her away from the tail once an episode starts. It's seemed to have helped with her one instance today.
 

FeebysOwner

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Does Feeby have the tail obsession? Starting today, I've just been comforting Celeste and giving her attention/diverting her away from the tail once an episode starts. It's seemed to have helped with her one instance today.
Sometimes she does, and it varies where in the tail she goes after. If she is focused on her tail, I will pet her head and stay away from the lower half of her body. The thing is, I have been fighting fleas for a year now (:disturbed:), so I think - but, honestly can't remember anymore - the upper tail focus for her is fleas. But, lower back area is not necessarily from fleas. Feeby's skin ripples on her back - and, that I know for sure was happening before the fleas, but it seems exaggerated with the flea issue. And, when the fleas first 'arrived' she was most definitely trying to run away from herself.

What started the thought of FHS was her twitching in her sleep or when she was settling down to sleep. Doesn't mean much in the big scheme of things, as I have read all kinds of varying FHS behaviors. Her vet thinks it is neurological in nature.
 

ramscici

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Sometimes she does, and it varies where in the tail she goes after. If she is focused on her tail, I will pet her head and stay away from the lower half of her body. The thing is, I have been fighting fleas for a year now (:disturbed:), so I think - but, honestly can't remember anymore - the upper tail focus for her is fleas. But, lower back area is not necessarily from fleas. Feeby's skin ripples on her back - and, that I know for sure was happening before the fleas, but it seems exaggerated with the flea issue. And, when the fleas first 'arrived' she was most definitely trying to run away from herself.

What started the thought of FHS was her twitching in her sleep or when she was settling down to sleep. Doesn't mean much in the big scheme of things, as I have read all kinds of varying FHS behaviors. Her vet thinks it is neurological in nature.
Yikes, sorry to hear it's been a year of flea battling. This has been helpful to hear. It's a distinct possibility. Either option is hard, but I will definitely keep you updated on what I find as I progress.
 

ramscici

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Update on Celeste’s situation. I got a flea comb and checked her thoroughly for fleas. No sign of them, although she is shedding more than usual- I think because of spring. She’s still getting the twitchy back, and especially when she lies down to settle, either on the couch with us or in bed, she stares at her tail and then attacks it and runs away from herself, like she’s forgotten it’s attached to her body. It’s a pretty alternate personality type of behavior.

I have found that comforting her by scratching her cheeks, cuddling with her, or even playing with her does help the episode. She snaps out of it if I do so. So, so far it does look like FHS, but seems to be helped by comfort. She’s always been a very sweet and soft cat so I hope I can continue to help her out of these little episodes.
 
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