I Have More Trust Issues Than This Feral..

pearl99

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Grooming so close to each other with no worries about the other is the ultimate in cats-getting-along! The Finn part, to me, looked like Finn was thinking- then made the decision to go groom. Did he want to play? Dominate? Nose greet? Not sure, but he DID make a good decision!
My Zylkene should be here in a couple of days and I hope I have as good of an effect.
 

Jcatbird

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I don’t know for sure that your particular vet will take both kitties but I expect they will totally understand the reason and cooperate, perhaps even be grateful to have a calmer patient as a result. I would be sure to let them know that Charlie is more likely to be content and calm if Finn is present.

Joint grooming? Funny you should ask!

For a little laugh

I would say the boys are doing well. I laughed at the first video. Finn looked and decided that Charlie no longer allows bad behavior without consequences. Not worth a tail lashing! Lol
 

mentat

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All this progress! So so heartwarming! You are doing it right. I will post about pandemic veterinary clinic protocol and mitigation soon after self care. Take heart. You ALL got this!
 

Buffster7

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I am worrying about Charlie. He was sitting in my lap just now and I was feeling for the lump on his right side to see if I could notice a change. The lump feels about the same, I think, but I can't put my finger on what I'm feeling when I stroke him. But something is different. You know how when you become accustomed to the sounds of your environment, there might be something as small as an animal walking by your window outside, but you will notice even the slightest sound because it's different? That's how I felt when I was stroking Charlie. I can't place it, but he feels different when I stroke him. I feel like there might be some very mild lumps that change the 'landscape' of his back as I stroke. He's such a chonk that it's hard to feel for any specific lump, but my fingers notice something.

Then on the opposite side, I noticed rougher fur on his thigh/rump. Upon closer inspection, it's thinned out, like he's over-grooming. I hadn't noticed him over-grooming. I've been adding the Comfort Max to his food and started adding a little Zylkene to his food as well, but I had noticed a rougher feel prior to the Zylkene. Then he jumped down and started grooming that exact spot, but he also chewed on it, which makes me think skin irritation, maybe? But why only in one spot? I rotate their foods constantly since Charlie gets bored very quickly. I feed Wellness, Core, I and Love and You, Weruva, Nulo, and occasionally NutriSource. I have fed more of the Cod flavor of I and Love and You lately since I got a really good deal on a case (Finn doesn't get that d/t urinary issues). Do you think the higher phosphates in the cod could cause it? What do you think as you watch this vid - is that chewing indicative of irritation, or do cats do that when they groom? I've never just sat and watched a cat groom before.
 

Furballsmom

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Then he jumped down and started grooming that exact spot, but he also chewed on it, which makes me think skin irritation, maybe? But why only in one spot?
My boy will do that, although not quite as much. Maybe keep an eye on him to see if this continues and dab some brewed, chilled chamomile tea (purchased from the grocery store as garden grown chamomile can be unsafe for cats) onto the area. It's antifungal, antibacterial and helps ease itchiness.

It doesn't have to be food-caused, stress can have an impact on the condition of skin, as can health issues.

But something is different.
It's possible the lump(s) could be benign - I apologize for not remembering if you've already mentioned, but have you talked to your vet about this?
 

Jcatbird

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He concentrated on that spot but maybe because you did. Sometimes my cats wash wherever I just petted. Lol ugh, I don’t smell like myself now! Humans! :lol: Especially if I just washed my hands and smell like soap.
You know my opinion on trusting your instincts. Even if it’s nothing, we worry until we get it checked. Keep watching to see if he concentrated on that area. It could be itchy. I don’t know what’s in Comfort Max but itchy can come from so many things. Fish can cause some kitties to react but everything can. Process of elimination is the only way to pinpoint allergies. One item at a time. If you continue to feel a change in the lumpiness and you can’t soothe the itchiness, vet time!
Hopefully you can solve it by onservation.
 

Buffster7

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Thanks, ladies. The thinning fur on his "ham hock" is definitely 'something'. I've noticed before, but thought perhaps he was shedding his winter coat. I never stopped to inspect it, but noticed the thinning. Today when I felt it, it is noticeably scratchier, unlike his normal soft, lustrous feel. Very little undercoat in that area. He stops suddenly to lick like a dog does when they have fleas, so I do think it's itchiness. And there are no fleas, so it's something else. I put some ACZ nano silver spray (safe for animals) on a cotton ball, saturated, and pressed it to the skin on that side and he appeared to like it (will get some chamomile tea from store next time).

So I've been watching him closely today, just noting changes that I can point out to my vet:
Body shape. He's always been big and barrel chested, so he looks husky. However, his hips have wasted away a bit. I thought maybe arthritis. He looks thinner through the waist and wasted a bit in the hips. He definitely walks gingerly, so I've suspected arthritis for a while. But I don't want to overlook anything else that could cause this. I just feel inept with cats, still.
The fur on his back 'twitches' more than it used to. Maybe to do with the itchiness?
He walk around the house crying sometimes. Not meowing, more like a little wail. Calling. I thought it was him trying to entice Finn to play. Now I'm wondering if it's something else?

So yes, I think vet appointment in order. But these are things I would really like to discuss face-to-face with my vet. How am I going to have this conversation with this whole COVID protocol in place, and how will I point out the spots where I feel changes, etc. Hmmmm.
 

Jcatbird

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Any possibility you can video chat or FaceTime with the vet? Short of that, sending a video or photos where you are pointing out the area could work. Knowing that Charlie came to you as declawed , I also wonder if he could be uncomfortable. That can cause extra licking and grooming. Is he jumping less? Write down the date you noticed the licking, twitching and keep a Charlie diary going. Food, meds and symptoms. Eating well, drinking well, active or not, etc. Give that to the vet since you can’t go inside
Back twitches can be itchy. Are you 100% sure no fleas? One bite is all it takes for some cats to react. My Mama is super sensitive to them. The older she gets, the more sensitive. I make sure to give her flea treatments on time and year round whether I see fleas or not.
 

mentat

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I would love to see a closer video. To see if his skin is fasiculating or rippling while overgrooming. To see the skin condition, color, and elasticity. If he's on flea control that has consistently been effective, we can make a wee list of rule outs to ask his doctor, and see if any additional mild topical home treatments or behavior management helps. I'll roll some ideas around for overgrooming/self mutilation (sounds worse than it is, as he is liking barbering with that spiked tongue til skin is worn away, which one of my RIP boys did to me while I was sedated, licked my index finger til I had a superficial wound with no granulation bed, turdlet anxious for me to wake up that he was.)

Love the stress mitigation. Love the diary idea. Absolutely broach video conferencing with your vet; if they don't want to FaceTime or Skype, as these link to their more personal private life, they can set up a Google Hangouts session (video doesn't sync great with sound, but sufficient for your goal) or gotomeeting.com. One of my geris has a tailbase mass suddenly, and we FaceTimed and she prescribed meds I already have, to increase dose for her lymphoma inflammation peri-bowel and stress/pain. Telemedicine is an essential tool right now. All my doctors have utilized in the last 7 days for my care and prep.

And love that, overall, Charlie and Finn have come MILES together with your help. Excellent work Buffster7 Buffster7
 

Buffster7

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Thank you again, guys, for the great input. I will call this morning to set an appointment and ask about video conferencing. I really appreciate your wise and experienced input, Jcatbird Jcatbird and mentat mentat ! I'm eliminating the fish from his diet for now. His skin looks fine, just dry. No abrasions or rash-like skin irritation that I can see. He's always had a bit of dandruff in spite of his silky coat. Since I've been paying attention I am noticing that he's definitely grooming a lot, but all over and not just focusing on the patchy area. This makes me wonder if it's not a reaction to something. I'll try to get a better vid today in better light. Here's a vid of one of the times he was wailing at me in the hallway. I didn't get the wail on vid, but if you see his reaction before he darts off, it looks like he's being playful, but when I watched it again, I wonder if it was him being uncomfortable and darting away from the discomfort?

I've been using the Jackson Galaxy Self-Esteem drops (I've used the Bully drops on him before with no ill effects, so I don't think it's this), and I feel like it's helped in the quest to be more assertive. I'm leaving them out today not because of the skin issue but because he needs to tone it down a bit. He was really gunning for Finn all day yesterday with no provocation. Finn would be minding his own business, looking out the window, and Charlie would come up and swat him, bite at his foot, and if Finn would respond, Charlie would pounce. Hard to tell what's play, but Charlie's face didn't look playful and a couple times he made Finn yelp. Miraculously, Finn is not retaliating. Will see what today holds.

Last night Finn and I were already in bed. Charlie jumped up and joined us but looked really angry at Finn and nipped him, trying to pick a fight. I sat up and stroked them both, said it was okay. They both settled and started grooming themselves side-by-side. Finn's feet were touching Charlie, and it seemed to be just fine! This continued for 5 minutes or so, then Charlie threw his head back, looked at Finn, and turned around and aggressively pounced him. Kept it up til Finn started yelping and I could tell Charlie was just dying to tussle, and not in a friendly way. I told him to cut it out - he jumped off the bed and refused to come to bed til after I turned the lights out. Here's a vid of the grooming time; look how peaceful it looks and how close they're laying, then BOOM, Charlie turns and clobbers/bites him. :dunno:
 

mentat

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Alright. At the top of the r/o list for la doctora and you to consider together, if already on effective FP: FHS, feline hyperesthesia syndrome. It can onset at any point, and slowly, gradually progress. I had 2, and now have 1 of my own, and a few fosters prior, I manage, with great success and ease compared to so many other conditions. That diagnosis is based on ruling out other sources of primary pain or co-existing disease with FHS, primarily DJD, IVDD, abd pain (wide possibilities if this is observed), neuralgia (nerve pain specific to a site rather than hypersensitive across a full plane of anatomy/skin), CNS deficits.

FHS
DJD
IVDD
Abdominal pain (source? Imaging will be needed if this is observed)
Neuralgia
CNS deficits (check eyes, reflexes, ambulation/balance at walk, craniopalmar placement for cp deficits)

I can't think of any others, when we've slogged through a list, they ask if you're on board with this or that ruleout first and why they chose it priority over another.

How's his skin and twitchy itchy behavior now?
 

mentat

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Just read your post. That video of grooming and his hallway ghosting makes me more strongly suspect FHS. The discomfort of their nerves along there dermis leads to anxiety, overgrooming, hair pulling, redirecting the pain to another point by self-mutilation which can be licking so hard they remove hair and skin, leading to superficial serous spots that scab across their dorsum, forelimbs, and, the risky spot, tail tip. This is a gradual syndrome, so he is nowhere near that point, if this is his condition. It's manageable, more so than debilitating DJD/IVDD, we just adjust the plan once to twice a year after establishing initial care. He isn't a juvenile anymore, and the onset can occur at 5-8yrs.

There are exceptions, like my one remaining FHS didn't declare itself until, at estimated age 10-12 (adult adopt, unknown age) the stress of acute DJD/IVDD immobility and all the hospitalizations to diagnose it (initial ER internist diagnoses based on lethargy induced immobility rather than pain induced, with $1k diagnostics and my baby still painful led us to a magistrate, let me tell ya). A brilliant ER criticalist a month later, after onco and radiologist, I see more for their cardiologist specialty, noted her slightly reduce weight bearing when she'd stand, radiographed all her limbs (she'd had countless rads and U/S of her abdomen and chest with the internist, but never her damn full body, gah!), noted old trauma to a remodeled femur fracture that led to such imbalance and compensation of other limbs, she had OA and DJD everywhere. It was the dead of the coldest winter she'd experienced, and she would sit next to the furnace, never rising to drink, eat, greet me as usual at the door upon entry, use litter. Her dormant cystitis I hadn't treated in 6 years flared. I essentially lived in a doctor bunk area while she constantly was at the hospital for IVF and e-tube support, as her stress with all the blood draws and imaging was profound. I'd go home as if home was a boarding unit, 2 visits a day, sit, rub, read, settle, calm them, while 2 friends also cared and walked my babies. Her FHS started in the midst of all that Dec-Jan. Her femur looks like a damn caveman club, with a round ball 3 times the diameter of her femur connecting the femoral head to her pelvis. It's super short, but somehow the rest of her limb anatomy is long enough, she barely limps. It's so tiny a limp. Even smaller now that she's medicated, heat-padded, ice compress 2x/day, and a few acupuncture and cold/low-light laser therapy sessions the first year to push the inflammation far enough back, home therapy alone was effective. Now just her lymphoma tends to need tweaking, or it affects the other comorbid diseases.

That was a long explanation of my latest FHS experience. Sorry. Hahahaha. Humor during war-zone pandemic. I am morbid at times.
 

Furballsmom

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... I have to say, him in the hallway looks like my boy when he's being a nutty goofball, --and sometimes including some amazing sounds. I'm not arguing :), just that the two cats acted the same, although Poppycat often includes his tail when he's having crazies. He doesn't necessarily puff it but he lifts it in this silly looking cockeyed curve...

Whichever the situation, I'm so sorry Charlie's having this attitudinal "thing" going on!
 

Buffster7

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Interesting information, Mentat, thank you. I've read up on hyperesthesia and you're right, there are definitely similarities. What a hellish period of time that must have been while you were trying to figure out what was going on with your baby! I pray that it's just a coincidence, and that he's just being a goofball like yours, Furballsmom.

I called and made an appt with my vet for Tuesday afternoon. He doesn't do video conferencing but they said he would call me when he had Charlie in the room with him. They agreed that I could bring Finn, too, for the moral support and to reduce redirected aggression upon return home.

Thinking back, I've noticed that Charlie doesn't stay standing for as long anymore. He'll walk to where I am, then flop down and lay on his side. He avoids staying on his feet for too long. It's strange that he appears arthritic in his back legs when he's declawed on the front paws, not the back. But it's the hips that, to me, look painful. When he lay down and I stroke him, I've thought more than once that I think I sense heat emanating from his hips. Sometimes I think it's my imagination, but then next time I lay down with him and stroke him, the same thought crosses my mind.

He seemed a bit better this morning for a while. Then he started his weird behavior. Darting around the house. Jumping on his chair acting hyper. It almost seemed as though he was trying to entice Finn to play. My concern was when I saw the look in Finn's eyes this time and remembered how Finn tends to retaliate the next day, I didn't want this to turn into a tussle. I caught this on video - when Charlie was acting hyper, Finn jumped up to investigate, but when he appeared like he was going to do the back-biting thing he does, I saw Charlie's skin on his back begin to ripple. I wonder if this has been triggered by all the bites he's taken to the back over the last 8-9 months?

Charlie has since been on a mission to get at Finn, and he has a wild look in his eyes, too. It's not friendly. Finn tried to retaliate once. They both went for each other when I was on the phone with the vet, so Charlie is now chilling in my bedroom taking a time out. I feel like the Zylkene and calming aids are helping Finn, not so much Charlie, so I'm thinking about backing off these aids for Charlie in case any of them are aggravating him. What do you think?
 

pearl99

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My daughter's cat does the same thing (as the Charlie video ghosting the hall) just before he ramps up, but he is only 3 years old. And with all the other things you notice, likely not that.
Also with the skin rippling I've been taught in my shelter volunteer classes that that can be a sign of agitation, fear, excitement- things like that- that something is going on and aware when we approach so to not excite further or get scratched or bitten (for us- Charlie knows you.) So with all the things you see it sure sounds like something going on.
Glad you have a vet appt. and that Finn can go along for moral support.
 

Buffster7

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Also with the skin rippling I've been taught in my shelter volunteer classes that that can be a sign of agitation, fear, excitement- things like that- that something is going on and aware when we approach so to not excite further or get scratched or bitten (for us- Charlie knows you.) So with all the things you see it sure sounds like something going on.
Interesting. I've never known about the back rippling thing before. I can't remember how long it's been going on. I just haven't ever thought a thing of it. I saw Finn's skin do that when he was living outdoors the first few times I touched him, so I thought it was just a cat thing, didn't know it wasn't 'normal'.

Just saw Charlie's back doing it a bit ago. It was his whole back. I caught the tail end of one ripple where it was just twitching low on his back. It was when Finn was close-by, so maybe it's anxiety, or anticipation of nips? Since then he's been excessively grooming. Funny how much you notice when you stop and pay attention; this quarantine could be good for a few things. I read that catnip helps so I put that down on his blanket. He's napping on it now, seems calmer.
 
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