Tomcat with skin issues

by Jennifer
(Missouri, USA)

I was wondering if you might be able to help me figure out what is wrong with my cat. He is a 5 year old tomcat, I'm not certain on the breed but he is short-haired and yellow tabby. Over the last 6 months or so, he has gotten very sensitive to anyone petting him on his sides or lower back, and will become aggressive if petted or touched on his lower spine.

He is otherwise still very friendly, and I haven't noticed any other changes in behavior. Recently we have noticed small rough patches on the skin beneath his coat and small scabs; the coat appears normal, but the rough areas can be felt through the fur when petting or touching him. We have multiple cats; none of the others have had any of these symptoms. None of the cats have any signs of fleas, no scratching or anything noted. We haven't changed any part of the usual routine, we've always fed the same food (Friskies brand), he doesn't seem to be eating any more or less or drinking any more or less. We've been stumped with this and any suggestions on what it could be would be great, thanks.

Editor Comment

Hi Jennifer,

I'm not a veterinarian, but I can offer some suggestions or ideas to discuss with your veterinarian.

One possibility is Feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS) is a possibility, given the symptoms you've described. FHS is a rare, poorly understood neurological disorder that can cause cats to have increased sensitivity, particularly along the spine, and sometimes leads to self-mutilation or excessive grooming, resulting in skin lesions or scabs. Other symptoms can include:

- Rippling or twitching of the skin.
- Dilated pupils.
- Erratic
behavior, such as sudden bursts of activity, aggression, or vocalization.
- Excessive grooming, especially in the affected areas.

It's important to note that FHS is a complex and poorly understood condition, and its exact cause remains unknown. It is often considered a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning other potential causes for the symptoms should be ruled out first.

If you suspect your cat may have FHS, it's essential to consult with a veterinarian who can thoroughly evaluate your cat and determine the most appropriate course of action. There is no specific test for FHS, but your veterinarian may recommend a series of tests to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.

Treatment for FHS may include medications to manage the symptoms, as well as environmental and behavioral modifications to help reduce stress and provide mental stimulation for your cat. In some cases, dietary changes may also be recommended.

There are other possible causes that need to be explored as well:

Allergies: Cats can develop allergies to various things, including food, environmental factors, or fleas (even if you don't see any on your cat). Allergies can cause skin irritation, itching, and scabs.

Skin infection: Bacterial or fungal infections can cause skin issues and discomfort in cats. The scabs you mentioned could potentially be related to an infection.

Mites or other parasites: Although you haven't noticed any signs of fleas, there's still a possibility that mites or other parasites could be causing your cat's skin issues.

As there could be a variety of reasons behind your cat's symptoms, it's essential to consult with a veterinarian who can examine your cat, perform any necessary tests, and provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.


Editor and Publisher
Cat Health Guide

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