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Cat grooms continuously and is afraid of his own tail. Please help!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I'm hoping you folks can help me here. We have a 2.5 year old orange Maincoon and about 2 weeks ago he started grooming his hind quarters and tail continuously and after a few minutes would stop and look at his tail (as it twitched) and then BOLT! He's obviously afraid of what he sees or feels but nobody can figure out what it is.

At first we thought it was static or dry skin so I bought a humidifier about a week and a half ago. Humidity in the house was about 35% but has been at about 55% since then.

We've taken him to the vet twice and they were unable to find anything wrong with him. They put him on pain killers for 4 days and started him on a vitamin that is supposed to help his coat. It seemed to be working but things started getting a lot worse last night. He hardly moves anywhere and when he does he mostly stick to furniture and a bench that is near the window (although where he sits he can't see outside and he sits with his back facing the window). He doesn't have fleas, and he's never been outside. Bowel movements have been regular as have his urine movements. There's no bloating in the bladder area and he hasn't been missing his litterbox so the doctor is confident its not a blockage.

He's stopped sleeping with us and from what we can tell has not been sleeping as much. His appetite doesn't seem to be affected and he seems to be drinking his usual amounts of water. Due to the excessive grooming we're upping his anti-hairball treats but he's still vomitted up twice since this whole business began. (He's only done that twice before since we've had him)

We're currently trying to get him in this week to a different vet for a second opinion. Please help, my fiancee is in utter shambles as our baby is in obvious pain/discomfort!
post #2 of 17
This may be a long shot but some of his symptoms sound like Feline Hyperesthesia. Here's a link to a web site about it.

http://www.purelypets.com/articles/f...eresthesia.htm


Good luck. I hope you can find a solution to your boy's problem. Hugs to you and healing vibes to your kitty.
post #3 of 17
Aha! You say he mostly sticks to furniture when he moves around... did you have your carpets cleaned recently? Could it be there's some kind of residue that he doesn't like? I'm not sure why that would cause this focus on his tail, but I thought I'd ask.

Is there anything new in the house at all? A new pet, a new baby, new furniture... anything? I understand that cats can develop obsessive/compulsive disorders in response to stress, so I'm wondering if anything is causing your kitty to be stressed out lately...
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the help!

FHS does indeed sound like a good possibility. I think first order of business will be a change of diet as thats the only thing that has changed recently. His last visit to the vet (about 3 months ago) included some shots and a recommendation to switch to a different type of cat food that would promote cleaner teeth. We never knew you had to brush your cat's teeth. I was properly embarrased by this and immediately sprung for the dental food the vet was selling. Dinty seemed to like it, it was a bit crunchier then his old food but he adjusted within a couple of days. I think first order of business will be to switch foods.

Anyone have any good links to homemade food you can make for your cat thats healthy? Or even recommend a good cat food for a 2.5 year old cat (Maincoon specifically even if there is such a thing).

Other then the food there really has not been any type of change in the environment. Certainly nothing as major as a new carpet or a baby or even scented candles being used.

Thanks again for reading! I'll report back maybe in a week or so with my results. Or sooner... Any idea how long it would take to see an improvement if it were diet related? Are we talking days, weeks?
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Just to add a bit to this... The food he was taking was called Dental Formula by Medi-cal/RoyalCanin.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

Just to update everyone as to Dinty's condition. Dinty's behaviour has more or less returned to normal. However, several times a day he still goes after his tail relentlessly. Thanks to Jean44's comments we believe he is suffering from FHS. Complicating the issue was the major food recall issue as Dinty was eating once a day - Neutro. We now think (although we cannot prove) that this was what was affecting his behaviour.

As of today all of Dinty's "normal" behaviour's have returned. He sleeps with us nightly, runs to the door when his "mothers" (my fiancee or her mother [aka grandma - but never to her face! ]) come home. Once again however, he will pursue his tail relentlessly - sometimes in very precarious positions.

Since my last post we have switched vets. Mostly because we wanted a vet that was closer to home as Dinty does not travel well. Secondly because we wanted a second opinion as the first vet did not know where to go next. The new vet has done urine, blood and x-ray tests and all have come back negative. In short, they have no idea why he would be chasing his tail. In fact, his new vet has suggested that we take Dinty to Toronto for further analysis.

Unfortunately Dinty does not travel well and as a result we are hesitant to drive him 4 hours (one way) in a car for further tests/diagnosis when every measurable test has already been performed.

Does anyone have any other things we can try to combat FHS?!
post #7 of 17
Are you sure it couldn't be fleas? One of my cats has a flea allergy,and if I'm the least bit late applying her flea meds,she will act the same way as your Dinty. It may be worth trying a tube of Revolution,if you haven't in a while.
post #8 of 17
I think he may just be neurotic! We had a Maine Coon girl who was just nuts also, and did have hyperesthesia periodically. She'd focus on her back end, her fur would ripple up and down there, to the extent that one time she fell off a curb stone agitating about it all, and I thought she'd had a seizure, but hadn't. I think he'll probably settle down in time, maybe just have incidents of it happening, but unless he's doing damage to his tail or fur, I wouldn't be too concerned. Possibly the vet could try him on something like Prozac for a short time (now I'm going to get blasted by lots of people here), because it might break the OCD cycle it sounds like he's into... at least ask him about it.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks again everyone for the replies.

Dinty has had a Cortizone shot before and it does seem to calm him down quite a bit. But its to the point that he's not his normal self.

He's been checked several times for fleas as well but they've never found any. He is an indoor only cat and never associates with any other animals so I think the chances of fleas being the issue are very slim to nill.

The comments from Larke pretty much mirror Dinty's behaviour. The "rolling skin" and falling off things while going through these fits.

Is this disease something that they just "learn" and do every so often, or does something trigger it? If it is some kind of OCD the I would suspect that it could be broken? Kind of like litter training?
post #10 of 17
Unfortunately I do think it may be a built-in neurological thing without a 'mechanical' fix (vs meds)... or maybe it' just crazy Canadian cats?
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Could be the water as our water supply is still frozen up here so we're having to resort to beer instead!
post #12 of 17
You have him on the WRONG diet. He might be allergic to corn. If so buy Chicken Soup for the Kittens Soul... or whatever its called. Whatever he is eating its making his butt rough.
If you DONT want to change food... get Aloe Vera 99% and rub it on his rear.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well, just going through my own posts and from our memory it seems as though this is a seasonal issue. We're starting to see lots of cold, dry weather and his tail chasing has returned! I'm trying to get a hold of a replacement filter for our humidifier so that we can get that going again as it seemed to help quite a bit last winter. I've also noticed that with the dryness my allergies have gotten a ton worse. Hopefully once the humidifier is up again it will help alleviate things again.
post #14 of 17
Here's a thread for kits that let you make your own food:

http://wildkittycatfood.com

If there are any grains, especially corn, as Cheap Sushi pointed out, in their food this can cause allergies or all kinds of other symptoms. This is the kind of thing that can be held in check until an added stressor is added, like the dry air in the winter.

Since eliminating most of the carbohydrates from my own cats food, I have found them to no longer have the dry skin in winter (and we have humidifiers then!) and their fur is amazingly soft.

Since it was triggered before by a food switch, that would be the first thing I'd check on.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
That is very intersting. I never thought of food simply because it got better as the warm wetter weather returned. However, you make a very intersting point about how it could be the last stressor that was needed to cause the reaction. We'll definately try some of those recipe's for a while and see if that helps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Werebear View Post
Here's a thread for kits that let you make your own food:

http://wildkittycatfood.com

If there are any grains, especially corn, as Cheap Sushi pointed out, in their food this can cause allergies or all kinds of other symptoms. This is the kind of thing that can be held in check until an added stressor is added, like the dry air in the winter.

Since eliminating most of the carbohydrates from my own cats food, I have found them to no longer have the dry skin in winter (and we have humidifiers then!) and their fur is amazingly soft.

Since it was triggered before by a food switch, that would be the first thing I'd check on.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Konos View Post
Anyone have any good links to homemade food you can make for your cat thats healthy? Or even recommend a good cat food for a 2.5 year old cat (Maincoon specifically even if there is such a thing).
This is one of the better options out there IHMO:

http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/products/prowl.shtml
post #17 of 17
I wouldn't branch out into random new foods, myself. If you do think it could be allergies, do an eight-week allergy trial, feeding only an allergy food and nothing else during that time. That will rule out a food allergy one way or another.

Another thing you might try, after: If he was doing well on whatever food you fed before the vet suggested a switch, go back to the exact diet he was on before.
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