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Jack's Back is Extra Sensitive--Ideas?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Jack has been with us for 6 years, was a neighborhood stray before that. He's always had a sensitivity issue from about mid-back to the base of his tail, but lately it seems to be getting worse. He hates to be touched there, altho' if you rub his back with firm pressure instead of a gentle pet he'll put up with it. He licks that area a lot, but not to the point of hair loss. There are no fleas, no scabs, no dry flakey skin, nothing I can see or feel.

When we adopted him, he was a mess---upper respiratory infection, severe earmites, a skin infection, and worms so bad it took 3 courses of meds to get rid of them. He's been a happy, healthy boy ever since-except for this sensitivity issue and one UTI several years ago.

I feed Jack and our other 4 mainly dry food, rotating 3 different kinds--Friskies Indoor, Purina Indoor, and Purina for urinary health. Jack is also a huge fan of carbs--donuts, cake, brownies, rolls, etc. He's always eaten little bits of those foods when I have them. Could he have developed an issue with the people food that I know I shouldn't be giving him anyway? We have a humidifier going all winter, so I'm assuming it's not a dry skin issue. We've used the same cat litter for years. There aren't any cleaning substances that he could get into.

DH seems to think that this is just Jack, that he's always had an issue with being touched on his back and that's that. I see it as being worse that it has been in the past. I suppose it could be OCD or an air born allergen. I've been reading up on homeopathic drops that treat skin allergens; has anyone tried these, and did they help? I'm also wondering about homeo. anxiety drops; if this is just a nervous habit, would that calm him?

I'd appreciate any insight on this, as I don't know if it's really a problem or, as DH says, it's 'just Jack'.
post #2 of 7
I would suggest that, if your gut is telling you that Jack's changed back reaction to being touch has changed slightly, it might be wise to have him checked by your vet to rule out a heath issue.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
One thing I forgot to mention about Jack's grooming habits. He not only licks himself excessively, but he "grooms" DH & me, as well. He loves to curl up on DH's lap and lick his belly (DH's, not his own!). If given the opportunity, he'd do it all night. Unfortunately, Jack has absolutely the roughest tongue I've ever felt, and his licking isn't remotely gentle but forceful. One day last week he was on my lap while I was on the computer and he decided to start licking my "mouse hand". I thought I'd let him do it just to see how long it would go on. When he'd actually licked my hand raw and had it bleeding I figured that was enough. I don't know if his compulsive licking has anything to do with his sensitivity issues, but thought I'd throw it out there.
post #4 of 7
Have you ever considered FELINE HYPERESTHESIA SYNDROME? My Maggie exhibits some of these symptoms, so I don't think she has full blown FHS. She sometimes has the rippling back skin, whips her tail back and forth, and runs throught the house like her tail is on fire! She doesn't have the problem with over grooming that FHS cats display, or the vocalizations. She's terribly timid, and is often frightened by simple things, like a quick movement or loud noise. I've considered putting her on meds for it, but trying to pill her is extremely traumatic for her.
post #5 of 7
Sometimes cats will over groom a spot because of pain - they don't have hands to rub a sore spot like we do. Is it possible that his lower back and hip area could be sore?

Wouldn't hurt to have that checked out if you keep running into dead ends at the vet.

And no - he wouldn't necessarily limp. I have met a cat that had a lot of arthritis in that area (declawing had to have contributed to it) and she would try to bite you if you got anywhere near it. She never limped but would always seek out warm places to stretch out on -like over a heater vent.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
She sometimes has the rippling back skin, whips her tail back and forth, and runs throught the house like her tail is on fire!

Whoa--Jack does that, too. I read the link you posted, it was quite helpful. What do you do for your Maggie?
post #7 of 7
Maggie is very timid and frightened by everything. I tried Elavil on her, but it was so hard to pill her that she was completely traumatized by it. I had to stop before I really saw any improvement from the medication. I just accept that my little girl is "not quite right", and let her be. I suppose if she had a more serious problem with FHS, such as the overgrooming or self mutilation, I would pursue the medication route a little more aggressively. As it is, I just try to keep her as stress free as possible. I also keep Feliway plug-ins running 24/7, year round.
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