or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Hi, all...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Hi, all...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I am new here, and came looking because of a little understood problem, my oldest (elderly cat) has..

FHS or rippling skin disorder. I found an old post on this, but was wondering if anything NEW has come up recently..anyone with new experience?

My cat does vocalize in the night usually 3-4 am, in my face if possible. She wants me to pet her.. She does not scratch herself, or appear to itch however.

She does ripple when brushed or touched on the back and licks herself.
Just before Xmas she had a "seizure" the vet called it...biting herself, twitching her fur (it went up into a mohawk) and vocalizing. (not a grand mal)

She has arthritis and limps too. Has had 2 courses of prednisolone in the past, but we don't use it often..as it is dangerous. The vet scared me and said she might have a spinal tumor or brain tumor etc, but since Dec she looks good, has lost a bit of fat (that is another story) and is mobile and interested in her environment still. She is 15 and has been rippling for a good 5 years, with the vocalizing only getting more so in the last one. I give her a human shrimp (quality) treat daily...she begs me for it. Since I started that (it was a reward initially after pilling/medicating her) over the last 2 yrs she has lost 6 lbs slowly safely... she was 16lbs then, now she is very nice (although has a loose hanging belly now )-- hence the name ShrimpLover LOL !

My vet gave her Denosyl (cat SAMe) as a trial, and we thought that made it worse, so I decreased to twice a week. The Denosyl was excellent for her arthritis tho. Blood chems are all good, she is not diabetic and has good organ functions. She used to have terrible sores (cat acne) on her face(not lips-not mouse mouth type) long ago, but those cleared up when I switched her to Iams Eukanuba...totally gone.
No fleas, no other skin lesions.

I was wondering about the allergy connection and FHS.

Anyone with comments/ideas?

Thanks a bunch...
post #2 of 11
Welcome to the board. I'm sorry I don't know anything about your cat's condition but someone else here probably will.

I was interested to read your comment about prednisolone.
post #3 of 11
You know, Red Cat's skin also ripples when brushed or petted. I asked the vet about it, but he said that is pretty normal. It is the first cat I've had that exhibited that symptom, though. I was just reading about FHS on another website, and it doesn't seem that RC has many of the other symptoms of FHS, though, at least not strong symptoms, but I still kind of wonder about him. He doesn't bite his back or tail, like the website mentioned as a common symptom. What he does do is lick his belly until it is bare of all hair and raw. I've shown this photo of him previously, but since you (ShrimpLover) are new here, I'll show it again. The photo was taken about two years ago, and his belly is even more bare of hair now.

Some times I'll be petting him, he'll be purring away, and he'll suddenly just jump and start licking or biting at his belly, like he has just got a terrible itch or pain or something. But the vet had done all kinds of tests and is convinced the problem is some kind of psychological problem. I'm still not sure.

I know this doesn't answer your question, but I wanted you to know you aren't alone in having a cat with a psychological problem!

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Twofatcats---- My Sheba also licks one area of the tummy, but not to
the extent yours does. There is no fur there, but it is NOT inflamed. She does not do it that often, I guess.

I've had her to 2 vets..When it started she had alot of dandruff at the base of her tail...and she would flick her tail around in a circle like an airplane propeller!
(sorry to say it looked funny). That vet (years ago..a cat specialist too) could not find any flea dirt, but old me to do Advantage anyway....I did not agree.

She does vocalize.. out of the blue with a sort of "bark" yelp.. sounding very commanding! Like "meowwwwlp" .. Her skin is much better now, since the addition of the shrimp snack at 4pm daily. Also the Denosyl worked nicely on mood/arthritis issues. She does not have dandruff anymore since the shrimp.
I really think there is a nutrient in them, she was low in... that seems like common sense.

I don't think this is psychological.. I think it is allergic, because when we changed foods, her cat acne went away. I think she is allergic to corn. (Science Diet at the time had Corn as the first ingredient!)-- but I think that has changed. She is loving, but very imperious to me also...she has definite expectations...and lets me know.

I will say she loves prednisolone... she asks for it!! I use the dishwasher door pulled down, to pill her... and she will go there and yelp for it. So she feels better on the medication. (never had a cat do this..ask for meds). When she had her first pulse, about two years ago... BOY was she better... it was dramatic. So maybe it is an autoimmune too?

Truly it is a puzzle... and I appreciate your picture alot..and I think others will too. But I think it is more medical than psychological. You know human doctors say these things to people in pain alot... I see alot of people in the same boat, who can improve quality of life, and are hurt/betrayed by the psychological label. Stress can aggravate things, but our home is very laid back and quiet. Sheba even travels well to our summer place.

Thanks for your reply!
post #5 of 11
I would certainly research Feline Hyperesthisia. Not all vets know about it though. Sometimes you have to do the research and plop the paperwork down in front of them and say- "Please read this, and tell me does my cat have it?"

Here is an article about it-

post #6 of 11
Hissy, if you come back to this thread, would you say that rippling skin along the back is a "normal" reaction to a certain percent of cats? That is, to those who don't have Feline Hyperesthesia. I wondered about my vet's comment to that effect, as I'd never seen it before, but I have such limited experience with cats that that doesn't mean much.

ShrimpLover, it is hard for me to know if Red Cat's belly licking is due to psychological problems, allergy, or some kind of physical problem like pain in his abdomen or something. He is a psychological wreck. He has global fear - to any human but me, to any car coming in the driveway, to noise like a tree falling (the neighbor is clearing the next lot) or thunder, to the carrier and the vet's office, to deer. He runs into hiding at anything.

But he also has allergies. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to determine what all he is allergic to. We put him on Hill's Z/D, a hypo-allergenic food, hoping that would solve his belly-licking. It didn't. But it did nearly stop his scratching of the ears. He still gets a session where he does that some times, but I don't know if it is that he got into Sheba's food when I wasn't alert, or if he's allergic to rodents (he's a hunter big-time) or to something else. I do strongly suspect that he is allergic to tuna, so I've stopped giving him tuna water treats. And I was suspicious about shrimp.

But he also has allergies that make him sneeze, and his eyes and nose run. (Do you suppose he might be allergic to cat dander like I am? LOL!) He's a very difficult cat to pill and I'm not very good at it, so I avoided trying an antihistamine with him until the past week, but that does help those latter symptoms a lot. I don't give it to him every day, though. After a couple days of it, he hides from me. And at my age, I'm not so agile any more and it is hard to get a strong 15-pound cat out from under things without hurting my back. So he alternately gets relief from his allergy or suffers with it.

I also have a book by a vet that says there were times he had to test a cat for mange (I think it was) three times before they identified it as the problem causing the repeated belly licking. Which leads me to think that just because my vet tested all these things, still doesn't mean one of those things might not still be the source of the problem. But there comes a point where my energy and my finances dictate that I hold off further testing for a while.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
I wonder if you or others here have read Twisted Whiskers? the book by
By Pam Johnson-Bennett? She has a second, and the name eludes me.


But this book is funny (sad) and very fascinating. Something you might not
suspect may trigger a behavior and THEN that behavior is repeated, sort of like OCD in humans. There are some really fascinating stories in both books.

Sheba is afraid of strangers, and esp thunder.. she hides too.
BUT I have Oreo who is terrified the same way and does NOT over groom or ripple. I had an black many years ago who would run in circles when frightened (she was an apartment cat for the first half of her life) and pee on the floor if extreme...and she did not over groom either or ripple.

I think that fungus idea is worth checking out. Sheba has never had sores on her back where the rippling is--only dandruff..and that is gone now too...and she does not groom her belly to that extent either...there is just no fur in a 2x2 in patch
Anyplace constantly moist will eventually attract fungus.

Our latest theory is a pinched nerve...like people get. Or PN (peripheral neuropathy). Humans have all sorts of paresthesias... which are called idiopathic because we can't find the trigger.

It may even be vaccine induced?

Tippy had a vaccination reaction following hers one year...it was a horrible thing, sort of like a MEGA rippling attack, only it had running eyes and drooling and biting etc. I had to rush her back to the vet and have Benadryl and Medrol injections. I now pass on all vaccines for her, except Rabies, and she gets a Benadryl shot 10 minutes before the rabies. So vaccines could set off similiar things to a lesser extent I bet. There are really no controls about adjuvants etc in vaccines, for animals, I don't think..not like there are for human.

Thanks for responding!!!

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
That was a very moving article...

You know.... Sheba did have some anal gland issues...and since the vet fixed that she has been somewhat better. She never bites me or gets that extreme as the Siamese in the article..

But there are parallels... I do groom her alot, she asks for it.. and I think the vocalizations are pleas to brush.
Just before Xmas she did have this huge seizure reaction...and the vet was
warning me she may die soon..She is 15... but you know, it has not repeated.
I did reduce her Denosyl also.

It is such a puzzle, and yes, many vets don't understand it.
Sheba is all black and doesn't resemble Siamese at all. We've had 2 mixed domestic shorthairs that had/have Siamese traits.

And I looked up the other book by Ms Johnson-Bennett... it is
Hiss and Tell.

It appears she has other new ones too.. These two were very good.

Cats are certainly complex and mysterious...I guess that is why we love them so much!!

post #9 of 11
Originally Posted by ShrimpLover
I wonder if you or others here have read Twisted Whiskers? the book by
By Pam Johnson-Bennett? She has a second, and the name eludes me.


But this book is funny (sad) and very fascinating. Something you might not
suspect may trigger a behavior and THEN that behavior is repeated, sort of like OCD in humans. There are some really fascinating stories in both books.
No, I haven't read Twisted Whiskers. But the idea that something triggers a behavior and then that behavior gets repeated is why my vet thinks maybe Red Cat's licking behavior is psychological. Although I didn't recognize it at the time, my husband gave many signs in his last month that he knew his time was near. It was during that period that Red Cat started his licking. It is possible that he could have picked up on things being amiss more readily than a mere human. At any rate, his licking really became bad after my husband's death. My vet thought RC may have gone into mourning, and once the behavior got started, he just kept it up as a compulsive behavior. I'm more inclined to believe that the timing was just circumstantial and that there is some physical cause behind it.

I do have several books on cat behavior. One of them had a case about feline hyperesthesia that I wanted to re-read. Unfortunately, I can't find a few of my cat books right now. My bookcase is overflowing and it isn't with the other cat books. It might have been the book called Is Your Cat Crazy? I can't remember the author. I'm going to have to hunt around the house and see if I can locate those missing books.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yes, definitely, grieving is possible. Cats do lick when nervous.

We move back and forth between two homes, and sometimes my husband leaves us there to go back to work (I work part-time and can take longer)...when that happens, Tippy who is most bonded to him, goes into a negative spiral..withdraws etc. We leave out some clothes with his scent on them for her, and she sleeps on those. That helps until he returns. Our other two
girls seem unaffected.

I found those books in my library..luckily, but they are pretty old now, and may be harder to find. But in one of them was a story about a Siamese who started licking her fur off, everywhere. And the cat psychologist author Pam, discovered it was due to the change in her window access. Previously there was no fence thru the window she often sat in, and she could see stuff going on outside.
(an indoor cat). But the neighbors put up a fence, and blocked all of her view. So the author suggested a bird feeder at that window, and this distracted the Siamese to stop over grooming (in boredom). Like I said,
cats are mysterious creatures! and do odd things in response to environmental cues.

I have much more understanding and respect for my kitties after reading the odd stories from those books.

One really interesting one was a cat that stopped eating. The vet was stymied and Pam discovered that one day a neighbhood stray sneaked into their home via the cat door and the resident cat saw this and got spooked!
Refused to eat. So they generalized her to a new location for feeding and bingo, she started eating again!
Also I am thankful to the Cat God...since these books repeat over and over that a change in routine can bring on all sorts of mischief. We travel 600+ miles each summer (cats in cages) to our other home and miraculously, they did and do adapt to it quite well. Not so other cats I guess, according to the books I mentioned!!!

Best wishes,
post #11 of 11
I am not saying that all cats who ripple their skin are afflicted with this. It is just something to keep in the back of your mind as you watch your cat and see if other symptoms develop.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Health
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Hi, all...