Cat Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Recently, Zaya had started attacking her tail like mad. She never used to show much interest in it before, but about a week ago she started really going for it. To the point where she will hiss or make this irritated meow as she goes after it. It doesn't look at all like she is playing as she seems to get irritated first and then tries to catch it, not the other way around. We can't take her to the vet right away as we're waiting on our money to get transferred to us from the US. In the meantime is there any way we can rule out some things? I felt her tail and there is a tiny rough spot on it, but it's really no more than 1mm (I think it's probably where she bit or scratched it). Also, I've been checking her poop and haven't seen any worms (not that I know what they look like, but I'm assuming I would know if I saw something unusual). One thing I thought it could be is that we had a Christmas tree up until a few days ago and I caught a couple of pine needles in her poop. Could it be that they're poking her? But it's been gone for like 4 days now, I'm thinking she'd have pooped them all out by now. Anyway, I'm just at a loss as to why she could be doing this. Anyone had similar problems? Any suggestions on what else to check? Thanks so much!!

P.S. She doesn't seem bothered when I touch her tail, that's why I'm thinking it's more butt than tail related.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,664 Posts
Actually, this could be a serious problem, called Feline Hyperesthesia.
Does she also sometimes ripple the fur over her shoulders/back? Look around in confusion or irritation when she does so? Sink away from your petting hand and/or ripple the fur of her back after you've pet her and look around in confusion or irritation?

FH can manifest in many different strengths. Some are just a mild irritation and the most extreme result in the cats attacking their tails bloody and even requiring amputation if they've damaged them badly enough.

Our Marmalade had a milder case of FH. His symptoms would manifest in the rolling skin of his back and occasionally he'd leap up, run a few steps, shake his back feet and/or lick his rump/flanks, run a few more steps, lick/shake and run some more. The vet didn't feel his symptoms were severe enough to require medication so we just kept an eye on him and tried to not pet him when he was having an FH episode. Petting him just increased whatever it was he was feeling and caused him more distress because he didn't understand why it didn't feel good.

Anyhow, you can try to distract her with toys or food, but generally a FH episode will do what it will until it is over. When you can get your kitty in to the vet to discuss FH, your vet will determine the severity and decide if your cat needs medication. Because Marmy never needed meds, I don't know what those meds are. I suspect they are some sort of muscle relaxer or mild sedative, but I do not know for certain.

Please keep us updated?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
haven't seen any worms (not that I know what they look like, but I'm assuming I would know if I saw something unusual).
You definitely would notice :). When I was in my college veterinary program we were taught to ask "does it look like a piece spaghetti or a piece of linguine?" when an owner calls to ask about something they found in their pet's poop. However, the very first time I encountered round worms I was scooping out my little one's over-night litter box (used to kennel her over-night). I said to my husband, "Someone's been eating thread." And as I got a closer look I said, "Uh oh, that's not thread." It originally looked like she'd been into my orange cross stitch thread, but they were round worms.

Anyway, I hope everything works out with Zaya and it's not too serious.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, guys! It does sound more like FH. I sure haven't seen anything like what you describe, Church's Mum. I have seen her ripple the fur at her back though. Not always. Sometimes there's no rippling, but she just leaps up and bolts like you describe, Heidi. And she looks very irritated. I will read up more on the condition and make sure to talk with the vet about it when we go in. It's so odd that it came on all of a sudden. There have been no changes at all at home and it's just strange that it occurred out of the blue. I wonder what causes it? I will post an update after we talk with the vet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,268 Posts
My girl did have FH for about 4 years. Her back would start to ripple, her tail twitch and then she would pounce on it several times and then run through the house like a bat out of hades. Hubby and I thought it was hilarious and didn't realize it was a "condition" under several years later when I read about FH on another cat forum. It almost seemed that she did it purposefully to amuse us as we really laughed when she did it, and when we said "get your snake" (her tail), she would actually do it on command and then do her wild runaround. Since I learned about FH I don't say that to her anymore and now she seems to have outgrown it, maybe has an episode once a year if that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,099 Posts
Though it does sound like FH, you should rule out fleas first. Check under the fur along her back, especially right at the base of her tail, for 'flea dirt' (little black dots). Fleas can cause a cat to ripple its fur, too. A cat bolting and jumping off the floor is also classic behavior due to fleas. Even if she doesn't have fleas right now, if she had them previously, she could have flea allergy dermatitis (check for scabs at the base of her tail and along her back and neck).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,168 Posts
Oh, wow. This has me concerned now.

The other night I noticed Athena's back fur/skin rippling while she was eating. I thought it was odd and made a mental note of it, but didn't think much further on it until I saw this thread.

Now I'm worried. I did a quick google of the disease and read that it's common in siamese cats/siamese mixes as well?

Athena's always been a bit "spacey" and does chase her tail a lot, but I never connected these behaviors with anything serious. I always thought the tail-chasing was just her being playful.

She's not shown any other signs of poor health and doesn't seem to be in distress at all. I only saw her fur ripple that once, and she kept on eating like nothing was wrong, but perhaps I'd better keep an eye on her now. Is there any other reason a healthy cat's skin would ripple like that, or is that definitely a sign of the disease? She most definitely does not have fleas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,099 Posts
Theodora started chasing her tail this year ---- or so I thought. I watched her and realized she's chasing the shadow her tail makes. I think it's her own make-believe laser toy. She LOVES the real laser, but I don't get it out much or for long, because of her heart condition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Is there any other reason a healthy cat's skin would ripple like that, or is that definitely a sign of the disease?
I've seen my cats ripple their skin seemingly for no reason. I just chalked it up to an irritation they felt but I couldn't see - most likely an itch they couldn't get to right away. Keep an eye on her, and if you notice the skin rippling more often call your vet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,168 Posts
I've seen my cats ripple their skin seemingly for no reason. I just chalked it up to an irritation they felt but I couldn't see - most likely an itch they couldn't get to right away. Keep an eye on her, and if you notice the skin rippling more often call your vet.
Thanks, I'm relieved to hear mild skin rippling on occasion may be perfectly normal by itself. Her other "matching symptoms" seem different in that she really doesn't seem distressed during those episodes of tail chasing or crazy-spazzing, so hopefully that's just her playing and totally unrelated to that random rippling she experienced while eating. I looked up some videos of FH episodes and that's definitely not what Athena looks like when it happens. She doesn't do any of the chewing or frantic behavior.

I will keep an eye on her just to be safe, but I think it sounds like in her case it's nothing to worry about. Whew!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
I will keep an eye on her just to be safe, but I think it sounds like in her case it's nothing to worry about. Whew!
That's good to hear! And if you do happen to notice anything else that seems odd you can always have her checked out.

Generally getting up and bolting out of the room is also perfectly normal. Most cats do that, for whatever reason. Usually late for an appointment, I guess ;). My little one does a lot of bolting, and she sounds like a little horsey running across the kitchen floor. I like to grab her, flip her on the back and give her a "zerbert" on the belly, then watch her jump down off my bed and go tearing across the kitchen. :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,664 Posts
FH manifests in so many different ways ... it can range anywhere from mild-to-severe and last from just seconds to longer episodes. I don't know what causes it, mis-firing nerves? I just don't know.
Many times, cat can/will chase their tails, ripple their fur and leap/run suddenly, and those are perfectly normal behaviors. I think true issues with FH occur when an owner notices an obvious problem the cat is having with the skin rippling, biting, leaping and attacking their tails. Marmy would sometimes chase/catch his tail for fun and I could always tell that apart from his FH episodes as his body language behavior was *much* different between the two. Malibu also chases/catches her tail and for her, I can tell it is strictly for fun.
Sounds like your kitty may just be having fun or occasional mild episodes of FH. It doesn't seem to be anything to worry about, but I would try to remember to mention it to your vet and her next check-up or visit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Hi all,

We just got back from the vet. After a thorough check, nothing was really obvious. She had a temperature and had lost a bit of weight. The vet gave her a pain killer/anti inflammatory. The vet suspects there's a problem with her anal glands. She tried to check them, but you can probably guess how that went. :D From whatever she saw/felt she believes they may be quite blocked. She gave us some high fiber prescription food to feed for the next two days. We're going back Monday morning to see if there's improvement and then possibly have to sedate her and take some action on the suspected anal gland issue.
For other people that posted and are concerned about similar behavior, I think you would be able to tell if it's playing or it's a problem. It was pretty apparent that Zaya was in distress when she was chasing her tail and that she was NOT playing. Also, her whole demeanor had changed - she stopped participating in everything as much as she used to (for example, she stopped coming to sleep with me at night - probably because she couldn't stay asleep for long periods, but would get woken up by her problem, also she stopped hanging out with me in the bathroom as I get ready). She was really preoccupied with herself and I think that's one of the big signs that something is wrong. Anyway, I hope that this is something that can be fixed and she can get better. I was very sad this morning because she could not sit still for 5 minutes without attacking her tail or trying to run away from it. She just looked so miserable. :( Wish us luck on Monday. I don't know much about anal gland-related problems, but I hope it is not too serious.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,268 Posts
Thanks for the update. It puts in perspective what really is a tail or butt problem and what is just "play". I hope everything works out well with your cat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
I don't know much about anal gland-related problems, but I hope it is not too serious.
They CAN become serious - severely impacted to the point of rupture, but it seems to me that is usually only a problem in "parents" who don't know how to read their cat's behaviour or don't pay attention or just think "silly cat is being goofy and making us laugh".

Generally a cat's anal glands will naturally express themselves with every bowel movement. The high fibre food should help bulk up the stools to encourage that natural expressing. It should ease the discomfort enough for when she goes back on Monday. Maybe then they'll be able to get a better look at them, and possibly express them for her.

The pain reliever and anti-inflammatory will take care of any general discomfort and address possible discomfort while she's having bowel movements. Plus if there's any swelling that will go down.

Good luck for Monday :). Tell Zaya I hope she's feeling better soon.:kittyball
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,664 Posts
Ah. Well, I guess it's a good thing she doesn't have FH, but I hope the anal gland issue clears up soon as it can be a serious issue. I mean, I'd rather my cat had an issue that could be resolved over one that we'd have to learn to live with, but each has their risks.
*best wishes that things come out okay*
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Thank you all for the good wishes! Zaya is feeling much better today and she even came to bed to sleep with me, which she hasn't done for a while. I was so happy :) She doesn't like her high fiber food, so I had to put some tuna juice on it to make her eat it. She is eating it now and she has been doing very little chasing. I am glad she has some relief and hope that Monday's appointment will resolve the issue completely. It just feels so good to see her coming back to her normal self. I had no idea about how anal glands' function and what can cause them to become impacted or infected. Thank you, Church's Mum for a nice summary. I am a bit conflicted now. I also read that a soft, high fat diet can contribute to the problems because the stool is not hard enough to express the glands. I always thought that we fed Zaya the best food available (we are currently on Natures: Menu). Does this mean that we should start supplementing her food with fiber?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Just came back from the vet. Zaya's behavior has been improving and she has been almost back to normal today (almost no tail chasing), but she has pretty much stopped eating. I could not convince her to eat anything but canned tuna for the past two days. She has lost even more weight since our vet visit on Friday. They are keeping her for blood work and examination (checking her anal glands). I've never had to leave her at the vet's before and I'm so sad. She was clinging to me the whole time we were there and it's just so sad to have to leave her there all scared. I know it's not really a big deal and we'll get her back tonight, but I just can't help thinking about her sitting there all sad and alone and wondering if we've abandoned her :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Just came back from the vet. Zaya's behavior has been improving and she has been almost back to normal today (almost no tail chasing), but she has pretty much stopped eating. I could not convince her to eat anything but canned tuna for the past two days. She has lost even more weight since our vet visit on Friday. They are keeping her for blood work and examination (checking her anal glands). I've never had to leave her at the vet's before and I'm so sad. She was clinging to me the whole time we were there and it's just so sad to have to leave her there all scared. I know it's not really a big deal and we'll get her back tonight, but I just can't help thinking about her sitting there all sad and alone and wondering if we've abandoned her :(
Aw, poor girl :(. They'll take good care of her.

High fibre does work to soften stools, but it also helps to bulk them up if diarrhea is an issue. Personally, my preferred treatment for occasional constipation is a bit of hairball treatment, or what veterinary staff sometimes refer to as kitty laxative. If constipation is a major issue (and for some cats it is) once or twice a week should do. Check with your vet and see what he/she recommends.

Zaya will be very happy to see you when you pick her up later :). Let us know how it goes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Very bad news. Just had a talk with the vet. Zaya's kidneys are not working properly. Whatever it isB is not going to be easy. At this point I just hope she survives. So heartbroken. I'm in class right now and can't even concentrate, my eyes keep tearing up. She is so young, how could she have this?? They are keeping her and will flush her system and do more testing and an ultrasound. Please send us good wishes. I can't lose her.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top