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July 3rd 06, 05:00 PM
Hi --

My cat Frankie is an 11-year-old male, who somewhat resembles a Maine
Coon cat (dark tabby, medium lenghth fur, large body, short legs).
Generally he has a very laid back and friendly disposition, but also
through the years he's been scared of a number of things, usually
sounds. He used to go outside in the yard to bite grass and run around
(especially when it's raining!). He's never attempted to jump over the
fence or leave the yard. He likes to stay near home. Until a month or
so ago, going outside in the yard seemed to be one of his favorite
things to do. He also used to like to sit by the window and look
outside.

About two months ago, after Frankie had been outside, he came running
in, in a sort of panic. He also had a twitch in his back, and
repeatedly licked on spot on his back, and then would run back and
forth in a kind of maniacal way. He did this for a while, and then hid
under the couch. For the next few hours, he had a strange look in his
eye and couldn't seem to relax. That one spot on his back seemed to
twitch a lot, but he also was generally "twitchy." We thought he'd
either been bitten by something or had eaten something that affected
his nervous system. But he recovered and then was normal for the next
couple of weeks. Then, almost the exact same thing happened again, only
it wasn't as severe and didn't last as long. Plus, Frankie had only
been outside for a moment, and didn't really have time to have eaten
anything or been stung by anything. After that I decided to keep him
indoors for a couple of days.

Since then, he absolutely will not go outside. He won't even sit by the
sliding door or any windows. If the door is open and he feels a breeze,
he suddenly gets twitchy again and runs under the couch. My husband
tried just carrying him outside to see if he'd stay, but he got
extremely frightened and ran inside immediately.

Anyone have any ideas of what's going on? I've been telling this story
to my friends who have cats, and nobody yet seems to have a clue.

Thanks,
Donna

dkossy
July 4th 06, 04:50 PM
treeline --

Thanks for your ideas. There are plenty of cats in the neighborhood,
some are strays. Frankie is rarely afraid of other cats (he usually
bounds up to them in what looks to me like a friendly way & scares them
because of his size!) but I know that in the past he has been afraid of
the voices of neighbors, especially children. (He originally lived with
neighbors who had small children, who then abandoned him when they
moved out, when he was about 5 months old. We found him living outside
in the rain, with only a cardboard box for shelter.) I'm pretty sure he
wasn't bitten by a stray, but you never know. When Frankie's in the
yard we're not far away & I don't think there were any other cats in
the yard that day, but I can't say for sure. There's only one stray
that occasionally comes in our yard and we always chase him out. Your
idea about a smell also makes sense. Before this incident, there were
plenty of times Frankie suddenly got scared and ran inside for no
apparent reason. (But then he was always happy to go right back out
shortly thereafter. His not going out at all any more, or even sitting
up on the window to look outside, is really surprising.)

I guess what stumps me as much as the fear is the twitching behavior,
which I hadn't seen before. But maybe that's just his "nerves" on
overdrive when he gets scared.

-- Donna

22brix
July 4th 06, 05:56 PM
"dkossy" > wrote in message
ups.com...
> treeline --
>
> Thanks for your ideas. There are plenty of cats in the neighborhood,
> some are strays. Frankie is rarely afraid of other cats (he usually
> bounds up to them in what looks to me like a friendly way & scares them
> because of his size!) but I know that in the past he has been afraid of
> the voices of neighbors, especially children. (He originally lived with
> neighbors who had small children, who then abandoned him when they
> moved out, when he was about 5 months old. We found him living outside
> in the rain, with only a cardboard box for shelter.) I'm pretty sure he
> wasn't bitten by a stray, but you never know. When Frankie's in the
> yard we're not far away & I don't think there were any other cats in
> the yard that day, but I can't say for sure. There's only one stray
> that occasionally comes in our yard and we always chase him out. Your
> idea about a smell also makes sense. Before this incident, there were
> plenty of times Frankie suddenly got scared and ran inside for no
> apparent reason. (But then he was always happy to go right back out
> shortly thereafter. His not going out at all any more, or even sitting
> up on the window to look outside, is really surprising.)
>
> I guess what stumps me as much as the fear is the twitching behavior,
> which I hadn't seen before. But maybe that's just his "nerves" on
> overdrive when he gets scared.
>
> -- Donna

He may have been stung by an insect--it doesn't take long!! The twitchiness
on his back and his attention to that area would make me think of something
like that. Cats can have very looooong memories when something hurts them!!
Or could someone have thrown something at him and hit him? Just the fact
that he was twitchy in that one area and kept licking it makes me think
something came in contact with him. I've also had cats that will
compulsively groom themselves if they've been embarassed or frightened but
usually they didn't concentrate on one spot like that.

Bonnie

dkossy
July 4th 06, 06:54 PM
Bonnie --

Originally, I too was thinking he must have been stung by something.
But when I've brushed & combed him -- even just after the first
incident -- there was never any irregularity or scab or sensitivity on
that spot. And why would he continue to concentrate on that one spot
several months later? It's only when he gets spooked that he licks that
spot. Which is why we thought it was some kind of nervous or
psychological thing.

-- Donna

>
> He may have been stung by an insect--it doesn't take long!! The twitchiness
> on his back and his attention to that area would make me think of something
> like that. Cats can have very looooong memories when something hurts them!!
> Or could someone have thrown something at him and hit him? Just the fact
> that he was twitchy in that one area and kept licking it makes me think
> something came in contact with him. I've also had cats that will
> compulsively groom themselves if they've been embarassed or frightened but
> usually they didn't concentrate on one spot like that.
>
> Bonnie

dkossy
July 4th 06, 10:05 PM
Yeah, I'm beginning to think it may have been a sting that traumatized
him. But of course I'll never know for sure. But at least he seems to
enjoy life to the extent that he spends a lot of his time sprawled out
on the living room floor on his back, the very picture of relaxation!

22brix wrote:
> Not every sting leaves a welt or spot. But since it doesn't seem he was
> hurt he must have been frightened badly by something--you'll probably never
> know! Short of any other physical problems sounds like whatever scared him
> did a good job--and he's associating all outdoor things with something BAD.
> Poor kitty!
>
> Bonnie
>
> "dkossy" > wrote in message
> oups.com...
> > Bonnie --
> >
> > Originally, I too was thinking he must have been stung by something.
> > But when I've brushed & combed him -- even just after the first
> > incident -- there was never any irregularity or scab or sensitivity on
> > that spot. And why would he continue to concentrate on that one spot
> > several months later? It's only when he gets spooked that he licks that
> > spot. Which is why we thought it was some kind of nervous or
> > psychological thing.
> >
> > -- Donna
> >
> >>
> >> He may have been stung by an insect--it doesn't take long!! The
> >> twitchiness
> >> on his back and his attention to that area would make me think of
> >> something
> >> like that. Cats can have very looooong memories when something hurts
> >> them!!
> >> Or could someone have thrown something at him and hit him? Just the
> >> fact
> >> that he was twitchy in that one area and kept licking it makes me think
> >> something came in contact with him. I've also had cats that will
> >> compulsively groom themselves if they've been embarassed or frightened
> >> but
> >> usually they didn't concentrate on one spot like that.
> >>
> >> Bonnie
> >

July 4th 06, 11:07 PM
dkossy wrote:
> treeline --
>
> Thanks for your ideas. There are plenty of cats in the neighborhood,
> some are strays. Frankie is rarely afraid of other cats (he usually

my, my, donna, you're so polite, are you new here?

> I guess what stumps me as much as the fear is the twitching behavior,
> which I hadn't seen before. But maybe that's just his "nerves" on
> overdrive when he gets scared.
>
> -- Donna

in my very limited experience, i found that neurologists as a group of
medicine men are rather incompetent, and that animal neurologists, for
the most part, do not exist, outside a major research place, like
boston. twitching always bothers me. after i had my cat dewormed,
probably unnecessarily, and shots, and this and that, too much, she had
a slight twitch with the left paw. but it's rare now but still there.

i don't follow twitching on the back. you might want to take notes.
exactly where, how many twitches, how long duration, what were
immediately preceding circumstances, and so on. your cat might not feel
better, but you might.

and if you ever meet someone who acutally knows about cat's
neurophysiology [and there are some since the cat's nervous system is
very, very similar to we human animals and hence a big-time part of
neurological research, poor kitties] you can use your notes then.

when he twitches, can you massage the spot? is it spasming? people do
that too. I do it. it's a major cause of bad backs in my not so humble
opinion. and stress alone can bring it on, besides physical locomotive
stress.

and muscles have emotional memory, hence, the rolfing method of massage
and counseling combined. you really need to sit down and have a long,
soothing talk with your cat. he knows best what ails his furry bod.

dkossy
July 5th 06, 09:42 PM
Update:

Someone emailed me & suggested Frankie has something called feline
hyperesthesia & from the descriptions (on various pet & vet. websites),
Frankie does seem to fit the pattern. The symptoms include twitching &
compulsive licking along the back part of the spine & general
hypersensitivity to touch, which would explain why he gets freaked when
he feels a breeze. It also sounds like there are other cats who have
symptoms similar to Frankie's, though Frankie's case sounds less severe
than most. For now, he seems to be doing fine as long as he stays
inside, so I'll just keep an eye on him.

-- Donna