Twitching skin

Some cats have an occasional problem with skin twitches, usually on their backs. It may only last for a second or two, and may happen a couple times a day. This is not normal.

This condition, hyperesthesia syndrome, is miserable and it can get much worse. Some cats suddenly jump and run, acting as though they are hallucinating. A few have such intense fear that they defecate as they race off. It’s no fun.

There is a lot that can be done for hyperesthesia but it’s seldom simple.

  • Fleas, mange, ringworm, and bacterial or yeast infections need to be ruled out.
  • Many affected cats have allergies to pollens or their diets.
  • There are rare cases caused by disc or bladder disease, brain lesions or even cancer.
  • Anxiety is responsible in some cats; it is a certain result in all of them.

Diagnosing the cause:

  • Lab work is necessary to check for infections.
  • Drug trials may be useful to rule out allergies and some parasites.

Beyond all the physical issues your cat can feel better faster with a prescription for doxepin, an antianxiety medication with antihistamine activity. Be sure he is free of harassment from other cats or other environmental stresses; his twitchy skin may have behavioral causes only. This is serious business. Failure to control it can lead to a compulsive disorder.