I rarely post “pages” as opposed to “blog entries”, and I haven’t posted one since “Vivre avec un chat allergique”, way back when I thought Louis Catorze simply had unspecified skin allergies. But, now that we now he has feline hyperesthesia, I thought it would be worth doing another page about the condition, for people who want to read about that without hearing every detail of all his other stupid shit.
I am a member of an online feline hyperesthesia community which has grown from around 50 members (when I joined) to almost 300. This either means that more and more cats are suffering from this condition, or (I hope) that awareness is growing and people are being given answers and strategies.
If your cat has any sort of skin symptoms – or even if they don’t – the measures explained in “Vivre avec un chat allergique” can’t hurt, which is why I am keeping that page in place. But, if kitty has feline hyperesthesia, you will need to do more.
1. If you’re in any way uncertain, get a second opinion, a third, a fourth, whatever you need. Or contact the Royal Veterinary College direct. Our wonderful vets actually did this for us, after discussing at length between themselves, just to be sure.
2. None of us like drugging our feline overlords, but this won’t go away without treatment. We were told to be aggressive with treatment, which meant large doses (in our case, Gabapentin) that were very slowly reduced over time, as opposed to starting small and building up. Kitty will be stoned off their nut for a while, which is distressing to see, but they will get used to it. And if they are too stoned to chew on their body, quite frankly this is a good thing.
3. Cone your cat for as long as the vet says you have to. Kitty will hate it and hate you, and a few other cat owners disapproved of my doing this to Catorze. But: a cone, or bleeding, infected flesh? It’s a no-brainer, oui? (See below for a picture of Catorze’s tail at its worst, which I have never published before but I think people need to see the alternative to coning.)
4. Keep a diary of “episodes”, because this is extremely helpful to your vet. (My diary was this blog and the vets at Louis Catorze’s practice read it, swear words and all.)
5. Supervise your cat whenever possible. If a dumbo like Catorze can manage to figure out ingenious ways of getting a paw to the affected area, even with a cone, your (cleverer) cat certainly will.
6. When it comes to weaning kitty off the meds (once they have been symptom-free for however long – your vet will advise), do it slowly. Yes, it means that they will be drugged for longer. But, if the symptoms return, they are harder to eradicate second time around and could even travel further up the cat’s body. If need be, a tail can be amputated. But, if the symptoms start showing on the spine, you’re in real trouble.
Sorry if this has been hard to read. And I have to reiterate that you MUST talk to a proper, qualified professional before you follow any of these steps. But Louis Catorze is one of the few animals – possibly even the ONLY animal – in my feline hyperesthesia community who is now symptom- and drug-free, so clearly something we have done has worked. I really hope it can work for you, too.
Please let me know how things progress with your cat.