Last week I took Gracie, our new cat, to visit the vet. The rescue organization we’d adopted her from had already given her the necessary vaccinations and even microchipped her. So this was just an introductory visit.
Sweet, crazy Gracie did not enjoy the experience, and I’m certain neither the vet or the vet tech did either. My cuddly, lovable cat went absolutely ballistic.
I came away with a bite. The vet sustained a couple of scratches. The vet tech cowered in a corner. It was not fun.
When we finally managed to get her pinned down, the vet looked her over and said she appeared healthy, but she noticed that Gracie’s back twitched, and she asked me about her toilet and grooming behaviors.
Now, Gracie takes her grooming seriously. Sometimes her grooming sessions take thirty minutes or more and she repeats the session many times a day. When she potties she takes up to ten minutes to cover up her waste, often returning to the box just to make sure she can neither see nor smell the poo or pee. She is fastidious.
She also scratches herself quite often. My first concern was fleas, but if she’d had any when she arrived in our home they’ve long been eradicated.
I told all of this to the vet and she said, “Your cat has a Type A personality,” but she went on to say that Gracie also has Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome, also known as Rolling Skin Syndrome. https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/hyperesthesia-syndrome
Apparently in some cats the condition can result in self-mutilation! Thankfully our Gracie doesn’t seem to be incapacitated by the syndrome, and ninety percent of the time she’s very laid-back. We’re trying some pheromone diffusers to calm her rather than resorting to any prescription medications that could have nasty side effects of their own.
Gracie is such a loving cat. In the mornings she hops into bed with me and makes a dramatic flop onto my chest as if to say, “I missed you, Mom!” She follows up with a great many kitty kisses and gentle pats to my face. She’s not going to let herself be defined by any old diagnosis.