Can Cats Outgrow Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome?

CatChannel veterinary expert, Arnold Plotnick, DVM, explains symptoms and treatments for this cat health problem.

Watch out for this condition. Via Pixabay


My 7-year-old neutered male Siamese cat has feline hyperesthesia syndrome. Do you know any cats that have out grown this? He has had it for over two years.


Hyperesthesia syndrome, sometimes referred to as “rolling skin syndrome,” is a problem in cats that can cause twitching of the skin (especially around the base of the tail), vocalizing, excessive grooming, sudden jerking, and running around as if being chased. Affected cats can also self-mutilate, which can cause hair loss or severe skin irritation or injury. Siamese, Burmese, Himalayans and Abyssinians are the most commonly affected breeds.

I have had success controlling this problem in cats with anti-obsessional drugs, such as fluoxetine, and with anticonvulsant drugs such as phenobarbital. But I have not seen cats outgrow this behavior, and in the cases where I’ve tried to wean the cat off of their medication, or where the clients stopped giving the drugs on their own, the symptoms usually return. But, as long as you administer the medication, most cats’ symptoms remain well-controlled, and side effects of the long-term use of these drugs are minimal.

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Article Categories:
Behavior and Training · Cats