Q. Our 4-year-old female shorthair cat is starting to become very tender over the lower back to the tail base and will occasionally attempt to bite us if we pet her too much there. There doesn't appear to be any sores, and she has very few fleas, if any. Most of the time, we can pet and scratch her without any problems, but when she does get sensitive, her bite hurts. Is there something we can do for her? Does she have some kind of skin disease? There is no hair loss and she acts normally otherwise.
S. Marnz, Seal Beach
A. What you have described is most likely a condition called feline hyperesthesia, and it may be very difficult to diagnose a cause. It is a neurological condition that can be the result of sensitive skin, fleas allergy, injury to the back or spine, or hormonal or even nutritional disorders.
You should have her examined by your veterinarian so that a few tests can be performed. It may be necessary to do a skin scraping or fungal culture if there are any lesions present. Her anal sacs will need to be checked, and a spinal radiograph may be necessary to rule out any injury or disorder to the back bones.