We have a really loving cat that has had relatively few problems. He came from a shelter, so I don't know his exact age, but probably about five or six years old.

One day I was petting him (he came to me to be petted) and as I stroked his back, he went into a maniacal fit, biting both me and himself, and had to be pried away. I received several deep wounds.

I had a lesser event a week ago, and then several days ago it happened to my wife. The cat had climbed on her as she lay on the sofa, and she was petting him and made the mistake of running her hand down his back. He went totally crazy and did enough damage to her thumb that we had to take her to the E R 30 miles away.

If I'm really careful, I can induce the same thing at will by stroking his back in the right place. I stand as far away as possible, because he goes into a horrible fit that lasts about 10 to 15 seconds. He seems to have no control at all. It's scary.

This is a cat that is normally affectionate and a real lover. Now I'm kind of afraid to hold him anywhere near my face, and have to be really careful how I pet him.

I do not have a lot of money that I can spend on getting xrays and doing diagnostics. I need help. And so does my cat.

  • Vet visit. That doesn;t have to involve "a lot of money on. X-rays and diagnostics" if the problem can be determined by inspection.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 1:04

1 Answer 1


I'm very sorry to hear about your troubles. As Keshlam said, the first thing your kitty needs is a trip to the vet. Your vet should be able to rule out the basics without much extra cost, such as fleas and parasites. Also, your vet can rule out some of the obvious internal issues just by palpating him.

One thing I didn't understand from your post - When did you get your cat? Recently? Or are you saying that the cat didn't bite you when you rubbed his back and now he does? Also, is your cat overweight?

Many cats have a place they don't want to be petted. For many, it's the stomach. For some, they only like their head scratched. For other cats, it's the back at the base of the tail. This is a very sensitive area that some cats prefer you avoid.

Your cat either finds it painful or he gets overstimulated. Either way, the first thing to do is to stop petting your cat at the base of the tail.

Fleas and obesity are common reasons for hypersensitivity in this region. However, because your cat does not stop biting when you stop petting him, this tells me that the problem could be more neurological.

First of all, I am NOT a vet. All I can do is give you some best guesses.

If this is a new behavior for your cat, he may be getting arthritis. It may be most painful where the tail meets the back. Your vet would likely prescribe an anti-inflammatory. And, yes, it may require an X-ray.

If your cat has always had this condition (at least since you've had him), it could be hyperesthesia syndrome. My cat has a less severe form of this. There is an excellent explanation of the condition at the following site: Hyperesthesia Syndrome

Continue being careful not to get near this sensitive area while petting him. Even if you can only pet his head while he sits by you, you and your cat can still have a wonderful friendship and life together.

I wish you and your kitty the best.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.