Cat nipping

The cat is acting weird. He stares at a place on his body, at or ahead of the haunches on the left or right side, and then nips at it. He doesn’t worry the site; just nips at it and then stares at it some more. It’s driving ‘mom’ to distraction.

He doesn’t have fleas. There are no bumps or sores at the areas he’s nipping. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for it. I say he just has ‘the crawlies’.

Any idea what may be up with him?

Oh – Roomie says it’s not dermatitis. She knows what that looks like on him.

Cats are crazy.


Just a remote possibility, but have you given the cat any topical flea/tick drops recently? Sometimes the cheap OTC stuff or applying too much for the cat’s size can cause similar symptoms. If that is the case, you might consider a bath with Dawn dishwashing fluid. Focus on the area where it was applied, but also wash the rest of the body.

She did apply flea drops a week or two ago, but that was because he was nipping and she wanted to make sure there were no fleas. Also, he’s never had a reaction to flea drops.

Intestinal distress or other internal pain or discomfort? If it continues, I’d take him for a vet visit.

It appears to be external rather than internal. Seriously, it’s like he’s trying to get an insect – even though they aren’t there. ‘The crawlies’.

You know your cat better than I do, and you can surely see him a whole lot better than I can :smiley: . But the behavior you describe – distraction, vacant stares and/or stares at a body part, and biting without causing self mutilation pretty well describes common symptoms of gastrointestinal or other internal pain or at least discomfort in many species.

I’m not sure what “the crawlies” might be. If it means some transient and apparently cause-less irritation or discomfort, that may be accurate. But the critical word here is ‘transient’. Again, if the behavior continues, I’d look for some underlying cause.

FHS perhaps?

One of my cats went through that after getting the tip of his tail amputated. In his case it was most likely related to “phantom pain” from the severed appendage, but it did result in self-mutilation severe enough to require some medical intervention. A steady course of the tricyclic amytriptyline, now tapered off and discontinued, eventually weaned him of it ( my vet called it “resetting his brain” ), but it was a lengthy process.

Might just be nerves. Is he usually anxious or neurotic?

My older cat is a bit crazy (all right, more than a bit) and she compulsively grooms and plucks chunks of fur from her right flank, enough so that there is a small noticeable thin/balding spot at all times. I’m just glad she’s not one of those cats who pulls all their fur out. This has been going on for 5 years (since she was a year old or so) and she has never had any health problems, besides being a moody bitch.

Picture a junkie. ‘Get them off! Get them off!:stuck_out_tongue:

He’s actually quite a happy cat. He does get a little naggy when he thinks I should go to bed, but other than that he’s pretty well adjusted. He likes the house (bigger than roomie’s apartment was), and he gets plenty of attention. And he can look out the screen door at the squirrels and birds and transiting cats. He hasn’t had a seizure since he’s been here. Maybe he needs a little Phenobarbital.

Hm. It says it may come from boredom. He does seem to get bored sometimes. (But he doesn’t like to play.) But as described above, he’s not starved for attention.

Roomie read the article. She said that the nipping might be related to the seizures. Harvey hasn’t been nipping today. She’s going to wait until he starts doing it again, and then give him some Phenobarbital to see if there’s any correlation.

Thanks for the lead.