Cats have no problem letting us know what they like and what they don’t. But if a cat reacts way out of proportion when being petted on the back, it could be due to a peculiar clinical syndrome.
Feline hyperesthesia describes a cat’s intense sensitivity to touch along the back, usually just in front of the tail. Affected cats may become aggressive when the area is touched or may scratch at it themselves. Some exhibit other signs too, including skin rippling, drooling or tail chasing.
Depending on the cat, the behavior may reflect an obsessive compulsive disorder, a neurologic problem or something painful in the sensitive area.
These cats need to see a veterinarian as soon as possible before they hurt themselves. Fortunately, most cats can be treated, but it’s more effective when started sooner versus later.