Feline hyperesthesia disorder, sometimes referred to as rolling skin syndrome, is not well understood. When a cat has FHS, symptoms will include the pet seeming to hallucinate, having manic, hyperactive and even aggressive episodes, obsessive grooming and possibly even seizures. The reason why FHS develops in some cats is not clear. Conventional veterinary treatment for the disorder includes the use of antidepressants and generally Phenobarbital. Because FHS may have some links to stress in a cat’s life, treatment–whether homeopathic or conventional–generally begin with lifestyle and environmental changes for the cat.
It’s especially important for a cat with FHS to get daily aerobic exercise. There should be daily sessions in which you interact with your cat using feathers and wand toys to encourage exercise. You can hide dry treats in various places around the house. This will encourage the cat to hunt, giving your pet some mental and physical exercise. Consider teaching the cat new tricks to provide mental stimulation and exercise as stress relief. Adopting a second cat to provide companionship and to encourage activity might also be an option to consider.
Having your cat’s activities on a schedule will help to reduce stress. Make sure your cat suffering from feline hyperesthesia knows what time to expect to play, eat and have the litter box scooped. Feeding the pet on a regular schedule and frequently will stop any worry about food that may contribute to the cat’s stress levels.
In treating hyperesthesia in cats, most homeopathic practitioners use remedies similar to those used to treat seizure disorders. This is because FHS has so many similarities to various seizure disorders. Common homeopathic remedies used include hyoscyamus, belladonna and coprum mettalicum. Along with these homeopathic remedies, the herbs passionflower and skullcap are often included in anti-seizure remedies.
If you do intend to treat your cat’s feline hyperesthesia syndrome homeopathically, consult with a homeopathic veterinarian. You can find a homeopathic veterinary practitioner in your area by visiting the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association’s website at ahvma.org (see “Resources”).
It’s important that you continue to work with your cat and not assume the condition is cured because episodes are less frequent. Give the cat daily attention, at least 10 minutes devoted solely to playing with the pet. Do not punish the cat for behavior that is the result of hyperesthesia. This will only increase anxiety and cause symptoms of the disorder to worsen. Follow-up with your homeopathic veterinarian to ensure the remedies are working and to ensure an underlying medical condition is not contributing to your cat’s anxiety.