Why Do Cats Back Twitch – Is It Normal?


If you observe your cat and notice its back twitching when you pet it or at random times, you may wonder if there is a problem. However, if your cat doesn’t show any other signs of discomfort besides the twitching, you may question why this happens and whether it is normal.

When you pet a cat, their backs may twitch due to involuntary reflexes caused by the Cutaneous muscle. However, back twitching in cats can also be caused by Feline hyperesthesia syndrome, fleas, muscle spasms, and neurological disorders.

Fortunately, a back twitch in cats is not a cause for concern. The reason behind cats’ back twitching could be due to patting or the presence of fleas crawling on their skin. Although it could be an uncommon medical condition, it is unlikely to happen to your cat. Therefore, let’s delve deeper into this peculiar behavior exhibited by many felines.

What Does it Mean When My Cat’s Back Twitches

When a cat‘s back twitches, it could be due to petting or the presence of fleas.

When you pet your cat, you may observe that his back begins to twitch, either in expectation or immediately after you begin stroking his coat, which is typically caused by the sensation of receiving affection from you.

If your cat is experiencing twitching in their back, it could be due to fleas, as the sensation of a flea crawling on one’s back can cause twitching. Therefore, if you observe increased restlessness and twitching in your cat, it is advisable to check for fleas as they may be the cause.

Is It Normal for Cats to Twitch

It is a normal behavior for cats to have twitching in their back.

If you pay close attention to your cat, you will observe that it experiences back twitching at various intervals, such as when it is sleeping or being petted.

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Cat back twitches are a typical and natural occurrence, particularly in the situations I previously described.

It is uncommon for cats to twitch their back due to pain. Although it may startle you at first, with time, you will become familiar with your cat’s behavior and consider it normal.

Why Does My Cat Twitch When I Pet Her

Cats experience twitching on their back when petted due to the sensation they feel.

When I stroke my cat, particularly on her back, she experiences a twitching sensation, which is not an indication of pain but rather a reaction to the unexpected touch and the feeling of my hand on her fur.

If you’re being affectionate with your feline and stroking it as you should be, then the twitching is simply occurring out of surprise. You may observe that your cat may arch its back joyfully after you begin petting it too.

Don’t worry if your cat experiences some back twitching while you pet them!

Why is My Cat Twitching When Sleeping

If your cat is experiencing back twitching while it is asleep, then it is likely that your cat is dreaming.

Cats, just like humans, experience dreams during their sleep and do not have dreamless periods. It is common to observe them running in their sleep or dreaming of past events, which may seem unusual at first but is completely normal.

The back twitch in cats is a normal phenomenon that occurs during their sleep, similar to how humans may experience movements or twitches while dreaming, and can range from subtle motions to more pronounced leg kicks.

What Is Twitchy Cat Syndrome

Cat back twitch, also called Feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS), is a rare ailment in felines that results in cats gnawing or licking their back and tail.

The condition known as twitchy cat syndrome may sound frightening, but fortunately, it is not a common occurrence in cats, so there is no need to be concerned about your feline experiencing it.

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If your feline companion experiences twitchy cat syndrome, you will observe that it goes through phases of self-biting or self-licking, and this phenomenon is named so because its back may also experience spasms simultaneously.

If you notice your cat‘s back twitching, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that it has twitchy cat syndrome, so there’s no need to panic. This condition is uncommon and serious, and you may never encounter it.

Is Hyperesthesia In Cats Painful

While FHS episodes can be distressing and cause discomfort to your cat, the primary source of this behavior is self-grooming through licking and biting.

While FHS is not inherently painful, it can cause discomfort if your cat incessantly licks and bites its back, potentially resulting in hair loss and an inability to cease the behavior.

In case you observe your cat injuring its own back while experiencing FHS, it might be essential to buy a specific collar for your pet and use bandages if excessive fur is ripped out and self-biting occurs.

How Do Cats Get Hyperesthesia Syndrome

The cause of Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome (FHS) in cats is not well understood, but there could be underlying factors that contribute to its development.

Due to its rarity, the precise cause of FHS is challenging for scientists and veterinarians to determine, although the symptoms mentioned earlier are typical signs that your cat might develop FHS; however, having these symptoms does not necessarily imply that your cat will develop FHS.

There is a belief among scientists that even purebred cats may be susceptible to experiencing FHS, but the connection between the two remains unclear.

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How Long Do Feline Hyperesthesia Episodes Last

Cat back twitching episodes can range from a few seconds to several minutes.

Episodes of Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome (FHS) are brief and infrequent. During an FHS episode, a cat’s back twitching will last for a few seconds to a few minutes, with some rare cases lasting longer, but typically lasting less than a couple of minutes.

During the intervals between these occurrences, your cat will exhibit typical behavior. That’s why they are called “episodes” because they don’t happen continuously or for extended periods, but they can be intense when they do occur.

Why Is My Cat Having Muscle Spasms

Cats typically experience muscle spasms due to various underlying neurological issues.

If you observe your cat experiencing muscle contractions, it could be an indication of a serious health issue such as Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome (FHS).

Cats may experience muscle spasms due to various reasons, such as:

  • Neurological disorders
  • Seizures
  • Feline dementia 

If your cat exhibits back muscle spasms, it is advisable to seek advice from a veterinarian who can conduct tests and provide a diagnosis. Swift diagnosis may enable you to create a treatment regimen for your feline.

If you notice your cat twitching or experiencing spasms, it’s natural to feel concerned. Nevertheless, in most cases, the twitching is simply a normal occurrence that humans also experience. Although rare, twitching could indicate other disorders; however, this is uncommon. Unless the twitching becomes persistent or severe, it’s safe to assume that it’s just a peculiar habit.

You can also check this YouTube video about this topic:

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