Why Do Cats Back Twitch – Is It Normal?


When you go to pet your cat, you notice that your cat’s back begins twitching. Other times, your cat’s back randomly twitches. You worry that your cat may be hurt, but your cat doesn’t show any signs of distress other than its back twitching. So this made me wonder, why do cats back twitch? 

Cat’s backs twitch because of involuntary reflexes caused by the Cutaneous muscle when you pet hem. Feline hyperesthesia syndrome,  fleas, muscle spasms, and neurological disorders can also cause back twitching in cats. 

Thankfully, a twitching back isn’t anything that should worry you. Cats’ backs twitch when they’re pat or when they have a flea that crawls over their skin. On some infrequent occasions, your cat’s twitching may be a rare medical condition, though chances are it isn’t happening to your cat. So let’s talk more about this strange habit of many cats.

What Does it Mean When My Cat’s Back Twitches

If your cat’s back is twitching, it may be because you pet your cat or because it has a flea, for example.

If you go to pet your cat, you might notice that his back starts to twitch, either in anticipation or right after you start stroking his fur. This twitching usually is just caused by the feeling of getting pets from you.

Your cat’s back might also be twitching if your cat has fleas. I mean, imagine if you had a flea crawling up your back! The sensation and thought of it alone probably has you twitching. If your cat has become more restless than usual and you notice more twitching, check your cat for fleas. That could be the culprit too. 

Is It Normal for Cats to Twitch

Yes, it is normal for your cat’s back to twitch.

If you observe your cat closely, you’ll notice that your cat twitches at different times. Your cat may twitch while it’s sleeping or when you pet your cat.

These twitches are entirely normal, especially in the cases I just mentioned. 

Rarely is your cat’s twitching connected to pain. I know you may get startled when you first see your cat doing it, but you’ll quickly learn your cat’s habits, and it will all become normal with time. 

Why Does My Cat Twitch When I Pet Her

Your cat twitches when you pet her because of the sensation that she is feeling.

Whenever I pet my cat, especially on her back, her back twitches, her twitching doesn’t mean she’s in pain, just that she’s a little surprised by the petting and the sensation of my hand against her fur.

If you’re being gentle with your cat and petting it as you should be, then the twitching is just happening out of surprise. You might notice that your cat may arch its back happily after you start petting it too. 

Never fear some twitching when you pet your cat! 

Why is My Cat Twitching When Sleeping

If your cat is twitching while it is sleeping, then your cat is probably dreaming.

Cats, like you and I, dream in their sleep. Cats do not have dreamless periods of sleep. They may dream of events that happened to them, or you may notice that they look like they’re running in their sleep. Even though it might be surprising the first time you see it, it is entirely normal. 

The twitching that you see is just part of their dream. After all, I’m sure you’ve woken up tossing and turning or twitching because of a dream you had. The twitching you see will range from gentle movements to full-blown leg kicks. 

What Is Twitchy Cat Syndrome

Twitchy cat syndrome, also known as Feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS), is an uncommon condition in cats that causes cats to bite or lick their back and tail. 

Twitchy cat syndrome sounds like one of the scariest conditions that you’ve never heard of. Thankfully, twitchy cat syndrome isn’t common in cats, so you don’t have to worry about your cat falling victim to it. 

If your cat has twitchy cat syndrome, then you’ll notice that your cat will go through episodes of biting or licking itself. It’s called twitchy cat syndrome because your cat’s back may also twitch as it happens. 

Your cat’s twitching back doesn’t automatically mean that it has twitchy cat syndrome, so don’t get scared if you see your cat’s back twitching. This is a rare, severe disease that you may never run into. 

Is Hyperesthesia In Cats Painful

Although FHS episodes can be severe and cause your cat pain, the main comes from your cat licking and biting itself. 

FHS itself is not a painful condition by itself, but your cat licking and biting itself can lead to pain. Your cat may bite its tail or back or rips its hair out. Your cat won’t be able to stop biting or licking itself, which may be difficult to stop. 

If you notice that your cat is hurting itself during FHS episodes, you may need to purchase a special collar for your cat. Bandages may also be necessary if your cat rips out too much fur and then bites itself. 

How Do Cats Get Hyperesthesia Syndrome

Not much is known about how cats get FHS, but there may be underlying conditions that may lead to cats getting FHS. 

  • Underlying behavioral problems in your cat
  • Neurological problems 
  • Seizure disorders that your cat has
  • Being a purebred cat 

Since FHS is a rare disease, it is difficult for scientists and veterinarians to know FHS’s exact cause. The conditions listed above are common indicators that your cat may develop FHS, but your cat having these conditions also doesn’t mean that your cat will develop FHS. 

Some scientists believe that purebred cats are predisposed to getting FHS as well, but the link is also unknown. 

How Long Do Feline Hyperesthesia Episodes Last

Feline Hyperesthesia episodes last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.

FHS episodes don’t last very long and do not happen all the time. When your cat experiences an FHS episode, the episode will last a few seconds to a few minutes. Rarely, the episodes may last longer, but most happen for less than a couple of minutes.

In the time between these episodes, your cat will act normal. This is why FHS episodes are referred to as “episodes.” They do not constantly happen or for long periods, but they can be severe when they do happen. 

Why Is My Cat Having Muscle Spasms

Cats usually have muscle spasms because of other underlying neurological conditions. 

If you notice your cat has muscle spasms, it may be because of a severe medical condition. For instance, muscle spasms, maybe because of FHS. 

Other conditions that lead to muscle spasms can include:

  • Neurological disorders
  • Seizures
  • Feline dementia 

If you notice that your cat is experiencing muscle spasms, then you should consult with your veterinarian. Your vet can perform tests and help diagnose your cat. If you can diagnose your cat quickly, you may develop a treatment plan for your cat. 

When you care about your cat, any strange movement like twitching or spasms are a means for concern. However, most of the time, the twitching that your cat is experiencing is just a twitch that you may have as a human. Rarely, twitching may be a symptom of other disorders, though these are very rare. Unless the twitching becomes constant or severe, you can write the twitching off as a quirky habit. 

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