Why does touching my cat's hindquarters make him bite his paws?

  • Recently (within the past 2 weeks or so), touching my cat's hindquarters has resulted in him frantically biting his (FRONT) paws. I noticed it for the first time when I was petting him while he was sitting (he looked like a drinky bird). Also, if he can't reach his paws (I'm in the way or something), he'll bite whatever is in reach.

    The biting isn't a problem (he had stomatitis so badly that we had his teeth removed), but I can't figure out what's causing this behavior (and the other 3 cats don't do it). Has anyone ever seen this before?

    Update: After a few weeks all of our cats developed this behavior.

    If I scratch my cat's back just in front of his tail, he will immediately stick out his tongue and lick and bite his front legs and paws. Sometimes he will even lick the air. It is actually comical to watch because he acts like his actions have been taken over by a remote control. He only does this when I scratch a specific place on his back just in front of his tail. He does not have skin problems or any illnesses.

    My cat does this to, we brought her to the vet, she said it’s just a skin problem and said “it doesn’t hurt her.”

  • Zaralynda

    Zaralynda Correct answer

    7 years ago

    The skin problems that cropped up at about the same time eventually led our general vet to recommend us to a dermatologist.

    The veterinarian dermatologist told us that when a cat bites at their front legs while you're touching them, it's an itch response. They nicknamed it "corn cobbing" because it looks like the cat is eating a cob of corn (except instead of corn it's their leg).

    Cats can't verbally tell us where they're itching, but signs like "corn cobbing" and hair loss helped the veterinarian dermatologist to find the culprit in our case - the 0.38 mm cheyletiella mite.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM