Monday, June 8, 2009

The Chronicles of Casey "The Grouch"

By Daniel Quagliozzi


As promised, we are featuring our Offspice (office hospice) cat, Casey in today's blog. After spending a few months with this very unique feline, it's high time we told the world about his amazing qualities!


Casey came to the San Francisco SPCA through our SIDO Program after his guardian became too ill to take care of himself and his cat. With no choice but to confide in the SF/SPCA for Casey's well being, he made the choice to surrender his beautiful declawed Himalayan to our shelter. The only prior health history passed along with this very unique 14 year old was a note about mysterious seizures.

After his health check, the shelter veterinarians discovered that not only did Casey have seizures, but he also had degenerative joint disease, leaving him very achy and causing him to lumber heavily on his back legs as he attempted to walk. While shaving Casey free of mats, it was also discovered that he has extreme skin sensitivity, prompting him to bite and swat when handled near his tail and back. Casey would prove to be a very challenging cat to understand.


The Cat Behavior Office seemed like the best place for our staff to gain understanding of Casey's behavior, habits and most importantly, to keep a close watch on his seizures. Like a fish to water, he made himself very "at home" in our office, enjoying the regularity of scheduled meals, companionship from Jamey and I... and most of all, the solitude of a quiet place to take some serious nap time.

We have learned quite a bit about Casey and at this point we are quite attached to him.We found out the hard way that he likes petting on his own terms and will not tolerate any hands near his tail, sides or even near his head. Now, that doesn't mean he is untouchable. Quite simply, Casey is an aloof cat that likes his distance. When he's had enough petting, he walks away. Sometimes, he turns his back on you. If you push the issue, Casey will resort to swatting or biting. His grouchy demeanor has made us very appreciative of the beauty he so richly tries to preserve. Like a fine work of art, Casey requires a very delicate touch and must be admired from a far. His nickname became Casey "The Grouch" as he bares resemblance to Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street (in the cutest way of course).


Casey doesn't really ask for much, a trait we are not used to when sponsering a cat in our office. Most of our cats are very social, actively seek our attention (even if it means crawling on our desks while we work) and are very vocal ,which can be distracting when trying to do a behavior consulation on the phone. Casey rarely makes a peep and stays on the ground because it hurts to climb up high. He will give you the occasional nudge with his head but does not require any petting. Remember: Casey is a grouch. But....he's OUR grouch!

The official terminology for Casey's disorder is Feline Hyperesthesia or "rolling skin disease". Symptoms include extreme sensitivity to touch along the spine and tail, rolling or itchy skin, seizures, hallucinations and vocalization. This disorder is prevalent in breeds such as Siamese and Himalayans. Although we have poked fun at Casey's unique personality, his disorder is no laughing matter.


None of these behaviors or qualities make Casey un-adoptable. In fact, at the age of 14, Casey would probably be much happier living in a home. If you are interested in Casey and think that you might be able to provide a loving home for him, give medication for his achy joints and keep a close eye on his occasional seizures, feel free to email us at We can set up a time for you to come see him in his habitat.

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