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A very mentally unstable cat

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I have been researching for info on cats like mine and have started joined various forums instead since information on this subject is scarce, at least information to the degree that I need it. So here is Cleo's story.
I got Cleo just this last summer. I think she is around 7 yrs old, give or take a little. She is a long haired, declawed cat.(I did NOT declaw her.) Her past is very troubled in nelgectful. Her first home that I know of, perhaps not her FIRST home, was VERY abusive and neglectful. Cleo has serious allergic reactions to fleas, and these people did not do anything to treat this. They simply threw her outside when she got fleas, probably because she is quite neurotic, loud, and unstable once she starts itching from flea bites. This is totally unacceptable, because Cleo's fleas jsut got worse outside, and she was declawed. Its a wonder no dogs killed her. So, she lost all her hair and lost weight, as she will still do to some degree the minute fleas start bothering her. My friend lived across the stree from these people, and her and her mom called humane officers on the people who owner Cleo, and these people ended up fighting with my friends mom and actually throwing Cleo across the street at them. They took Cleo in.
My friend's mom keeps way too many cats. She takes good care of all of them, but there is just too many. Cleo made number 13. And all the other cats wouldnot accept her, and beat up on her. THerefor, she was kept in one room most of the time alone. She became ill-socialized and even more neurotic. This went on for almost 2 years, then I offered to take Cleo becuase my friend's mom was at her wits end, and I felt bad for Cleo being locked up all the time. Plus there was quite a bit of yelling and fighitng going on among the people at this house, and this atmosphere made Cleo even more paranoid and frightful.
So my boyfriend and I took her in as we got a new apartment. Needless to say, Cleo was paranoid and skittish, but took to us immedieately. She has always LOVED people to no avail, and is very clingy. But she was always, well, really weird to say the least. Understandably so.
We worked with her, and even brought a very friendly stray cat into the house who was VERY patient and friendly with Cleo. This helped her fear and hatred of other cats A LOT. Unfortunately that stray got sick and we had to have the poor thing put down. But I think the experience did Cleo a lot of good.
So the problems:
1. Classic urinary problems. No she isn't sick in any way. She sometimes pees on rugs and blankets, honestly, to spite us. If you sit with her, petting her, then get up to do something else, she starts meowing in a way that you would think she was being killed, then squats on the nearest rug and proceeds to pee. We catch her in the act a lot, and take her to the litter box (which she usually always uses) and she KNOWS shes not supposed to do it. She cringes and runs the minute we walk near her if she has peed on a rug recently. If we cant find her, she is hiding because she undoubtably has peed on a rug. Every time. She was bad about this, then we retrained her and she stopped alltogether. But just this morning, she pulled the "Im pissed at you because you walked away from petting me" stunt. I had to get up for class, and she went nuts screaming and meowing then peed on a rug. I caught her. Perhaps she get so upset that you are leaving her that she loses control of her bladder. Perhaps sshe is angry, I don't know.

2. Seperation anxiety: Sometimes, what she will do is cry and cry when my boyfriend or I walk into the room. She will stare at us and meow sorrowfully, and we will talk to her and pat our legs and sit down for her, but she will still just sit where ever she is and meow at us. We have stopped going to her when she does this, because I think this simply reinforces this spoiled behavoir. My friends mother always does whatever her cats want, I mean WHATEVER they want, and I know a lot of this behavoir in Cleo came from this kind of environment. So now we ignore her when she does this, and do not show her affection until she comes to us physically, and she is starting to slowly but surely change.
She is incredibly clingy to people, and must be the center of attention at ALL TIMES or she gets angry and aggitated. If you are reading a book and push her out from in front of your face, she will sometimes even growl. Some of this is normal cat behavoir I know, but trust me, it is very intense in Cleo. Almost unbearable at times. (and I have endless patience with animals.)

3. Total confusion and paranoia: this is understanable in Cleo considering her past. But she sometimes takes it to the point of health problems. She gets SO incredibly paranoid sometimes, especially when an ithcing attach comes on, that she drives herself crazy mentally. Half the itme she seems not to even know where she is. We can try to calm her as much as we like with words, carresses, and calming areas, but to no avail. Sometimes she hides in a corner for DAYS, and loses a lot of weight. Sometimes I take her out and try to break the behavoir, but now I feel best just to let her alone alltogether besides some kind pats and words.
She may rush aronud the apartment for no reason, as if she is being chased, and she may leap without looking first and basically just act crazy.

Now if an itching fit comes on sooner than we expected (we keep her on monthyl flea meds) all of the above behavoirs, and then some, are intensified and rampant. And sometimes for no apparent reason at all the above behavoirs are intensified and rampant. It is pretty random, to our eyes anyway. Our household is always calm, we never fight, and there is no loud traffic or any other intrusive noise.. We as people are very stable and loving. We are clean and there are not fleas everywhere, I suppose a few that we bring in ourselves get to Cleo. (We hike and camp a lot lol)

Right now Cleo is coming out of an itching fit, as the frontline takes around 24 hours to kick in. Just this morning she freaked out and peed on a rug as I explained above. We are hoping that as winter goes on, the fleas will not be a problem again for her until spring. Seasonal changed also affect her negatively. I am also trying to find salmon oil to put into her food to keep her skin from getting so dry.

SHe has been vet checked and is otherwise healthy. I want to find somebody else who has experienced such a cat, because believe me, in all the cats I have had through out my life, never have I experienced such a cat as Cleo. Of course we want to work with her, and I strongly disagree with putting an animal down for behavoiral issues, unless its making them truly suffer.
So sorry this is such a long post, but it all needs to be said to understand Cleo. Thanks for reading!
post #2 of 20
First of all, welcome to TCS! I'm glad you took Cleo in, so hopefully we can help you work through some problems.

IMO, it sounds like the peeing on rugs could be a UTI. I would take her to the vet to get the inappropriate urination chekced out(if a cat isn't using the box, my first reaction is a vet trip to rule out health issues).

You could also try a Feliway diffuser. You can search the forums to find more out about it. It can help with the stress, peeing, etc. I found it at my vet's office, but you can also order it online, or buy it in petsmart.

Have you been to the vet about her odd behavior? Is it possible that she may also have other allergies besides the flea allergies? I know you said she has been vet cheked, but were these issues discussed with the vet? With time & patience, se will hopefully become used to her home & realize how much she is loved & safe there. Good luck!
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yes, the vet has been told about all of her issues. No, she does not have urinary problems this has been ruled out. She loves us very much (she wont let us forget it lol) and when she isn't being nuts, she seems VERY comfurtable and calm here. Honestly, it seems to always be one extreme or the other: Very happy, laying around calm, and rolling on the floor happily, or being totally mentally crazy. So many other obvious explinations are ruled out, that is my problem. I go by her past causing these problems. One reason I think she may go so bonkers mentally once she gets an itch is because not only is it infuriantingly annoying, but it brings back memories to her, however concious or unconsious, of her past when she was abused and neglected because of her itching behavoir. The memories may be too much for her.
post #4 of 20
Lots of kitties that were declawed wind up having peeing issues, from what I understand.

Have you discussed the idea of putting her on kitty prozac with your vet? It might help her with her anxiety.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
yeah I have consider that actually. Though I am kind of against it, as I am sometimes against using psychotropic drugs with humans (unless of course there is an honest-to-god chemcial imbalance, not just behavoiral issue.) It is however sometimes hard to tell the difference between the two isn't it? I grew up in a family with two therapists for parents, lol, so naturally I want to try and ease Cleo of her problems with theraputic training and understanding, but if a drug is honestly what is needed, and my vet thinks so, then I would probably go for it. I'll have to do some research on them.

Oh, and your definately right about declawed cats having other issues. ALmost Every declawed cat I have come across has some kind of behavoir issue, sometimes mild and sometimes intense.
post #6 of 20
What kind of litter are you using? Maybe you could try a different brand? A really soft kind for her feet since she is declawed?

As far as everything else.. I have no idea, you have more patience than most that's for sure!!
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
lol, I think I must! Yeah, we've tried different litters lol. She always poos in the box, and usually pees in it. Its just when she gets these fits lol, that she decideds to defy the rules. It seems like its totally concious and directful too lol.
post #8 of 20
The only thing I can suggest is adding another litter box, sometimes that helps.
post #9 of 20
I definitely wonder about what you're calling 'fleas', because normally, unless an animal is interacting with others that have actual fleas, if the animal is treated (with something recommended by the vet and not just found at a corner store - e.g. dog flea remedies are toxic to cats), the fleas should be gone (unless the problem is that the home is not treated too, and the infestation is 'caught' again as soon as it's cured, or unless the problem is really an allergy, or stress related, for which there are also treatments.
post #10 of 20
When she is having one of those "itchy attacks" I would have her on some mild sedative.

I know with humans, depression, gone too long, can become a real physical problem. No longer emotional/psycological, depression becomes rooted in the brain and the brain starts to actually work differently. And wrongly.

So anti-Ds might not be a bad idea for this cat. It might be worth a try, start with a really low dose and work up slowly for her?
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik61 View Post
When she is having one of those "itchy attacks" I would have her on some mild sedative.

I know with humans, depression, gone too long, can become a real physical problem. No longer emotional/psycological, depression becomes rooted in the brain and the brain starts to actually work differently. And wrongly.

So anti-Ds might not be a bad idea for this cat. It might be worth a try, start with a really low dose and work up slowly for her?

yeah, the way you say it really makes sense to me. We are taking her to the vet soon for a check up, and I will definately talk to him about that.
post #12 of 20
She may not have to be on them forever, just enough to break this cycle and give her a rest.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larke View Post
I definitely wonder about what you're calling 'fleas', because normally, unless an animal is interacting with others that have actual fleas, if the animal is treated (with something recommended by the vet and not just found at a corner store - e.g. dog flea remedies are toxic to cats), the fleas should be gone (unless the problem is that the home is not treated too, and the infestation is 'caught' again as soon as it's cured, or unless the problem is really an allergy, or stress related, for which there are also treatments.

As I said above, we use Frontline on her monthly or as soon as needed. I know the "corner store" meds don't work. And the reason I think she gets more fleas on her is because we are constantly hiking and camping and surely bringing them in. I vacumm and spray regularly in the apartment, and we never get them on us. The other animals (ferrets and a rabbit) are always flea free. (Or if they do get a flea here and there, it doesn't bother them to the degree that it does Cleo.) She is so allergic her former owners told me that it will only take one flea bite to activate her break outs, according to their vet. However now that winter is coming on, we won't be out quite as much, and when we do go out there won't be fleas to pick up, so I am hoping her troubles settle down and frontline won't be necessary again until spring.
post #14 of 20
Just a thought as far as the litterbox issues....a friend of mine puts down doggie piddle pads where her kitty has "out of the box" experiences. She has like a dozen of them all over the house, but then her kitty doesn't get so stressed over having an accident.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
As I said above, we use Frontline on her monthly or as soon as needed. I know the "corner store" meds don't work. And the reason I think she gets more fleas on her is because we are constantly hiking and camping and surely bringing them in. I vacumm and spray regularly in the apartment, and we never get them on us. The other animals (ferrets and a rabbit) are always flea free. (Or if they do get a flea here and there, it doesn't bother them to the degree that it does Cleo.) She is so allergic her former owners told me that it will only take one flea bite to activate her break outs, according to their vet. However now that winter is coming on, we won't be out quite as much, and when we do go out there won't be fleas to pick up, so I am hoping her troubles settle down and frontline won't be necessary again until spring.
I was sitting here thinking about her allergic reactions, and I was wondering if cats can take Benadryl? It's what we give humans for allergic reactions. I honestly don't know, and obviously would have to be discussed with your vet, but I wonder if you can't give her some when an itching cycle starts. It also has the side effect of drowsiness, which in her case may be beneficial to calm her.
post #16 of 20
Benedryl was what my vet gave Ginger when she had a bad reaction to her last rabies vaccine - she had the horrible itchy crawlies, and the benedryl worked GREAT.

I wouldn't give the OTC human dosage, though, I would get it from the vet.
post #17 of 20
Just want to put in a positive word for "Kitty Prozac". My cat has aggression issues, and has been on Prozac about a month and a half, and I've really seen an improvement. Of course I'd rather he didn't have to be medicated, but the way things were before just wasn't acceptable, either for me or for him. It hasn't made him lethargic or anything, hasn't taken away his purrsonality - he's still Wonton - he's just much calmer and more easy going now. So yeah, I'd say give the Prozac a shot

PS - I get it in a cream formula that I rub inside his ear once a day - try to get that, so you wont have to deal with forcing pills down your cat's throat and making it even more neurotic.

good luck
post #18 of 20
I was just going in here to let everyone know that I took my 14yr old cat to the vet because he was having alot of odd behaviors .. lying in the litter box.. hiding under the bed.. lying on his food dish ... not coming to bed withme .. all of these things were worrying me .. I took him to the vet .. and he had fleas..( caught I guess from my dog.. who had been treated with a flea bath at his groomers and actually had a reaction and the vet gave him a shot to kill fleas within 24 hrs and a cortisone shot.) well after finding out my dog.. Pepsi had fleas .. I got the spot flea thing for the cats.. not from vet .. got at pets mart... well the vet says that my cat punkin had a bad reaction probably from the flea stuff I put on him .. I think it was called .. one spot? not sure.. anyway .. the vet did a blood test on my cat and sort of put him under and bathed him ... and gave me a vet recommended flea remedy for him .. he is better today .. but even after two days.. he was still acting weird.. today he at least is lying in the living room near my dog and not in the litter box.. the blood work came back fine... kidneys and liver looked good.. and the thyroid and sugar were raised like a point or two and the vet said probably could have been from the stress.. anyway .. this flea thing is something everyone should watch out for .. only use vet recommended remedy .. not petsmart .. unless the vet okays it .. he said alot of those things are toxic to cats and he believes this is what got to Punkin .. my cat.. because he started throwing up within the first 48 hrs.. and than all the problems started with behavior.. good luck .
post #19 of 20
Just thought I'd add if an animal has had fleas in the house vaccuming alone will not get rid of fleas.
You can treat the cat with frontline once every few months and that should last for 3 months.
But the eggs are laid in the carpets, bedding, furniture,and between the cracks in floor boards and can lie dormant for years.
When the eggs hatch,they are tiny centipede like things and continue to live in your carpet till they develop into fleas...it is then that they jump on the animal.
Your house should be fumigated to kill the eggs.
post #20 of 20
Since some of these issues seem to be in part, at least, due to stress, I would definitely try both a Comfort Zone w/ Feliway plug in AND Rescue Remedy. I have a cat that stresses easily and since we started using RR, she's made HUGE improvements. I get mine from Drs. Foster & Smith http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...1&N=2002&Nty=1 but you might be able to get it at a local health food store.

Although I have never used any HomeoPet products, you might check out their site.

http://www.homeopet.com/index.htm

And then there's Spirit Essence, natural remedies designed especially for pets. I've not used any of their products either, but you may want to check out their site as well.

http://www.spiritessence.com/

You might find a holistic, natural alternative to kitty Prozac that will work for Cleo on one of these sites.

Stephanie
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