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What the "alternative vet" said about Sassy's anxiety-related piddling...

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
So we took Sassy in this morning to a vet who uses a wide variety of therapies, including both traditional and alternative. We explained that Sassy is so terrified of one of our other cats that she won't leave the kitchen even to go to the litterbox -- and in the past week, has actually piddled twice on the counter rather than get down on the floor where she feels less safe!

So the prescription from this vet was: 1/2 tablet of Prozac (Fluoxetine), plus 1cc of "Composure" liquid, 5 drops of "Safe Space" herbal oil, and an "Anxiety & Stress" tablet, first thing every morning. "And," she said, "you need to apologize to her. She didn't choose this situation -- you put her in it. So talk to her and tell her you're sorry she feels this way, and you're trying to help her cope with it."

And oddly enough, I'd already done exactly that! It's a little embarrassing, but... having seen just how clearly some cats understand what you're saying to them (not the words, of course, but perhaps the pictures in our minds), I absolutely believe that it really can help to speak to them very directly. It was good to hear that idea validated!

The vet also gave us an herbal oil called "Feral Cat Rehab" for Abby, our rescued feral who lives in a room by herself because she's still so afraid of other cats. And when we asked about nutrition, since some of our cats are overweight, she recommended not weight management food, but high-protein, high-calorie, low-carb dry food in tiny amounts, plus the same quality wet food in larger amounts... and no free-feeding. Which will be difficult. But we're determined.

So tomorrow morning begins the new regime in our household. We have high hopes that Sassy will soon be a happier kitty, and maybe Abby as well... and in time, maybe our plump ones will regain their former svelteness.

If this works, I hope it will be useful information for the many others here dealing with frightened kitties. I'll keep you posted...
post #2 of 24
Good luck - it really sounds like you've got a good plan going. I will be interested to see how it progresses for you.
post #3 of 24
That sounds like a very comprehensive plan. I am very interested to hear how it works out. Can you keep us updated on your progress?
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your good wishes! The administration of the first dosages this morning was madness, I'm afraid. Per instructions, I mixed the liquids and a ground-up Anxiety & Stress pill together into a paste to deliver via syringe, and had that ready to go, along with the piller loaded with the tiny Prozac tablet, plus a saucer of food to chase it with.

My mom tried to help me hold Sassy while I did the honors, but Sassy is a very, very strong kitty -- she pulled off two escapes, drawing blood both times. Finally, we put the bottom half of the carrier on the table and placed Sassy in that, so her Reverse gear wouldn't work quite so well! I managed to get all the medicine into her, but it was traumatic for everyone, and that's counterproductive, of course. We've got to get good at this, so we won't terrorize the poor kitty every time!

Sassy doesn't eat wet food (by her own choice), so I can't hide the medicine that way. But it does occur to me... maybe I should get some baby food chicken for her! I've never known a cat who didn't love that... and it would be so great if I could just grind up her tablets and mix them, along with the liquids, right into her breakfast. Does anyone know if it's all right to do that with Prozac (Fluoxetine)?

The good news is that I know of only one Sassy vs. Pearl confrontation incident today, as opposed to the usual ten or more. I'm sure that was the result of the herbals, since Prozac takes longer to become effective.

Thanks for listening...
post #5 of 24
Can't the meds be buried in catfood, or butter, or something, even if ir makes a mess? The stress involved in treating her is way worse than what she possibly could be having normally. I wonder if she just doesn't have some form of girl trouble, bladder type, etc. Or to put it another way, would you treat a child with 'alternative' meds if they had 'issues' like this?
post #6 of 24
Does Sassy like cheese? Just put the pill in cheese and try feed her that way.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Ah! Actually, she does like cheese -- including cream cheese, which would be easy to mix up with the meds! Maybe that would work. Good thinking, Abymummy!

Larke -- Sassy's been examined and blood-tested by two different vets in the past couple of months, and she turns up in perfect health except for a little excess weight. And as the alternative vet said, even if she did have a physical urinary problem, it wouldn't explain the progression she's gone through in becoming so obsessed with avoiding Pearl. It's very clear that this is a mental/emotional issue.

In answer to your question... of course if these were children rather than cats, I'd be able to talk things over with them, establish boundaries, and seek agreement in ways that just aren't possible with kitties. How I wish those things did work with cats!

But even if Sassy and Pearl were children, talking things over wouldn't be enough if one of them were suffering from clinical depression and anxiety -- as I (and the vet) believe Sassy is. These are caused by chemical imbalances that have to be corrected before normal mental and emotional processes can be restored. That's why I believe medication is necessary and appropriate in this case.

That said... I agree (and in fact had already acknowledged) that the trauma of medicating Sassy is counterproductive, and I do have to find a better way of doing it. Tomorrow, we'll try Abymummy's suggestion and just hope and pray it works!
post #8 of 24
Here's another way to administer meds:

Kneel on the floor with your ankles crossed under your butt. Put Sassy between your thighs with her head pointing towards your knees. She can't wiggle back because she'll hit your ankles and can't escape to the sides because of your thighs. Have the medicine loaded at your side.

Assuming you are right handed (reverse if not): place your left hand over the top of her head with your index finger on one side of her mouth and thumb over the other. Pull her mouth open. With your right hand, put the medicine in her mouth (works for either liquid or pills), drop the syringe and raise up her head by placing your right hand on her neck/throat and gently rub up and down. That usually causes them to swallow.

Hang in there - she'll get used to it!
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Momofmany -- I've heard about that method, but I have so many old back and knee injuries, I'm not sure I can get into that position! I'll give it a try... but if I end up in the emergency room, I'm blaming YOU!
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Okay, I have now seen a cat who could resist babyfood chicken. And creamcheese. I guess Sassy is just too smart to accept the medicine in any disguise.

I haven't tried the kneeling position yet, though. Instead, I've been counting on my mom to help me hold Sassy... and that just doesn't work. Mom is too easily flustered, I guess -- she talks nonstop in her nervousness, and as soon as Sassy resists, Mom just panics and lets go. And I think Mom's panic may be contributing to Sassy's reaction, too. So from now on, I'm going to try to do it by myself.

The good news is: even though we've only gotten three days of meds into her, Sassy is noticeably calmer! She's been walking around more, even left the kitchen a few times -- and there's been very little hissing between her and Pearl. So it's working! I just have to make the dosing easier for her.

So tomorrow morning, I'll "assume the position."
post #11 of 24
I found a How-To Give a Cat a Pill website. Maybe you will find some suggestions on there?

I also read that if you mix the crushed pill with the creamcheese and then rub it on their paw, they will instantly lick it off and digest the pill.

Hopefully you find some ideas!

Great work with Sassy and getting her calmed down. I hope you will have a more peaceful household soon. It's great to see how determined you are!
post #12 of 24
I also read that if you mix the crushed pill with the creamcheese and then rub it on their paw, they will instantly lick it off and digest the pill.
That's worked well in my experience. Or smear it on their muzzle. I once administered anti-biotics to a cat for a week by dropping it onto his muzzle a few drops at a time. It was easier than forcing his mouth open.
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
Malakaii & Bab-ush-nik -- Thank you both so much! Those ideas and the website really may help. I'll let you know tomorrow...
post #14 of 24
Just wanted to wish you luck
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
I tell ya, Sassy is one smart cat. Last night, she was curled up on a kitchen chair while I nonchalantly mixed up the medicine for her, and I thought I was doing a pretty good imitation of a person making herself a sandwich... but as soon as I turned away from the counter, she slipped under the table and sat there just out of reach, gazing up at me as if to say, "I know exactly what you're trying to do, you devious human!"

So I let it go for awhile. Finally, Sassy fell asleep on the chair, and I got the mixture on my fingers, ready to go... crept over and spoke to Sassy, scritched her cheek as always... and then ever so gently painted the medicine on her right foreleg. She didn't get upset! I continued to pet her and tell her what a good girl she is... and she took a little lick of the medicine...

...and then she went ptui and took no more. She just let it stay there and dry right onto her fur. AUGH!

However, I do see potential here. I had mixed a little bit of cream into the medicine this time, trying to make it less distasteful for her... but that also increased the total volume of stuff she would need to ingest to get all the medicine. Maybe if I just use the medicine alone, straight, she'll go ahead and lick it off, since it would be so relatively small an amount.

That's my next plan, anyway. And at least this wasn't traumatic! It's awful to have to frighten your cat so terribly in the course of medicating her... so I'll be happy if I can even get her to take a partial dose this way.

It's so good to see Sassy walking around the house a little more, not so completely intimidated as she was! Thank you so much for your help and good wishes...
post #16 of 24
I tried to put Laxatone on the top of Diesel's paw once thinking that he would lick it off. Instead, sniffed it and started dragging the top of his paw all over the carpet attempting to get it off! What a mess!
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Shhhhh! Don't give Sassy any ideas!
post #18 of 24
I think it is tremendous that you have taken that step of communication with her, so many people dismiss the ability of vocal communication with their pets. Often it is us who doesn't listen, not them. My only concern would be Prozac for anxiety, it is primarily an anti depressant and has addictive effects. But if it is working, then all I can say is it should be prescribed as a temporary ameliorate for symptoms and slowly taken off of after time.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yes, Cheylink, this will be temporary -- once I move to my own place this summer, Sassy won't have my Pearl to deal with anymore. But gosh, I'll miss Sassy! And all my mom's cats...
post #20 of 24
Your a great "kitty mom"! It sucks when you have to part, she will miss you to!
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Aw, thanks, Cheylink, what a nice thing to say.

Things are going really well here -- Sassy isn't getting her full dose, because she leaves most of it on her fur, but apparently she's getting enough to help a lot. She's much more relaxed, and instead of despising me for smearing this medicine on her paws, she seems to love me more!

Lately, she's been giving me the full Sassy spa treatment, which used to be reserved for my mom: she sprawls on the table, wraps her forepaws around my arm, and gives my arm a couple of licks... then rubs her cheek across it to dry it off, and moves on to lick a new spot! It's a right proper bath, by golly, and she does it with such loving attention... she's just a wonderful girl.

This is an old picture, but I thought you might like to see our glamourkitty...
post #22 of 24
Sassy's a beautiful girl! Glad to hear she's calming down a bit. Reading through this thread is quite amusing (sorry) - all the ways a cat will outsmart you when it comes to medication!
post #23 of 24
I've been following this thread with interest because my Eponine is similar to your Sassy- she's had anxiety-related urination problems for over two years now. We tried amitriptylene (I didn't like how lethargic it made Eppie), Feliway (both the diffuser and the spray), and have since just resorted to covering the bed and couches with tin foil when we're not home so she cannot pee on them (it's annoying but it is the ONLY thing that has worked). I sincerely hope the things your alternative vet recommended work and that she can become happier and anxiety-free!
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
PushyLady -- Sure, go ahead, laugh at our misfortune! I understand completely...I've never felt quite so thwarted as when I've been thwarted by a cat.

ugaimes -- Thank you for your good wishes! And Eponine and Cosette are lovely ladies. Have you ever tried these particular herbals on Eppie? I'm beginning to believe that the herbals alone are enough, and the Fluoxetine (Prozac) may not be necessary at all... though I'll stick with it for now, to be safe.

Sassy has not been any more lethargic on these meds than usual, but then, she was always a lazy little girl... except when you give her a dangle toy to leap for! Then she turns into a spectacular athlete, despite her extra avoirdupois.

The true test of these meds will be when we have the courage to remove the extra litterbox we put in the kitchen for her... which we ought to do any day now, since she's been venturing into the rest of the house regularly for the past several days.

I'll let you know how it goes!
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