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Amitriptyline for aggression - have you tried it?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Has any one had any experience with using amitriptyline as part of a behaviour modificaiton plan to counteract aggression?

I took Tristan to the vets today just to rule out any possible health problems because there are still incidents of aggression directed at him by both Bear and Lion, although Lion is usually the secondary aggressor. After examining Tristan and taking a thorough behaviour history, the vet agrees that it is not health intiated but strictly a behaviour issue. Interestingly, he has just gone through this himself with his four cats when a roaming tomcat sprayed the window where they were and three of them broke out fighting with each other. His problem is actually worse - the cats also sprayed back! At least mine haven't sprayed!

He is still working on the spraying but found that separation and behaviour modification supported with amitripyline has suceeded in stopping the between housemates aggression. He has given me a prescription for both Lion and Bear as they are the aggressors. The dosage is the maximum which does concern me as I don't know how well cats tolerate it. He says that sedation is the most likely sign of an overdose and we would cut back then. It will take about a week before there are any noticeable results, apparently.

So, I am wondering if anyone here has used this and what their experiences have been.

Kathryn
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hehehehehe no one, eh?

Well, I talked to the vet about the dosage and there are two dosages recommended - 5 mg and 10 mg - with the dividing line being 10/11 lbs. Lion and Bear are 11 and 12 lbs so they are right at the bottom of the higher dose and top of the lower dose. The vet agreed we could half the dosage and then increase it if required, rather than starting too high and cutting back. So, I went out to get a pill cutter and see if the pharmacy would sell me any empty gel caps because amitriptyline tastes god-awful from what I understand. The local privately owned pharmacy - where they make up their own compounds - actually proposed that I put the medication into a gel that is then smoothed on the inside of their ears. They do this with medication for babies and anyone with nausea. So, they are making up the gel compound for me right now and I will pick it up later. This way I am actually able to control the dose as well since I can just use a half or full dosage. I will be starting it tomorrow evening since I will be out of the house this evening and then again for most of tomorrow and I want to be on hand in case there are any untoward side-effects.

It is now a habit that Bear will take after Tristan because Tristan will run, but then the aggression starts between Lion and Bear. It isn't fear based any more nor re-directed, so the amitriptyline stands a good chance of breaking the pattern. We just had 2 hours of good play until Tristan jumped down and Bear took after them. They are in a time out right now. Hehehe, I have dark throws and blankets scattered all through the house now just so I can throw it on Bear and interrupt things. Lion backed off this time once Bear 'disappeared'.

Kathryn
post #3 of 17
I used it and all it did was make my cat sleep and drool. Even when I decreased the dosage. I finally just stopped giving it to her, and went the Bach Flower way which has helped.
post #4 of 17
I used for for feline hyperesthesia and cat very aggression, didnt work had to take her them , bad side effects, zombie
post #5 of 17
I just wanted to say that I was prescribed this for insomnia (though I was told it was also used a an anti-depressant). Maybe cats react to the drug differently, but at 25mg it knocks me out cold. I'm a 160 pounds. I have to wonder what the effects of 10 mg on a 12 pound cat would be.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your responses Hissy, vi04 and wodesorel. I am concerned about the dosage level as well which is why I am cutting it in half. I appreciate hearing your experiences. It is exactly what I don't want to have happen, the cats so wonked out that they have no lives. I understand that the actual chemical uptake of seritonin to the brain takes a week to 10 days to take affect - sometimes longer - but the sedation and side effects start right away. We are on a two week trial, but if it appears to be too extreme a reaction, then I will certainly discontinue it use. I am continuing the flower remedies at any rate and will be modifying Bear's mixture for this next round, as well as doing a mixture for Tristan and Lion.

This morning, Bear and Tristan were fine but Tristan hissed at Lion first and so of course, Lion hissed back. I stopped it there until I could get the two of them together without the other cats around so that I could have more control of the situation, then introduced them again while holding Lion and praising and petting each one, not allowing them to get to a hissing stage. It went well, so I left it at that for the time being.

Kathryn
post #7 of 17
Is this drug the same as prozac? The shelter has a cat on prozac because her original owners had her declwed & while on the operating tanble her heart stopped & the vet was able to bring her back, but her personality totaly changed after that. She would attack at random & totally unprovoked. The vet seems to think there was some brain damage done from lack of oxigen to the brain, at any rate she's been on it for a while (perscribed by the vet of coarse) & she's doing very well. She's not a big fan of the other cats, but she's getting better. so this has worked for her.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you Rang_27,

From my understanding, Prozac creates the same effect but through a different process. There appear to be at least three separate classes of sedative/anti-depressive drugs that are used with Amitriptyline affecting two different neurotransmitters in the brain, and Prozac affecting one. I am glad to hear that the treatment is working for the shelter cat. Poor kitty.

Kathryn
post #9 of 17
Kathryn, can I suggest a book? I know this book has helped me immensely in dealing with Wink and Prowler- they both have issues with each other that gets a bit daunting at times.Since reading this book and understanding more of how multiple cats interact, I have been able to make some physical changes in our home, to allow wink to feel safer now that I have such an alpha kitty (prowler) in my midst.

How bad did it get? We have a huge picture window in our dining room, the curtain rod is about 7 feet from the floor. Prowler would get up on the top of the rod and wait for Wink to come into the room and get right below her, then she would spring down right on top of her! Wouldn't do it to any other cat, just Wink. Not even Noddy and they are look-alikes. A friend of mine recommended this book, and I gotta tell ya, it helped immensely.

cat vs cat
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Absolutely you can, and thank you Hissy.

I will check this out.

Your story sounds a bit similar to what is going on now. Tristan is happy if he can find some higher perch upon which to sit and has no problem if the other cat is also at the similar perch, but not if they are higher than he is. He is watchful when they are lower, and when he is lower or showing some sort of defensive behaviour, that is the point of high risk.

Bear has reached the point where it is a game to try and set Tristan off. If it were just Tristan and Bear then I think we would have this quickly resolved. The problem is the third cat - Lion. When Bear sets off Tristan, then Lion enters the fray and Lion takes on Bear. When I remove Bear, then Lion goes on to Tristan and if Tristan reacts to him, then Lion gets aggressive to Tristan and those two have a stand off. If Bear wasn't in the picture to keep the pot stirred, Tristan and Lion would also be fine with each other. I can use Abbie and Freija to determine the 'angst' level in the house. Lion and Bear are generally fine with each other until Tristan is involved. When Freija gets active, Bear will sometimes try the same thing with her as he does with Tristan. She will hiss and fend him off, and the others will get all nervous with Lion on the prowl. Freija then just sits down and acts like nothing happened and the situation resolves. Abbie who is normally laid back gets all jumpy - especially at night - and has by choice been asking to spend the night in with Tristan.

So, any assistance that can help with the multiple cat inter-dynamics - plus a husband who doesn't understand cats! - is more than welcome. Joe has agreed to become more involved with the cats and is interacting with them more and that is having a positive effect- they want him to be involved and didn't understand when he was more or less 'ignoring' them.

So, now on to read your link:-).

Kathryn
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathryn41
Has any one had any experience with using amitriptyline as part of a behaviour modificaiton plan to counteract aggression?

I took Tristan to the vets today just to rule out any possible health problems because there are still incidents of aggression directed at him by both Bear and Lion, although Lion is usually the secondary aggressor. After examining Tristan and taking a thorough behaviour history, the vet agrees that it is not health intiated but strictly a behaviour issue. Interestingly, he has just gone through this himself with his four cats when a roaming tomcat sprayed the window where they were and three of them broke out fighting with each other. His problem is actually worse - the cats also sprayed back! At least mine haven't sprayed!

He is still working on the spraying but found that separation and behaviour modification supported with amitripyline has suceeded in stopping the between housemates aggression. He has given me a prescription for both Lion and Bear as they are the aggressors. The dosage is the maximum which does concern me as I don't know how well cats tolerate it. He says that sedation is the most likely sign of an overdose and we would cut back then. It will take about a week before there are any noticeable results, apparently.

So, I am wondering if anyone here has used this and what their experiences have been.

Kathryn

One of my cats is on Clomicalm for aggressive behavior. It is working rather well. In the US it is off label use for cats, but in Australia and I think Europe it is labeled for cats as well as dogs.

The first week, my cat was like a zombie, so we cut the dose in half, and that was a good amount. On the smaller dose, he acted normal, but really seemed "sweeter" and was not quick to take offense at the other cats like he used to.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by galensgranny
One of my cats is on Clomicalm for aggressive behavior. It is working rather well. In the US it is off label use for cats, but in Australia and I think Europe it is labeled for cats as well as dogs.

The first week, my cat was like a zombie, so we cut the dose in half, and that was a good amount. On the smaller dose, he acted normal, but really seemed "sweeter" and was not quick to take offense at the other cats like he used to.
Thanks!

Clomicalm is in the same class of sedatives as Amitriptylene and acts in exactly the same way. I am glad to know how it is acting and about the dosage change.

We were not in until very late last night so I haven't started the medication yet. I will start this evening and see what happens. Bear and Tristan are fine today - each washed each other - but they are always fine until Bear starts playing and then he jumps on Tristan who gets nervous and runs and . . . ah well. Lion and Tristan are still very wary of each other, but at least no hissing and when they are in the same room together I am interrupting the 'stares' by petting each of their heads and 'winking' their eyes for them. That is working too and while both are wary, neither has become aggressive or defensive. Tristan has decided he has had enough 'closeness' for now - about 40 minutes - and sought refuge back in his room.

I have ordered that book plus 2 others by the same author, Hissy, and they will be in this week. I really appreciate the recommendation and am looking forward to their arrival. I do know that the cats would appreciate more 'perchy' places here, but it is kind of hard with the way the house is laid out. Joe and I have decided to build an extra cat shelf above the fridge and I am tryring to find a way to get them ready access to the top of the kitchen cabinets - the layout of the house doesn't make it easy:-).

Kathryn
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Okay, I finally figured out how to post images, so here is a photograph of the three combatants about a week before their initial disagreement. The cause of their initial aggression was an attack directed to them by an outside cat and they couldn't get her, so turned on each other at the time.

In order of left to right, Lion, Bear and Tristan:



Kathryn
post #14 of 17
What a wonderful picture! Hopefully they will all be back to being happy so close together soon. Redirected aggression due to an outside cat sure can make a lot of problems.

My cat, Simon, who is now on the Clomicalm, would redirect aggression to his house mate cats and we people due to other cats. My husband got bit pretty badly once when he put his hand near Simon when Simon was trying to go at another cat. It is pretty significant evidence that the Clomicalm is working as about two weeks ago, we heard yowling in our outdoor enclosure, which was Simon yowling a combat yell to a HUGE stray cat that was sitting staring a challenge at Simon right up at the enclosure. Simon is a short haired cat, but his tail was so puffed up it almost looked like a racoon tail! Simon lunged at the netting, trying to fight the stray.

My not too smart cat Sumner decided to stroll over and see what was going on, and went right up towards Simon while Simon was trying to attack the other cat through the netting. In the past, Sumner probably would have had his head snatched off by Simon for coming up behind him when Simon was all upset and feeling threatened. But this time, Simon just turned and ran into the house, not paying attention to Sumner at all when my husband yelled at the other cat to go away. That really and truly was amazing compared to how Simon was before the Clomicalm. Simon ran to the dry food bowl and just started eating, a much more peaceful way for him to try to relieve his stress.

It seems the Clomicalm lets Simon stop a few seconds and process what is going on around him to realize which cat is the "enemy" and which is just his housemate instead of just being in a "blind panic" striking out at any living being near him. If he was not on the Clomicalm, for sure Sumner would have been attacked and probably pretty furiously.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you for that great testimonial!

Yes, redirected aggression is extremely difficult- especially when it is an outside cat that roams onto your property, reeks havoc and then trots off on its merry way. This outside cat who caused our problem is actually a nice and friendly cat who is probably lonely. Her family is away all day and left the garage open for her to come and go as she wished in the garage. If she didn't show up at night then they didn't worry about where she was. When I spoke to them they said they had received calls from people on the other side of the Interstate - about 1 mile from here - that she was at their house! (Her phone number is on her collar), and the little boy confessed that other neighbours had complained about her 'jumping' at their windows and surprising them. She probably thinks it is great fun, but unfortunately, my guys don't. I have chased her away from the bird feeder several times but in the middle of the night, when it is dark and unexpected, it can be a real problem. So, I am hoping that the amitriptyline will allow my guys to remember that they are friends as well when they get a little bit over-excited when playing all together.

Thanks again.

Kathryn
post #16 of 17
Please let know how u get on with the Clomicalm , my cat going on them this week too , i let u how things go too
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well, another update:-).

I sometimes wonder if Tristan has any common sense at all:-).

First, I still haven't started the amitriptyline - I have it in reserve as a 'last-measure' resort. Second, I ordered in the book Hissy suggested along with "Twisted Whiskers" by the same author and am finding them both useful. Third - a status update:

Things are improving. We have had a few 'hissing' incidents but no fights and there have been a few instances where a fight could have happened but diversion worked. The trigger in each and every case is Tristan doing something stupid. Like today . . I have been keeping Tristan separated during play times with the others since this is when things tend to get out of hand. Today, since they have been getting along fairly well under supervision and with judicious redirection if I noticed body language getting 'watchful', I let Tristan stay with the other four during play time. We are alternating sleeping with Tristan and one or two of the females in with us, or Tristan and Abbie in the spare room so Lion and Bear can come in with us. (They always get kicked out around 4am when they decide it is time to play:-) ).

All were playing well with Lion chasing the cat dancer, Bear doing incredible leaps for thrown foam balls, and Abbie and Freija and Tristan going after the laserlight doing 'mouse imitations'. We had been at it about 25 minutes when Tristan who was chasing a ball down the hall, suddenly turned back and ran full speed back up the hall, running right into Lion and Bear who were sitting focused on the laser light and bowling both of them over! I couldn't believe it! Tristan didn't stop but ran around the corner into his 'bedroom' with Lion and Bear in full pursuit - once they realized what had happened. Tristan raced under the bed and the other two stopped at the doorway all upset. Lion and Bear started to hiss at each other but I re-directed them and basically cuddled and petted and play-teased them into a relaxed state again. I then let them have a few minutes to calm down while I got Tristan. He was fine - still all wired and wanting to play! I let Bear back in with him and Tristan basically ignored him while he got all huffy about what was 'under the bed' until I showed him it was empty. He then calmed down and started to eat from Tristan's bowl. After that I got Lion who did virtually the same thing. Then later this evening, Tristan jumped down from the cat tree and raced full out into our bedroom and startled Lion sleeping in there. Lion looked up, then went back to sleep. I swear, this cat must have used up his nine lives! Early this week when he got rambunctious and then realized that it might not have been a good idea, I ended up throwing my housecoat overtop of him!. The others settled immediately and I removed him for a time out. I am beginning to think it might be Tristan who needs to get the amitriptyline!

Lion has definitely taken over, though, as the alpha cat. Bear isn't challenging it anymore and I wish there was some way I could get Tristan to realize 'before' he does something that it might not be the best action to do!

I will be glad if we can get back to the stage of leaving them all on their own again.

Kathryn
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