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Sylvester Hair Pulling since being sick

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello cat lovers--My kitten-cat is 8 months old and just had a severe reaction to front line about 3 weeks ago---nearly lost the poor kitty....he had a high temp, lathargic, and unable to eat on his own....but with determination we made it thru together---since being ill and now has recovered he has started pulling on his chest hairs---he has them all pulled out--and has now started on his leg a little bit. My vet prescribed amitriptyline 25 mg. and feels he has "separation anxiety" as I work fulltime. I do have another cat who is 17 years old and they aren't very close friends. He is too playful for her. We have had Sylvester since he was 4 weeks old and I'm afraid I am the only mom he knows. He does not have a skin disorder. The meds they prescribed seem to make him really whiny now--which he wasn't. Does anyone have any ideas on what else to do? I should note since we have put him on the meds --he does not want to be petted or played with just wants to be left alone. I'm at a loss on what to do next....the cat toys are scattered all over---but no interest in them either.

Thanks for any suggestions!!
post #2 of 7
Perhaps you should try stopping his meds for a day or so and observe him or better still talk to your vet about changing his prescription. IMO, the behavior changes you described are worse than hair pulling.
Sometimes, my QT pulls the hair of her back leg which broke and surgically mended years ago. I've seen her with a bald leg off and on. I'm still trying to figure out what makes her ignore it weeks at a time and then suddenly see her licking and biting away. It could be an insect bite or plain boredom. But for sure, she remains the silly, fun loving and tender cat I adore.
post #3 of 7
I would get him to a feline specialist, hair pulling is often a response to pain-
post #4 of 7
amitriptyline 25 mg. ! ! ! ???

Is that a normal dose for a cat, much less a young one ?

I have attempted many times to adjust to amitriptyline , as it is used for chronic pain, though it is an antidepressant. Seems there is some additional affect in the pain pathways in the brain that this meds seems to block for may people. They don't know why .

I can adjust to 5 mg. but can't get up to 10 mg. Most patients end up at 100 mg. , but then so many of them are over weight due to lack of movement ability... the averages seem skewed to me. And even 5mg. just drags me down.

Normal procedure in people...adults...is to start at 10mg. , take that for the three weeks it takes to have full affect, and then move slowly up in dose. The first three days the patient is VERY sleepy and that's normal.
For me, it does ease pain a bit, once I get up to 10mg. ...but by then I'm stupid and fat. Zombie almost.
It causes me normal side effects dry mouth, lack of uninating often enough and difficulty starting. Constipation, weight gain, feeling a bit puffy, and it is extremely difficult to keep things straight...things like following a conversation. The first three weeks on each dose I am also very nauseous.
So....Yeah, if I was a cat I would whine a lot and not want to be touched. And I sure wouldn't want to bother with toys. One needs more complex thinking abilities to play with a toy.

Anyway... two years off and on of these failed attempts and my doctor has finally agreed with me, sometimes it's just not worth it. Though to avoid more serious drugs, I really wanted it to work. It does work for lots of folks. But we are each different.

Not knowing how long your cat has been on this med, you might want to play it safe and wean him slowly off of the med, ... maybe a much smaller dose would work ? You would see as you are weaning down too. ???? When I wean off mine, I have reduced 5mg. at a time and for three days holding before I drop down further. The highest I ever got... and that was a horrible month... was 30 mg. I had time off and made one big try. Bad idea.
My pills are probably the same as yours ? Sort of a tannish color with a white interior. I can cut mine in pieces, confirmed by the pharmacy. You would need to check if yours can be cut... the human pharmacy would be the best bet on that.

I agree with Hissy... something else may well be the problem, and I would be very concerned it's being over looked.

Type Amitriptyline in Google and look at a couple of the better medical sites...you will find lists of possible side effects that may be much more specific to your poor kitty. If you choose to use the med, remember it takes three weeks to work...and with a cat, I would think regular blood work for basic functions would be a major requirement, due to the lack of uninating problem most of we human beans get with this med. Not as bad as being a fat zombie, but it's part of the drill. Acceptable if it got rid of more pain than it did too. There's always trade offs.

Gosh... I really hope someone tells us what a normal dose is for a kitty. That amount freaks me out... and you did not mention the normal working up to the higher mg.
Again... that info you will find on all the medical sites.

Let us know how this works out...PLEASE.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice---I had him on the meds for 2 days and I stopped giving him it yesterday and today his mood is closer to normal. He does want to play tonight. I live in South Dakota and don't know of a close feline specialist---does anyone have any in mind I could contact via telephone or e-mail? It doesn't look like he pulled any more hair out--but it is hard to gauge at this point.

I am thankful for the advice on the meds..we really appreciate it.
post #6 of 7
Thank you SO much for getting back to me. I keep thinking about your poor kitty. What great news !

While I know nothing about kitties and antidepressants, I do know what this particular med does to me, and many others, having spent way too much time researching it. Not wanting to become addicted to opiates can be quite the motivator. Not a topic I ever wanted to become a semi expert on, but we never know what life brings us next. Builds character.

I'll tell all of you one thing... My kitties are the best medicine ever invented.

The first three days of the Amitriptyline are the worst of all, and no need to wean off after the second day only as the brain chemistry has not been changed significantly, so don't worry about that at all.

The main deciding point on meds like this is weighing benefit vs. risk... or as we say in the real world : " Which sucks less ? "
That may sound crude, but for those unfortunate enough to be forced to make such choices...it pretty much says it all.
I know if it were me, I would rather have a few bald patches.

Hope you find a better vet, and make sure kitty is OK physically.
And I still hope some one with experience with this med and cats happens onto this thread some day, so we will have better information on the correct doses and protocol for cats... not humans.

Though ya know ... it could have been some temporary fluke... and after this shock therapy maybe on waking up now, he will just think it was all a bad dream and soon forget to pull any hair a all. Poor baby.

Very nice to meet you !
Hope to hear more good news about kitty later.
Your a good kitty Mom. It's so hard when they can't tell us exactly what the problem is.

Came back in edit mode as I forgot to tell you it will still take a couple days for him to come out of the effects of the med, so there will be gradual improvement after this initial waking.
These types of meds are NOT a tranquilizer... much different. They work by changing receptors in the brain and it takes a while to work and a while to return to normal. Some long term users do not return to what they were years ago.

You know ? It would really make more sense to give kitties teeny tiny doses of Valium for things like this. That IS temporary. Like patients with extreme dental fear... they take one the night before and one in the morning, get their teeth worked on, and that's the end of it. No long term effects. Seems like a vet would know some sort of med like that that's safe for cats. ???
Just a though for future reference.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Sylvester update---my kitten-cat is back!! He is off the meds--and like you said only 2 days probably didn't change anything---he is cuddly, happy, wants to play and follow me all over....and play, and play and play.....such a difference.

In South Dakota --the good small animal vets are few and far between...the next recommended one is over 100 miles from us and doesn't see patients on Saturdays--but we will be making a trip if the hair pulling doesn't stop--just for a second opinion. I am thinking with his high temps when he was sick--he may have had a possible stroke--but no lingering side effects...

Any way thanks for all the wonderful advice and moral & "kitten" support...we so appreciated it...

SD Blondie, & Sylvester, Suki, Puddy Kat & Patches.
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