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urgent-medicating aggressive cat-need advice

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have a very aggressive cat. She's territorial of me and frequently shows aggressive behaviour towards my husband, occasionally bites me if she doesn't get her way, and becomes a wild stalker (hissing, spitting, growling and a couple of time literally attacking people) whenever we have company. (Yes, we put her in a closed room when people come over.) We've previously tried Prozac, which zoned her out but had no effect on her aggressive behaviour, and now we're consulting with a behaviouralist who's recommending amitryptine(sp?) and therapy. Does anyone have experience working with this particular antidepressant with cats? We really love Tiki and will do anything to try to help her--but if this doesn't work, we'll have to find a no kill farm for her, but I just can't bear the thought of giving her away. This situation is becoming unbearable and my husband has three small scratches on his cheek and about ten scratches on his hands....please, any advice is appreciated.
post #2 of 12

I'm moving this to the forum where it will get the most attention.
post #3 of 12
I do know from reading various threads here that Dr. Bach's Rescue Remedy, which is sold in health food stores, is often recommended by members for calming cats down.

There are others here who are very knowledgeable and who give excellent advice. Hopefully, you will have some other responses soon.

Good luck!!!

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
thanks lorie. I've never heard of Dr. Bach's but I'll check it out. Just a bit more info..... Tiki is 1 1/2 years old, weighs about 8 lbs. (small, but eats a lot!) Her mother was a rescued feral. She was the runt of the litter, the only girl out of four kittens, and we got her at about 6 weeks. Thanks for listening.
post #5 of 12
Has she always been this way? If not, did her behavior occur gradually? Suddenly?
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
she was a sweet, loving kitten until she had her first set of shots at the vets at about 12 weeks. After that she was scared of people and has progressively become more aggressive.

Believe me, we've done everything to help her...from coaxing our friends to come over to "socialize" her, to extensive medical examinations to see if this is physical. To various antidepressants and now the behaviouralist.

We don't leave her alone by herself for extensive periods of time--if we go away for a weekend we have a person feed and water her,(he calls her "Kujo"!!) The vet won't board her, because she bites the staff and has to be quarentined in a separate room, away from other cats....O.K., after reading this, both my cat and I sound crazy.

What does everyone think...about Tiki, not whether or not I'm crazy...

post #7 of 12
With one of my cats that was once feral. She was taken to several vets and diagnosed differently each time. In other words, no one knew really what was wrong with her. She was put on amnitryptilene but had a bad reaction to the pills, and was taken off those. Then she was put on kitty prozac, also with a bad reaction and taken off. Her reaction was rapid respirations up to 118 and climbing, and constant frantic meowing. She was diagnosed with feline hyperesthesia and then put on Megace 20 mg. About a week later she started seizing and I am sorry to say, we decided to put her down and out of her misery. Like your cat, she had begun to attack us, her siblings, the dog and she was angry and unhappy most of the time. The final diagnosis they suspected after she died was that she had a brain lesion which caused her to act out so badly. I am sorry if I am scaring you, but I have to wonder if perhaps the pills and the combination of such led to the seizing? But not being a vet, I will never know. Good luck with your kitty, you have my sympathy, I know exactly what you are going through.
post #8 of 12
Since Tiki's mother was feral, is it possible that she didn't receive enough human contact during her first few weeks? In your post, you said one of the reasons your vet won't board Tiki is because she has to be isolated from other cats. Is it possible that her current aggressive behavior is the result of a lack of opportunity to develop the necessary social skills needed by a cat?

Here is some information from the Cornell Book of Cats on the socialization of young kittens.

The sensitive or critical period for socialization of cats is two to five weeks. This is earlier than most kittens are placed in homes, so it is particularly important that kittens are handled between the time their eyes open and the time they are adopted. A litter of kittens that is born in a cranny inaccessible to human will hiss, when handled by humans, at two or three weeks of age; whereas another litter from the same mother, if handled daily, will not react fearfully. Handling kittens each day for the first month may improve the kittens' learning ability.

A cat that never had the opportunity to play as a kitten will not respond appropriately to play signals as an adult. Kittens have genetic information adequate to form the neurologic connections in the brain necessary for social behavior; however, the complex connections necessary for play form only if a cat has had the proper play experience during its 'sensitive' or 'critical' period as a kitten."

post #9 of 12
Since you said she started acting like this after her shots, I would do a search on the web about vaccinosis, and read more about it. It's a possibility that the vaccines at least in part caused this. Then you could call around to find a holistic vet or a classical homeopath (who can do interviews on the phone) and try the homeopathic remedy the homeopath recommends. A true homeopath asks you all sorts of questions about the cat, to get an overall picture of her, and recommend ONE remedy which should fit all her symptoms/personality etc. After a period of time, if it doesn't seem to be working, it may be necessary to try another remedy. Homeopathy in these kinds of things works very slowly, so don't expect miracles. I know a lot of people don't believe in homeopathy, but I would definitely give it a try before giving the cat away or putting her to sleep. I also know that most people don't believe that vaccines can cause all sorts of trouble, so this is just my opinion. It just seems like a huge coincidence that she started getting this way after her shots.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
This is very helpful, I love this site!...you know, her behaviour is getting so wild that it may be a combination of many factors that everyone mentions. Hissy--so interesting that your cat was the same way. How long were you able to deal with your cat? Another problem is that this is becoming a divisive issue between my husband and I. (She attacks him, he's upset and bleeding, we argue and disagree on what should be done.) Honestly, he's very patient to still have her in the house when she's stalking him most of the time.

We've wondered if this could be neurological.If so, I couldn't imagine the $$ associated with dealing with her. At this point I feel like I'm spending the same amount of that it costs to raise a small child!

And I'm skeptical about actually getting her to takethe amnitryptine w/o a massive struggle because when she was on kitty prozac, it was put in a liquid form and alternatively chicken/tuna flavoured (no, i'm not kidding) and by the end, it was a tremendous chore getting her to take it because she would refuse it in her food. That all being said, we're doing everything possibly to help her--I just don't think she has control over herself.
post #11 of 12
We struggled with getting Bacardi diagnosed for about 6 months ongoing. We did everything that we could, including finally putting her on a "hands off, no touch" policy which made all of us extremely unhappy- prior to this, she was our most loving cat. It was very puzzling and frustrating, and it was clear to me that even petting her was putting her into some sort of pain? We had her x-rayed and probed and poked by the best we could afford and they did nothing but do educated guesses. One of our biggest problems is that in our area the emphasis of vet care is on farm animals, not small animals. It also became a sore spot between my husband and I because of the way she would attack us. I am sorry she is gone and not a day goes by when I don't miss her, but I know we did the right thing to release her from her pain. The only thing that had really ever happened to her before in her life was when she was a kitten, she was sprayed by bee-bee pellets by a neighbor's son who was emotionally disabled. The vets have all assured me that this had nothing to do with her state toward the end. Like I said, although she came here feral, she was the most loving of all cats, even liked to be in the shower with me, and then suddenly to turn into this pain-filled monster, it broke our hearts. I truly hope you find easier answers than we did. We also tried rescue remedy and bach's flower remedy, and I went homeopathic with her, but like we were told in the end, it was a brain lesion probably that caused the problems. Best of luck!

BTW CAC if you go to your profile at the top of the page and edit your options and check to receive PM (private messages) I can send you some links that might be helpful. (I have a lot that I researched when I was trying to find out what might be causing Bacardi's great distress) Right now, your option is closed, so no PM's can be sent to you.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yes...this sounds exactly like Tiki. Although she still has to be around me whenever I'm at home. She also trys to get in the shower w/ me every morning and has separation anxiety if she's not right next to me every minute. But she'll last out towards everyone else and occasionally me. (She walked up and attacked my husband twice this morning.) Now I'm wondering if we should spend another $500 on her treatment. Obviously you realize how upsetting this is for me and I really appreciate your support. I would love to see those links, so I'll change my profile. Thank you!
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