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PROZAC for Cats with Spraying Problems?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Has anyone used PROZAC successfully to eliminate or reduce indoor spraying problems?

We have tried BUSPAR without success and the vet has now prescribed amitriptyline, which is contraindicted for cats with heart problems. Although not confirmed, we do suspect our kitty to have a minor heart problem because of his heavy panting at times (as per our vet).

We have done a significant amount of research online and have learned that Prozac is being used quite successfully, and is much safer than amitriptyline.

I have asked my vet several times if we should try Prozac, but she continues to say that Prozac has not been shown to be effective.

I don't want to contradict our vet - we have trusted her for 15 yrs, but I am afraid of the potential cardiac problems with the amitriptyline.

Maybe the vet is correct and the articles/studies I am reading are not valid.

I am wondering if anyone out there has first-hand knowledge of the effectiveness of Prozac on spraying behavior.

By the way, this is a 3 yr old male, neutered cat, with a second male cat in the household.

Thanks!

Dawn
post #2 of 19
I have not heard of using Prozac to stop spraying. Have you looked at the Cornell University vet school web site? They always have cutting edge research summarized there.

Have you tried behavior modification with the cat? If not, here is an (almost always) effective way to stop spraying:


If the cat is spraying...he is marking his territory. Basically, he's saying this is my place, not yours! This can be a difficult habit to break but it is absolutely possible to do so.

Try the following ideas. Hopefully they will help!

1. Use Feliway to help him not want to spray. Feliway mimics the friendly marking that cats do when they rub their faces on things. When a cat smells a friendly scent, they are unlikely to mark with urine. The Feliway box will give detailed instructions on how to use it....follow the instructions carefully.

2. Hang aluminum foil on the places the cat likes to spray. Cats usually will not spray on foil because it makes an unpleasant sound when hit with the urine and it makes the urine splash back on the cat. Each day that the cat does not spray, tear about an inch off the bottom of the foil until the foil is completely gone. Don't remove the whole strip all at once because the cat may interpret this as you saying it is okay to spray here again. (No one ever wants to do this because is looks so bad to have aluminum hanging all over their houses – but, once they give in and try the aluminum, they find it works wonders. Try it, you’ll like it!)

3. If you see the cat getting into the spray position, say "No!" firmly and then (gently) grab him and put him in time-out (in the bathroom for example) for only 2-3 minutes. Do the same if you caught him in the act.

4. Check to see if there are stray cats hanging out outside your house. A cat will often spray in response to strange cats around the house. Make sure you don't walk through outside cat spray and track that smell into the house.

5. Be patient and persistent. Breaking the spraying habit can take a while, but it should work.


Good luck!
post #3 of 19
I just read your post in another thread:
Quote:
I'm sure my experience is not typical, but we had a 2 yr old male cat...very people friendly We had always heard people say that it was good to give kitties companions, so we adopted another little boy.

My older boy may be of a different temperament than most, but now, a year later, he is having behavioral problems (spraying, hissy, generally grumpy).

In my case, I feel it was definately a mistake to bring a new kitty in. Now I am faced with the possibility of putting down my big boy because we cannot solve this problem. I feel terrible because I feel this is all my fault, even though my intentions were good.
Tell us how you introduced your new cat to your grumpy cat. It is possible that you will need to do a reintroduction which will allow you to start fresh. Let us know about your introduction process and we will help you decide what to do next.
post #4 of 19
Have you tried spraying lemon juice or vinegar seems to have stoped mine from spraying
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the good information. I'll try to respond to the posts as I can remember them.

We've been using the Feliway for awhile without much success. We actually had this problem last year, and using the Feliway eliminated the problem back then. This time around...not so much.

Thanks for the aluminum foil idea. I had just earlier today put the foil all around the house, but I put it on the floor. I just went back around and added it to the walls...makes sense. Hopefully, this will help.

Will start using the time-out method...hadn't done that yet, though I have been saying "no" firmly.

(Can't remember your last point...I'll come back to that!)

Thanks! Gotta go back and read the rest of the replies so I can respond.

Dawn
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Lotsocats, it was 1.5 yrs ago and I can't remember step-by-step what we did, but we did go online and follow the advice about introducing slowly. The steps I remember off hand were giving the new kitty his own room for several days, letting them sniff each other through doors, giving them both towels with each other's scents...that kind of thing. I can't remember the exact order, but the introduction seemed to go well. The whole process took quite a long time...so we didn't rush it.

I can't say for sure that the second kitty is the cause of our problem but it may be a contributing factor. We have had some stress in the household (husband is traveling a lot, we have had to travel some due to elder care issues which means leaving the kitties home with a sitter or boarding them, both of which are stressful for Jax.) I also believe the presence of the stray outdoor cats may have prompted this because we were problem-free until spring when the doors and windows were being opened more.

The two cats tolerate each other, they do not fight, but they are not lovey-dovey, either. Occassionally, they will groom each other, but it never lasts long.

Thanks for your help,

Dawn
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJAngel021
Have you tried spraying lemon juice or vinegar seems to have stoped mine from spraying
Where do you spray this? In the spots where he is spraying? Wall and floor?

Thanks,

Dawn
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaxMaxMom
Iwe were problem-free until spring when the doors and windows were being opened more.
Ah ha! It seems like this is the key. So....what you need to do is either keep the windows shut (hard to do when it is pretty outside) or make sure the stray cat is not marking your house which would drive Max crazy. A stray's scent marking would most definitely make Jax angry and on edge AND he will spray to put his scent over that of the outside cat.

So, spray enzymatic cleansers outside the windows and doors to remove the stray cat scent. Spray Feliway inside the doors and windows to have friendly cat scents instead of territorial cat scents. And, refresh the Feliway twice daily. As I mentioned, keeping the windows shut will be a good idea as will making the ground outside the windows and doors unpleasant to the stray cat.

As long as the outside cat is agitating Jax, you will likely continue to have this problem. Perhaps once you close up the house and turn on the air conditioner, the problem will go away (but you will have to very carefully find and thoroughly clean all old spray spots).
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
OK, great...thanks. This gives me hope!

The cats will hate it, but I will close the house up and turn the air conditioner on. They do spend a lot of time out on the breezeway where the sliding door and window are always open. The air doesn't go out there...so it will get warm. They won't like it...but it's better than getting rid of Jax.

Any tips on how to figure out where to spray the enzymatic cleaner outside? Should I just spray outside the windows and doors?

I don't know if the strays are male or female... would that make a difference. There are probably several. We have a large farm behind our house with many kitties.

Thanks again,

Dawn
post #10 of 19
I would just soak the enzymatic cleanser around the windows and doors....places where the stray's scent might be getting into the house.

The sex of the stray doesn't really matter, though an unneutered male is almost guaranteed to spray just about every place he visits -- especially if he smells another cat in that territory.

You might even consider trapping the strays and having them altered. This would reduce or eliminate the spraying AND it would keep unwanted kittens from being born.

You could talk to the barn's owner about neutering/spaying their barn cats. Altering the cats makes them healthier and a healthier cat is a better mouser. Also, once neutered, the male cats will stay around the barn instead of coming to your house. Many communities have programs to help neuter feral cats (most likely the barn cats are feral).

Look at www.alleycat.org for more information.
post #11 of 19
I have heard that Prozac would help kitties with spraying problems. However, I have also heard that withdrawal from the drug usage could be quite difficult. I have heard that a very small percentage of cats can become violent if the withdrawal is too sudden.

Bach's Flower Essence Rescue Remedy is a good way to get almost the same polyphenols, except those polyphenols would be non-addictive.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
I purchased something called "Good Cat" awhile ago and have not used it. Would this be similar or should I stick with the "Rescue Remedy". (Maybe you aren't familiar with "Good Cat" but it says that it is 'essences from selected flowers" - you add it to their water daily.

Thanks everyone.

I have a list of things I am going to try before going back to the meds.

Dawn
post #13 of 19
I don't know. Bach's Rescue Remedy is highly rated and I have friends in animal rescues who use it. So I know it works.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
OK, I'll be sure to pick some of it up tomorrow.

A quick question about litter boxes...we have three, two of which are Littermaids. I am wondering if we should replace the littermaids with standard boxes. The littermaids have never really been a problem, but I thought I would mention it. I do think that since it cleans itself it probably doesn't get a thorough cleaning as often as a regular one might (hubby does that but he is not here for me to ask as to how often he cleans it.)

Thanks very much.

Dawn
post #15 of 19
yeah you just spray the lemon juice or vinegar where they spray what we always do..we didn't have all the experts and internet we did that and it worked just need to do it about every two weeks and it works well just alter the one you use or they get used to the one and its cheaper then the stuff you would buy that may and may not work
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaxMaxMom
OK, I'll be sure to pick some of it up tomorrow.

A quick question about litter boxes...we have three, two of which are Littermaids. I am wondering if we should replace the littermaids with standard boxes. The littermaids have never really been a problem, but I thought I would mention it. I do think that since it cleans itself it probably doesn't get a thorough cleaning as often as a regular one might (hubby does that but he is not here for me to ask as to how often he cleans it.)

Thanks very much.

Dawn
I got this when Basil started spraying everywhere:

http://www.rubbermaid.com/rubbermaid...d=HPProd110019

My cats love it. The box is big enough to dig in and the high sides afford the cats privacy, which is very important to prevent spraying.

Ever since then I never had any litterbox avoidance issue again!!! My cats had been perfect for one year now.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Wow, that rubbermaid container is HUGE! Do the kitties like to jump in and out of it?

On a positive note, I did many of the suggestions made to me here yesterday and I am seeing some improvement. In fact, unless he is finding new locations, I can't see where jax has sprayed at all in the past 24 hours..which is incredible since he typically sprays 8 -10 times per day.

I have tin foil on the floor and the walls. I closed the house up and turned on the air conditioner. I sprayed enzymatic cleaner outside around all the doors and windows, and Feliway inside around all the doors and windows where the kitties usually hang out. I have some sort of feel-good, flowery something that goes in their water (probably an off-brand to the Rescue Remedy - since I haven't been able to find that yet.)

The kitties are a bit confused and they HATE the tin foil...but I am hopeful, for the first time in many months.

Thanks to everyone here for the great advice. I will keep you posted on our progress.

Dawn
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaxMaxMom
Wow, that rubbermaid container is HUGE! Do the kitties like to jump in and out of it?


Dawn
That's part of the charm

Seriously though, my cats LOVE to go to the bathroom.
post #19 of 19
Woo Hoo! I'm glad it is going well so far. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that your boy continues to behavie!
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