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Experiences with Amitriptyline in Cats

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I consulted my cat's veterinarian on how to help in curbing Barkley's behavioral issues, he recommended placing Barkley on a drug called Amitriptyline, which is also administered to people for certain issues. When we discussed this medication, I was told that there are no side effects in cats placed on it but Barkley seems to be the exception. So far I have only been able to give him one pill (10 mg, once a day) but he vomited about 3-4 hrs after he was given the pill and then started showing signs of lethargic behavior.

The reason I looked into this avenue was because basically Im at the end of my rope with the behavioral stuff (excessive and loud meowing/crying at nighttime, destructive behavior with household items (chewing on things, ripping things up, play attacking Petunia, which she doesnt like at all, etc) and to be honest I was thinking of surrendering him back to the shelter where I originally got him. I did not however want to do that because when he is quiet and not on a rampage he is a wonderful little guy and I love him to death, wouldnt know what to do without him in my home and especially my life. But its frustrating when he behaves this way and I dont know what to do.

I do know that Barkley is allergic to certain vaccines/medication. He has to be pre-treated and has had two very bad reactions the previous two times he has been taken to have his yearly vaccines. I just want some relief from all this. Even Petunia is starting to display nervous tendencies because she does not know when he will ""snap" and start tearing through the house like a wild man.

I need some sound advice from anyone who may have had a successful experience with using Amitriptyline with their pet or any other solution that might help in curbing his behavior issues. When the vet and I discussed this option it was agreed that it would be tried on a trial basis to see how it effected him and then he would be slowly weened off of it, but so far not so good as Im not sure his little body can handle it. For now, the vet advised that I take Barkley off of it for a few days and then resume the medication but this time only give him a half dose (5mg). This is the first time I have had to resort to using medication to attempt to curb negative behavior.

If you would like you can private message me with your suggestions. Thanks in advance for the help in this matter.
post #2 of 18
Did your vet mention why he chose amitriptyline over fluoxetine (Prozac)? I'm not questioning your vet, just curious. I did use amitriptyline for Willow when she was diagnosed with cystitis. I'm not whether it helped or whether it was just giving the situation time that did the trick for her. She wasn't on it for behaviorial reasons, so I don't have much experience with that. When I did take her off of it, I was very careful to taper it slowly by cutting the tablet into smaller and smaller chunks.

How old is Barkley? Have other medical issues, like seizures and hyperesthesia, been ruled out?
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud_shade
Did your vet mention why he chose amitriptyline over fluoxetine (Prozac)? I'm not questioning your vet, just curious. I did use amitriptyline for Willow when she was diagnosed with cystitis. I'm not whether it helped or whether it was just giving the situation time that did the trick for her. She wasn't on it for behaviorial reasons, so I don't have much experience with that. When I did take her off of it, I was very careful to taper it slowly by cutting the tablet into smaller and smaller chunks.

How old is Barkley? Have other medical issues, like seizures and hyperesthesia, been ruled out?
My vet never mentioned any other medication by name, although he did state that at times some cats are placed on Prozac to simmer them down a notch. I dont know enough about these medications but am doing a lot of research on them, especially Amitriptyline. He just felt that this particular medication would work the best in his situation. Barkley just turned 3 back in February so he is still a young hyper little fellow. And he has been checked out from head to toe and no medical problems of any kind were found.
post #4 of 18
One of our regular member's kitty is taking this medication for cystitis and responding well, we'll be sure she sees this so she can provide Polly's feedback, as well.
post #5 of 18
I had heard Prozac was better, even though I have been fortunate never to have to use anything long term.
I hate to say this, but my experience with Amitriptyline was awful. A vet gave it to me for Fred during a cross country car ride in his carrier. He was fine when he slept, then he would awaken and start flinging himself around inside the carrier, howling at the top of his lungs, then he would go back to sleep. One time he broke out of the carrier and attacked me, going through 5 o'clock traffic in Nashville. He jumped on my head, scratching and biting, then he started running laps around my neck. I was terrified I was going to have to open the window and toss him out. We made it through the traffic, he calmed down and went back to sleep. I looked like I had lost a fight with a cheese grater, and came within millimeters of having huge cat claws in my eyes.
This was the most sweet and loving cat ever, who under normal circumstances would never have attcked me. I know the added stress of the trip probably added to his reaction, but I have heard several bad stories of a normall docile cat becoming aggressive.
I hope everything works out with Barkley's behavior.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawnofsierra
One of our regular member's kitty is taking this medication for cystitis and responding well, we'll be sure she sees this so she can provide Polly's feedback, as well.
Polly has been on amitriptylene for cystitis since January. She started off with half a tablet and it worked great until last month. She had another flare-up and we ended up doing surgery to do a biopsy to confirm that she had cystitis. Now that it is confirmed, we have tried increasing her dose to a whole tablet each day. It doesn't seem to be making her sleepy, and we have another week until we test her urine to see if the higher dose is helping or if she needs to try another medicine. She doesn't have any behavioral issues, so I'm not much help there.

My vet said that a cat's reaction to this medicine is very individual. Some small cats can handle a whole tablet while some cats turn into kitty statues on a half tablet. Try the lower dose if that's what your vet suggests. If it still makes him lethargic, though, I would ask for another medicine to try. My vet said the lethargy will not hurt them in any way, but we want them to act like cats and not statues (her words).

Good luck with your kitty and please keep us updated!
post #7 of 18
The author of a book I read about cat behavioral issues recommends a medication call Busbar, generic is buspirone (?) I think?
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
I first want to thank all that replied for your words of encouragement, experiences and advice. After being off of the medication for a few days, I attempted to administer a dosage this evening at the same time as I gave him his initial dose. Things did not go as planned. Barkley clenched up very tightly and refused to open his mouth whatsoever.

I tried to soothe him and talk quietly to him so as not to further distress him but nothing seemed to work, and after several attempts to open his mouth I gave up as I did not want to alarm him any more. I know cats are very smart little beings and im more than sure Barkley knew what I was trying to do but to know avail.

I only want to help him control his behavior and do not want it all do diminish as I do know that a lot of his actions are just him being himself, a cat. I also, as his parent do not wish to see him hurt himself in any way and that is my biggest fear with him being so rambunctious. I will call the vet tomorrow and explain the situation, but at this time I do not see this being a plausible route unless there is another way to administer the medication to him instead of orally.

I will keep you all informed and again I thank all of you for taking the time to read this post and reply. Barkley thanks you all as well!
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Barkley was at his worst last night with his behavior. He screamed at the top of his lungs starting at about 3 this morning. I just went ahead and woke up for good because I was due to get up at 4am anyway to prepare for work.

When he saw me get out of bed and turn the light on he immediately stopped his hollering and decided instead that he wanted to jump up on the table and start knocking things off. So now I was forced to not only pick up everything that he scattered about the house during the night but also place everything back on the table. Im to the point where I basically have to put any and everything laying around up so that he does not have access to it and I feel that I should not have to do this. The last thing I think anyone wants to do upon waking up in the morning is access the damage and destruction done by one cat during the night while the owner is sleeping.

Thankfully, Petunia does not give me the same problems or else I would have checked myself into the Humane Society a long time ago and just let them keep the apartment and pay the rent each month It is still early here so I have not called the vet yet but as soon as they open at 8am I'll be the first call they get. Im about to pull my hair out because I just dont know what to do anymore
post #10 of 18
If you tilt his head back, his mouth muscles will relax. You can also try crushing the pill into his food, but it's very bitter, so he'll probably refuse to eat it. That's what happened with Polly, so I have to give it to her the old-fashioned way.
post #11 of 18
My cat Toby was on it for awhile. After having been on insulin for about 3 months and regaining use of his hind limbs he went nuts one night and tried to chew off his tail. (diabetic neuropathy) He was on amitriptyline for maybe 5-6 weeks and the situation did resolve itself. I've used fluoxetine for other issues and it worked initially, but the behavior returned after about 6 months. I also checked into Buspar rather than the fluoxetine and truthfully can't remember why we opted against it.

I have one on Clomipramine now, which is also a treatment for behavioral issues. This is what we switched to after the fluoxetine. I do remember that the fluoxetine seemed to cause weight gain.

edited to add...if the pills are bitter, try having them compounded
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Barkley is still on Amitriptyline but now I apply it to the innerside of his ear once a day and rub it into the skin. It's in a gel form and he is administered 0.1 mg by syringe. So as not to freak him out I apply the gel to a finger cot that I wear and then apply it to his ear so that way he never sees the syringe. For the most part (last night was only his second treatment) he seems to allow me to do this, although will fight occasionally because I have to restrain him until Im done rubbing the medication into his ear.

The vet did recommend that if the Amitriptyline in this form does not seem to work on Barkley then I could possibly try an animal behaviorist. That just sounds like more money that I honestly do not have at the present time, but the vet stated that this Dr is really good. The gel form of Amitriptyline is almost 2x what I paid for the pill form which turned out to be a waste. He slept most of the day yesterday, probably out of exhaustion from being a hell raiser the night before (he left my house in shambles, looked like a tornado had come through overnight) and the extreme heat we have been battling for the past few days.

He did however "let" me sleep until about 3:45am this morning which is some improvement, although my alarm was not set to go off for another 15 mins. Im hoping this form of the medication will do the trick but Im not expecting a miracle overnight. I will update on Barkley again.
post #13 of 18
Our oldest female is on Amitriptyline for speration anxiety. Haven't noticed any negative affects at all; well other than the fact that she turns into satan's cat when we take her to the vet
post #14 of 18

I used Amitriptyline on two of my cats for inappropriate behavior, i.e. spraying in the house, and one for aggressiveness toward foster kitties. I never had a problem with vomiting or lethargy in two of the cats, but one did start to act funny after a couple of days. In that case I just cut the dose in half and he was fine. These were all adults, and it sounds as if you may have a kitten, or at least a small cat. If it is a kitten, under one year, I would question the safety giving this drug to them. If an adult, how much does it weigh? This too plays a part in dosing. Sounds like you may need another opinion from a different vet if you can get one. My only other suggestion is trying the Feliaway plug-ins. I don't particularly like the sprays, but I do feel that the plug-in works to some extent. This along with a smaller dose of medication should help. You can get them online or at PetSmart. If you look on-line you can probably find a better price. Once you've purchased the plug in you just get the refills and they last approx. 1 month. I put one in each room. You can't smell it but the cats can. It's pheromones that are supposed to relax them. At least give it a try before surrendering your kitty to a shelter, or if you are going to do that, at least try to find a rescue so he won't be in danger of euthanasia. I can help with finding a rescue in your area if you need one.

post #15 of 18

It could be that Barkley is having an issue taking amitriptyline orally.  Before you give up on the drug, talk to your vet about a transdermal gel to go in his ear.  I have been trying it.  It is also supposed to be a progressive drug.  According to my vet, it is to be administered daily, then every couple of days, then weekly, etc until they are completely off the drug, but the behavior is not longer there.  I just started my Tigger on it.  He seems to be fine, other than being alittle ADD, when he plays fetch.  He us usually pretty focused and excited, but now he gets distracted by things (the girls, or even just stopping to groom himself)...how do you explain to your vet that being easily distracted is not typical behavior for your cat?  Regardless, if it stops his inappropriate urination, then I will deal with the ADD during his favorite game.

 

Good Luck!

post #16 of 18

I wanted to tell the owners of cats if you are having problems with giving your cats the Amitriptyline you can either dissolve them in water and mix it with their food or get an eye dropper and dissolve their pill and squeeze it in the eye dropper and squeeze it in their mouth I too am having problems with my cat she is peeing outside of the litter box on my mother's bed and that is the only drug I can give her to calm her down and correct her behavior so if all else fails try that and it might work it is better then getting clawed and bitten by your cat all of the time

post #17 of 18
my male cat shadow has been fixed for about 8 years and all the sudden he started humping my leg and trying to hump other cats about 3 months ago. it didn't matter if they were male or female he had the urge to hump so my veterinarian prescribed amitripyline for him for behavioral issues. I have not given him any of it yet as I'm a little scared of possible side effects. I have however tried homeopathic medications for my other cats for different medical conditions and ailments such as thyroid problems,liver problems.colds.etc... from the Pet Alive website and also the Native Remedies website and they have worked 100 percent great. Sometimes they take a couple days to a few weeks to a few months depending on the condition but their products work and you don't have the side effects that you do with some of the medications that the vets prescribe. They do carry a lot of different products for a lot of different conditions and they do have products for behavioral problems and I'm going to try that before I try the amitriptyline. Maybe that's something that you can look into as well.
post #18 of 18
my male cat shadow has been fixed for about 8 years and all the sudden he started humping my leg and trying to hump other cats about 3 months ago. it didn't matter if they were male or female he had the urge to hump so my veterinarian prescribed amitripyline for him for behavioral issues. I have not given him any of it yet as I'm a little scared of possible side effects. I have however tried homeopathic medications for my other cats for different medical conditions and ailments such as thyroid problems,liver problems.colds.etc... from the Pet Alive website and also the Native Remedies website and they have worked 100 percent great. Sometimes they take a couple days to a few weeks to a few months depending on the condition but their products work and you don't have the side effects that you do with some of the medications that the vets prescribe. They do yocarry a lot of different products for a lot of different conditions and they do have products for behavioral problems and I'm going to try that before I try them trip plane o maybe that's something that you can look into as well.
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