Monday, June 27, 2016

Gratuitous Kitteh Monday - Cats on Prozac

Or, "Why My Cat Hates Herb Alpert"...

We are in the process of weaning Miss Thang off her Prozac. She was initially only prescribed half of a 10 mg pill a day (5 mg), which is a really low dose to start out with, but it has made a world of difference IMO. As a reminder, we put her on it to help manage a redirected aggression episode between her and Chaz - I HIGHLY recommend this approach in combination with behavioral therapy to get things back to normal.

She's been on it for about 2 1/2 months now and it normally isn't meant to be used as a long-term medication for cats. Three-to-six months is about the average length of time. It definitely took a solid 2-3 weeks to get her titrated to the full dosage benefit and during that time she was a little spacey and more prone to sleeping. After that initial 2-3 weeks, she was pretty much back to normal, but subdued.

Behaviorally, the Prozac has helped her manage a tendency to "ramp up" her aggression if she becomes scared/startled. It has helped her to experience situations as NBD and this was a god-send when desensitizing her interactions with Chaz. We've noticed it primarily during situations where, as an alpha cat, she is prone to wanting to control or respond to the energy in the room.

For example, if hubby and I start having a loud conversation (i.e. an argument or laughing), she has a tendency to come into the room, walk up to us, and give one of us a slight nip. It's as if she is saying, "Hey you two, cut it out!" If we ramped up, she would too.

Another example is when my cell phone rings. If I would run to go get it before it went to voice mail, she would run after me and try to bite me or attack my legs. It got so bad that if my phone even rang and no one moved, she would still run into the room and have this look on her face like, "Who's ass do I need to kick?" Pavlov would be impressed.

It was actually funny, not funny, as we made a joke of it and said we have our cat trained to attack when she hears Herb Alpert's "Spanish Flea," since that is my ringtone. Even playing this video has me nervously looking over my shoulder...

Since being on the Prozac, she has mostly stopped doing these things, but we have noticed a little more playfulness and energy from her in the past 2 weeks of weaning her off. She's been a little more playful and slightly "bully-ish" with Chaz, but that was only from 1 or 2 random observations. We shall see how she "turns out" after fully weaning her off. Hubby thinks the Prozac will "reboot" her brain. :-)

As an aside, Prozac for cats is another tool to use for improper elimination in the house. If all other health and behavior issues are ruled out, then Prozac has shown to be a HUGE help for cats that pee or poo outside of their litter box. Fortunately, we've never had this problem.

All-in-all, I am VERY happy with how Prozac has helped my bully-alpha cat chill out and just be a cat. Totally would do again if needed to, but I think I need to change my ringtone. :-)

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