01 July 2008

Poor Tinsel Cat: Driven to Prozac

Last week, I came to the end of my very long rope. Tinsel has been having "litterbox issues" for the last year or so, and they've been getting worse in the past few weeks. She's not "missing" the litterbox: She's just choosing to "go elsewhere" once or twice each day. I've tried every possible way to get her to use the litterbox. The vet has ruled out any physical problems.

So what's the cause of Tinsel's problems? It's simple: L-I-L-Y. Aggressive Alpha-Cat Wannabe Lily came into Tinsel's serene world two years ago, and Tinsel's not one bit happy about it.

So Tinsel is now on a short-term course of Prozac. (Yes, this is the same anti-depressant that people take, but a lower dose.) The idea is to reduce Tinsel's anxiety so that she'll stop acting out her anger on the carpet.

Since she's been on Prozac, I've learned a few things:

* Cats have to be set up as patients in the Walgreens
pharmacy system. Tinsel now has her own account: Tinsel Cat.
* The package insert indicates that Prozac "may cause drowsiness." Since Tinsel already sleeps 23 hours per day, this side effect might be somewhat difficult
to detect.
* Tinsel doesn't like to take her pill. She holds it in her mouth and spits it out when she thinks you're not looking.
* Tinsel has been sleeping through lunch and dinner. We have to wake her up to eat. After a few days, this should improve and she should not be as drowsy.
* So far, the Prozac seems to be working. Tinsel hasn't had a single litterbox
issue since she started taking it.

But while the cat may not have issues, I apparently do: This morning Daughter gave Tinsel her medication for the day and then left the house. Later, I also gave Tinsel her medication for the day without realizing she'd already taken it. As soon as I discovered I'd given Tinsel a Prozac overdose, I made a frantic call to the vet's office.

"Will she be OK?" I asked the vet breathlessly.

After a considerably long time checking The Book, he finally returned to the phone: "Don't worry...You're below the LD."


"Lethal Dose."

Tinsel may be all smiles, but after that little episode, I could use some Prozac for myself.

Edited to add: After yesterday's incident, Daughter made a lovely chart to keep track of Tinsel's medication. :-)


Sarah C. said...

Oh my! Sounds like you all need a check off location to mark that she's gotten her meds. Poor girl. I hate giving pills to mine. They do not like it at all. I have found holding onto them after (a struggle) and rubbing under their chin to encourage swallowing helps keep the pills down. Hope Tinsel has a mellow day. :)

:: gingerkitty :: said...

good luck.. Yeah my cat had this problem too. I refused to medicate my cat with this. I just gave him lots of special attention and it worked..thank goodness. I know about the pharmacy my other cat had to go on medication (he is no longer with me) and it was interesting to see his name on the bottle.

Super good luck. I will be thinking about your kitty and sending my love.

Ryzmomplus2 said...

Good luck and hopefully this helps! Always tough with our babies on meds! But hopefully it will help to current condition of things

KarenSue said...

I'm glad this is helping Tinsel,
we have a cat having the same issue.

Its a pain...dh is on his last rope with finding 'presents'

Janet said...

Sarah - Yep, we do have a chart now. :-) Tinsel does best if you kind of surprise her with the pill. If she figures out what's happening, it makes things really difficult!

Gingerkitty - Thanks! I definitely did not want to medicate her but it's gotten really bad. I've tried numerous alternatives - new boxes, more boxes, new litter (Lily ate it), covering the floor with aluminum foil (Lily eats that, too) rewards, treats...you name it! Hopefully 4 weeks on this will help re-train her and we can get back to normal around here. She's such a good kitty! :-)

Ryzmomplus2 - Thx!! We really hope it takes care of the problem! Things look better so far, anyway!

Darcey said...

Good luck, hope things go better.

Heather said...

I think it's rather common for animals to be on prozac. My cousin's dog is. But it's because of their daughter, not the other dog! Glad to hear it's taking care of the litterbox issue though.

Linda said...

I hope this helps Tinsel. And I'm glad she is ok after a little extra medication. Good luck!

Pearl Maple said...

Poor little Tinsel (and you trying to look after her).

If we have not been there ourselves, it would almost be funny.

Have you tried putting a whole shower curtain around the litter box area to help with near misses? Found that when our little furry friend had issues, that keeping er box fresh helped a bit.

Good luck and warm hugs to you both.

Maureen said...

Holy crap, I would have freaked out too. Poor Tinsel. I hope she is doing better.

Take care Tinsel!

toners said...

So glad the meds are working for Tinsel Cat :) Litter box problems are not fun to deal with - unwanted "surprises" throughout the house...

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Poor Tinsel! Glad the medication is helping & hope she adjusts soon!

Boy I wish they had had that stuff available back when I had my old cat Couscous (Suwannakoot). We tried all kinds of things, but nothing ever worked.

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Actually, I wonder if it could help Sugar...he's totally bipolar.

Cheri said...

I'm so glad this seems to be working for Tinsel. While medication might not always be the answer, in your case, I think it might actually help matters other than the litter box issues...perhaps it'll make poor Tinsel a little less stressed about the fact that Lily lives there too:)

I doubt it would work for kitties, but with dogs resistant to taking pills, we've found over the years we can just "hide" the pill in something really enticing. For George it was liverpaste, for Reuben, peanut butter. I think they knew the pill was there but just didn't care b/c they were getting a treat too.

Chanel said...

Oh my cow! That's hilarious!

I'm currently having the same problem with my cat...but she ended up having a UTI. Yuck.