Cats are similar to humans when it comes to anxious behavior. Some may be outgoing and friendly with any new face they meet or they may be scared when they are in a crowd of new faces. They get panic attacks and develop a strange cat behavior. They become anxious due to stress or even separation anxiety. If you find your cat to be urinating all over the house and not his litter box, it is a sign that he is under stress or developing a separation anxiety.
Anti-anxiety Drugs for Cats
Buspirone is used to relieve anxiety in humans with minimal muscle relaxation and is not known to be an addictive drug. In veterinary medicine, it is used to treat phobias like thunder, people in uniform and territory marking in cats. Buspirone requires several weeks of administration to achieve the desire effect on the cat’s behavior. It helps in treating separation anxiety in pets. This anti-anxiety medication for cats has a side effect that makes the cat too affectionate towards the owner. Although this may not sound much of a problem, but be ready to spend many sleepless nights due to aggressive behavior in cats like excessive purring and rubbing.
This anti-anxiety drugs for cats is the first one that was approved by the FDA for use on dogs as well as humans. This anti-anxiety medication for cats is widely used for treating pet separation anxiety, urinating around the house, obsessive compulsive disorders, dominance aggression, etc. This anti-anxiety drug for cats, shows side effects that include retention or difficulty in passing urine, reduction in the intestinal mobility, etc.
Fluoxetine is used to treat urinating in inappropriate places, separation anxiety, compulsive chewing, circling, self-mutilation and aggression. This drug is given to the cat once a day. The common side effects of this medication include drowsiness and lethargy. It may show a ‘disinhibition’ phenomenon in the animal. It means when the animal’s inhibition of aggressive behavior is reduced, the anxiety over the consequences due to such behavior is removed. Therefore, if the animal was not aggressive before, he or she may show signs of aggressiveness after taking the drug.
It is used to treat separation anxiety, urination outside the box, feline lower urinary tract disease and obsessive grooming. It may show drowsiness, sedation, dry mouth, urinary retention and constipation, as side effects of the drug.
This anti-anxiety drug for cats is used for a number of uses in treating seizure disorders in cats, muscle cramping diseases like ‘Scotty cramp’, irritable bowel syndrome, stimulating appetite in cats, territory marking urination in cats, extreme involuntary muscle contraction, etc. The side effects of this anti-anxiety medication for cats may show liver failure after several days of use. Thus, it is important to check the cat’s liver enzymes before the use of this drug.
Although this is not an anti-anxiety medication for cats, it is a spray that mimics feline pheromones. These pheromones are produced from the cats cheeks when rubbed against any object. This product helps creating a friendly environment to the cat that helps reduce the general anxiety and territorial behavior in cats.
If your cat is suffering from separation anxiety, then the best solution is to ignore it completely for 15 minutes, before leaving and after coming home. You may leave some toy around to distract the cat’s attention. Keep the cat’s favorite toys around the house before leaving and keep them away as soon as you come home. You may even make a perch near the window, so that the cat is busy watching the birds and other stimulating things outside the window. Or else you may try giving the cat anti-anxiety medication for cats, under veterinary advice.
NEVER attempt to give a cat medications on your own. NEVER give a cat human medications to consume. ALWAYS consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and prescription of medications.
Symptoms of Feline Anxiety
Cats suffer from a weak immune system when under stress. The hypothalamus in cats brain triggers the body to release chemicals that prepares it for fight or flight. This leads to a constant flow of chemicals in the bloodstream of anxious cats. It weakens the immune system and makes the cat susceptible to diseases. The cat behavior undergoes a drastic change and you may observe the following changes like:
- Pacing around the house
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive grooming
- Weight loss
- Loss of affection
- Urination or defecation outside the litter box
These behavior call for immediate medical attention, especially for cats undergoing separation anxiety or a cat who gets ‘spooked’ very easily.
Separation Anxiety In Cats
It occurs when the cat develops a strong bond with the owner. The cat wants to be with the owner at all times and even follows him from room to room. The most common symptoms of separation anxiety in cats are:
- Urinating and defecating near the door or near your personal items.
- Destructive chewing and scratching on the furniture or other house items.
- Cats may stop eating when left alone or may suffer from anorexia.
- Vomiting when the owner is not around.
- Excessive grooming that leads to a bald spot in one or two areas of the body.
- Vocalization like meowing, crying and moaning when the owner leaves.
Separation anxiety may be genetic or environmental. When a young kitten is orphaned or weaned too early, he/she may develop separation anxiety in future. If you fear, your cat is suffering from separation anxiety, then visit the vet to conduct a complete physical examination of the cat. If your cat is urinating or defecating outside the litter box too often and howling and crying while answering natures call, he may be developing a urinary tract infection. A cat food allergy may be the cause of excessive grooming. This calls for a complete blood count, chemistry profile, thyroid testing, urinalysis and blood pressure check up.
If you think your cat is also undergoing bouts of anxiety, please speak to a vet about the possible causes and their solutions. When it comes to anxiety, cats are just like us humans and need to be treated on similar lines. It is important to take the best pet care and consult medical experts when in doubt. You need to provide the best care to your pet, who is totally dependent on you for his/her needs. I have started with the treatment for anxiety and urination outside the litter box for my Peppers, that includes anti-anxiety medication for cats under veterinary prescription.