by Isabella @TheWandCarver
It has been a long road and we’re not “there” yet. My 17 yr old tabby whom I’ve had since she was a 10 month old feral has been off the rails for about a month. Over a year ago she was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism and crystals in her urine. She is doing well with the Royal Canin renal diet and is on meds for Hyperthyroidism. About three weeks ago she had a Vet’s appointment and she has always been pretty good about popping into her carrier, that time was no different. I don’t know what happened at the Vet’s (although I was there the entire time) but she was not “right” after we came home. She was more vocal than usual and very disturbed. But it was not so bad…yet. As another week passed my daughter’s 15 year old tom passed away in the middle of the night. She has had him since she was 11 and it was a long, hard night for her. Sadly, I was asleep and wasn’t there for her but she didn’t want to wake me. Anyway, the day after both my cat and my son’s little tabby changed. His kitty wouldn’t leave the room in which my daughter’s boy passed away in until recently but my poor girl has been absolutely mad! One night she kept me up for hours running from one bedroom window to the other looking out at basically nothing. She’s quite “howl-y” and if I try to pick her up she hisses. She started tearing out huge chunks of fur. She’s bitten me a couple of times. For about a week she wouldn’t cuddle with me at night (something we’ve done every night for all the time I’ve had her with few exceptions) but preferred laying on a different area. I realised one day when all she wanted was to sit in her litter tray that she wanted to feel safe so I got a box and fixed it so she could get in and out plus made a little “roof” for her with half the box flaps. She was quite happy with that until she had a “seizure” (she is trying so hard to bite her own back she gets cramped I think and falls over, usually accompanied by a stream of wee) but she gets up from that quickly. So, the wee’d on box was no more. Then for about a week she began cuddling with me at night again but she still shows so many signs of anxiousness. I found by reading that she has Hyperesthesia Syndrome. Clearly, she has had this all of her life! Symptoms may include tail chasing, howling, self-harm (tearing out clumps of fur, biting), over-grooming, and many others. She has at one time or another done all.
I had been using a calming spray I had bought once before and it seemed to do a little for her. She was almost back to normal until I had to try to get her into her carrier so I could spray the room for fleas. She fought for her life! I got scratched up and hissed at. She normally just goes in. Not that day. That was this past Monday, here it is Saturday, and we still can’t spray for fleas. It seems all the good work done up to that point in time has come unravelled and I don’t know what to do but start over.
Her Vet wouldn’t prescribe her anything apart for Zylkene (which I could have bought online for 12.00 less than from her Vet!) I’ve been giving her that for over a week and the only thing its done so far is constipate the poor creature. I ordered the Feliway spray (for marking) as for one it was cheaper and for two, many reviews said how wonderful it was with their girl kitties. I have a small room but she has a long table by the double window on which I keep scratch mats and she loves this – normally. I take her mats out and spray a bit of Feliway on and then bring them back but she doesn’t want to know. When she is on them (frantically looking out each window) she isn’t less anxious. I also spray on my chair where she loves to lay in normal circumstances. She doesn’t avoid it, she just doesn’t seem less anxious. She is happier sleeping atop or inside a cardboard box. But that’s pretty normal for a cat…they do love a cardboard box!
So, have I really learned much about how to help my poor girl during all of this? Yes, and no….I have learned to never touch her back as it sends her into a fit. I have learned to be more patient, but I was already very patient with her. I’ve learned to celebrate the good times because the bad times will suck the life out of you if you don’t celebrate the good. I’ve learned that Zylkene and Feliway probably work a treat on less anxious cats than mine, hence the wonderful reviews. My girl needs stronger meds than this, clearly. In order to get those, I must take her back to her Vet’s to be tested. Hah! Remember earlier in this story how I told you she wouldn’t get into her carrier? Therein lies the rub…I can schedule the appointment but will my dear girl go into her carrier? I’m open to suggestions and will love hearing from other cat owners whom have had the same problems with their kitties. You may be able to teach and old cat new tricks 😊