For Those Who Have Medicated Their Cats for Anxiety.....

@clownfish (3278)
United States
January 29, 2007 10:31pm CST
Hi! After reading all the informed posts about medicating cats for anxiety, I did some research and decided that would be the thing to do for my cat. He is 16, has had cancer for over 2 years, and does have separation anxiety and attachment issues to food. He wakes me up constantly in the night to feed him. Even after I've gotten up to feed him, he still wakes me up. I know some of it has to do with my little daughter crawling in bed with me during the night, but she's a special needs child and it's been hard to get her to stay in her own bed. Anyway, since I've been medicating my cat (diazepam), he has almost been worse. He has now started jumping up on the tables and counters to lick plates and bowls (which he never did before) and is still constantly waking me up. What have been some of your experiences with your cats on medication? Did their behaviours get worse to begin with? How long did it take before you saw some changes? I would appreciate any input about this. Thanks bunches! :-)
2 people like this
5 responses
• United States
3 Feb 07
Hi there... diazepam has been known to cause disorientation and odd behaviours in cats as well as it can be an appetite stimulant. There are other antidepressants that may be of benefit and less disorienting however also decreasing the dosage with the diazepam may be enough to help your cat adjust easier as well. If your cat's liver has been already compromised as a result of the cancer and associated treatments many of the antidepressants may not be beneficial as they can be very toxic to the liver. Based on the pre-existing health condition and age this determines the best type of medication prescribed. If your cat is nauseated Pepcid AC (1/4 tab) depending on the total tab dosage can help with stomach distresses. However, this will not be much help if your cat is gorging his food as this can only be managed with controlled feeding servings. With the diazepam overstimulating his appetite adjusting the dosage should help alleviate some of increased appetite symptoms. I truly would consider an alternative veterinary opinion-- a feline-only veterinary specialist would be ideal as they have more experience with all types of feline disorders/diseases and may know which regiment would work best for your cat. They can run a series of blood work to test for metbolic disorders and changes in order to determine which medications for anxiety may be helpful as well. It's truly important to stick with a scheduled feeding rather than free feeding a cat who tends to gorge their foods so that you help him develop a consistent habit of when to expect his meals and how much despite how much begging and pleading he does. Unless the veterinarian specifically says he needs to eat as much as possible then divide the portions into smaller servings fed more often to help satiate his appetite so he will feel less depraved as well.
• United States
3 Feb 07
I did forget to mention that senior cats (over the age of 9 years) develop age-related disorders such as chronic renal failure (CRF), hyperthyroidism, diabetes, etc and should be evaluated to be ruled out when treated for anxiety disorders as well. Here's more about hyperthyroidism: http://www.marvistavet.com/html/thyroid__signs__symptoms_and_d.html Please forgive me as I'm still trying to figure out how myLot works so hopefully I'll be able to return to this question and see your response and try to provide feedback.
1 person likes this
@clownfish (3278)
• United States
4 Feb 07
Hi! Thanks so much for the information. My dad is a pharmacist and he isn't happy with the choice of diazepam either. I think you hit the nail on the head, my cat has been worse since he's been on the diazepam. Now he's jumping up on counters and dragging his food spoons into other rooms, etc. He's not quite himself. As far as the cancer, he started out with a grapefruit sized tumor that blocked his intestines. It was removed and hadn't spread at that time. The following year, we discovered that the cancer was back. The vets started to do surgery to remove it but told me there was nothing they could do because it was in his kidneys and liver. That was over a year and a 1/2 ago and he's still doing relatively well. I think they have given up on him because they don't expect him to be alive right now, so they aren't doing testing or anything else to help him. Unfortunately, I live in a small rural area and they are the best vets in the area. *sigh* The good news is that my parents' vet in a nearby state will see him. I know they love our pets as much as we do and they will do more to help him than the vets here are willing to do. The only question is how soon I can get him there. Basically, I only need to get my cat to sleep through the night. That's the most immediate need because he won't let me sleep. I know part of the problem is that he's jealous of my daughter - he always has been, and if she's in bed with me, he's worse. She's a special needs child, though, so it's not simply a matter of getting her to stay in her own bed. Also, as far as feeding him, he has had a habit of gorging for quite some time. I can only feed him what he can eat at one time, otherwise he will eat it all and throw up, then he'll beg to be fed again and do it all over. So, that's why it's such a problem that he won't let me sleep at night, because I have to get up and feed him. I tried keeping food by the bed, but he knows it's there and just begs even more. Thanks for your input! I'll watch for replies as well. And welcome to Mylot! I hope you enjoy it here! :-)
• United States
4 Feb 07
Hi again...he definitely presents some challenges and I truly would consider the alternative veterinary opinion when you have the opportunity to travel, because they can evaluate him further and determine which medications may be more beneficial since Diazepam tends to cause increased appetite symptoms. I don't know if suppressing his appetite is such a good idea either because of his age and overall health history which creates another whole set of lifestyle challenges not only for him but his family members. The fact he is still doing quite well at 16 with recurring cancer is amazing. I am speculating here ...but wonder if he has another metabolic disorder such as hyperthyroidism was pre-existing which causes increased appetite symptoms and is very common among aging senior cats. Sometimes gastrointestinal cancer can cause changes with appetite and also surmise that may have all along caused your cat to always have the gorging disorder--just theorizing. Anyhow, I hope some food for thought I have offered will be of help when bringing your cat to be evaluated by the other veterinarian. Feline Hyperthyroidism: http://www.marvistavet.com/html/thyroid__signs__symptoms_and_d.html
• United States
30 Jan 07
I agree that you should ask your vet why your cat is so hungry. One of mine was like that but after bloodwork they found he had a hyperactive thyroid. As for anxiety, one of my cats became, as the vet called it, stressed out when we moved. She was put on Elavil for about two months and that seemed to calm her down. Maybe you should ask your doctor if that might work better. I am also sorry to hear about the cancer.
@clownfish (3278)
• United States
30 Jan 07
Hi! Thanks for your reply! I think the problem with the vets is that they have given up on him. They didn't expect him to live this long - no one knows why he has except for the grace of God! - and he's doing very well except for this constant begging and wanting me awake all night. My parents have a very good vet where they live and I'll bet he'd be willing to work with him more. Maybe a different medication might work better than what I was given as well. Thanks! :-)
• United States
30 Jan 07
A new vet sounds like a good plan of action. Check on a different medication as well as find out if your kitty might need a new food. Medications upset my stomach something bad so I wonder if your kitty might be having difficulty with the medication and stomach upset.
@clownfish (3278)
• United States
30 Jan 07
Hi! Yes, I think the other vet will do a better job of checking him out. The cat has only a few foods that he can keep down consistently. Another thing about getting older - he's gotten a lot more picky! LOL I usually feed him the fancy feast with the garden greens to help settle his tummy. He likes it and keeps it down very well. I'm sure he has upset tummies from time to time. Maybe the other vet can help me with that as well. :-) Thanks for the advice! :-)
• United States
30 Jan 07
The only time I have ever had to medicate my cats is when I have had to travel with them over long stretches of time during hurricane evacuations. The medicine just calmed them down to where they could settle comfortably in their cat carriers. Have you spoken with your vet about why your cat is always hungry-does it have something to do with the cancer? I know that you and your daughter need some rest at night-have you tried putting a food bowl close to your bed on the floor-that way your cat could eat (hopefully quietly) and still be aware that you are close by so maybe the anxiety won't be so bad?
@clownfish (3278)
• United States
30 Jan 07
Hi! You have wonderful suggestions, and I have tried them. If I leave food out for him, he'll eat it all and then throw up, so I can only feed him what his tummy will hold at one sitting. He has always had problems with gorging then throwing up. I've tried keeping food next to the bed, but he knows it's there and he begs even more. I will take him to a different vet when I get the chance. I want him to enjoy his life, not waste it worrying about being fed all the time! Thanks for your reply! :-)
@villageanne (8579)
• United States
30 Jan 07
Your poor cat. I am sorry that you cat is so sick. I have no experience with anxiety with my cats so I have no info for you . I just wanted to say I am so sorry your cat is so ill. Hope the meds help
@clownfish (3278)
• United States
30 Jan 07
Thanks for the reply! Actually, you'd never know he has cancer because he seems fine most of the time. It's just the constant begging that's the only indication of something wrong. :-)
@lilaclady (28270)
• Australia
30 Jan 07
oh you poor thing, I personally haven't known anyone who has medicated their cat, I hope someone can help you on this, good luck to you and your kitty.
@clownfish (3278)
• United States
30 Jan 07
Hi! Thanks for your kind words! I just want him to be able to enjoy life again. :-)