Especially if it means you get to keep that pet happy and healthy and around for many more years.
The first photo is my sweet little Carmen as a kitten. At the shelter, she literally walked over to me, jumped into my lap and sat down and looked at me as if to say, “So, when are we going home?” It wasn’t my imagination – even the adoption coordinator said, “I think she has chosen you!” And she did.
Little did I know that part of her choosing me was, “Hey, I’m probably going to have some issues in the future, and I can tell that you will do whatever you can to make it all OK!” (There was another lady at the shelter that day, and she took the other two kittens from the same litter. Part of me thinks that she might not have dealt as kindly with Carmen’s issues.)
Carmen’s issues stem from her little sister Lily, aka, Lady Fuller of Brushman here… If she felt Lily was in danger and/or had been injured – all bets were off and claws and teeth and growls from the depths of hell came out and a massive meltdown ensued. We had a couple meltdowns and I was literally in the midst of trying to figure out how to describe it to my vet when we had a mega-meltdown that required antibiotics for my shredded foot and a VERY uncomfortable conversation with animal control.
So I took her to my vet and said, “What can we do? I do not want to put down an otherwise healthy cat for simply wanting (to an unfortunate extreme) to protect her sibling. The best words I have ever heard – “Prozac is very effective in cats. Let’s try that. If it doesn’t work, we can try other things. This can be managed.” (I already adored Dr. Alt of the Burke Vet Clinic. This pretty much sealed lifetime devotion.)
Holy shit, Batman. She’s been on Prozac/Fluoextine (via PillPockets) for about a year and a half now. What a difference some pharmaceuticals can make. She hasn’t even had any of the side effects – she *might* sleep a wee bit more – but she’s a cat, so…she sleeps a lot.
I don’t know exactly when she decided that the ceiling fan was the enemy (she was very little when that cropped up) – but now she just gives it the side-eye and goes on sitting in my lap. When Moxley decides he must bark and chase Lily, she just gets mildly concerned – which is quickly decelerated by some crunchy food. (And she knows it – and looks at me like, “Hey! Didn’t freak out – so, how about some crunchy foods?!?)
Tonight we had another “Proof of Concept’ with the meds. I came in and the Moxley dog (at left – with better haircut now) and Lily were competing for my attention. Neither cat is afraid of the dog – but Carmen worries about sister Lily.
There was some barking and chasing between Mox & Lily that resulted into running and skidding and crashing into the recycling bin. Which in the past would have ended badly because Carmen was having none of this Dog barking at Sister crap. But tonight? Carmen just looked on and then looked at me as if to say, “Hey, don’t I get some crunchy treats for not freaking out?!” (Which she got.)
And when the dog isn’t chasing Lily? Carmen is a sweetheart. (Which she always was – it’s good to have the sweetie cat here pretty much all the time.) She loves cuddles and pettins (on her terms of course) – but I no longer worry about her completely losing her shit to the point where I have to explain to a healthcare professional why I need antibiotics and a tetanus booster. Soothing words and crunchy foods take care of it when she gets stressed.
It is OK to give your pets meds for behaviour. Especially if it means you get to have those pets around longer – and without the behaviour issues. I have my sweet Carmen back because of meds. Had there been no pharmaceutical answer – I’m not sure I could say that – and not because I am lazy or impatient – but because while *I* could deal with her meltdowns up to a point – there are other people who also take care of her – and I can’t ask them to take on her mental issues. Now – when our beach trip petsitter showed up this summer to get the keys? Carmen ran across the kitchen to check her out and say Hello. So, yay for meds.
Without meds? I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving her with anyone. With meds? “Give meds and apply crunchy food liberally and all will be OK” – and it was.
They only look grumpy because I’m trying to take their photo – this was the snow day earlier this week and both decided that the back of the sofa was a great place.