A cat’s journey from anxiety and fear to calm and happiness

Today, Booker is a happy cat. It even took some medication (I guess tranquillisers) to make him happy which is sad. But the overriding ‘treatment’ was, and still is, tons of love and gentle care from a really good woman, Julia.

This cat story is really about rehabilitation and the two extremes of cat ownership that we sometimes encounter in cat stories. Booker spent half his life in shelters where he was almost unadoptable. He had become too anxious and fearful. His past was one of abuse and abandonment.

Booker was destined for euthanasia only he ended up in a no-kill shelter: Dane County Friends of Ferals.

Booker a traumatised cat rehabilitated by love
Booker a traumatised cat rehabilitated by love
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

It seems that Julia saw him online and drove across the state to meet him. She says that it was love at first sight. She took him home. A real home where he was really loved. A home he would not be thrown out of.

Julia adopted Booker around 6 months ago and she says that he has been coming out of his shell more and more. This is the rehabilitation of a loving, calm home.

Initially he would have panic attacks. He would be in sheer terror and would scream. Can you imagine that? This cat was seriously traumatised. Julia said that he’d flail around and urinate all over the place. He was unapproachable. He’d hide for hours under the bed. At this point the vet prescribed medication for his anxiety. Needs must I guess.

It is interesting to note that the first chosen calming medication caused nasty side effects. His toes itched and he’d rub them against the floor until they bled. The second choice medicine worked much better and proved effective.

Today, Booker is more confident. The fear and anxiety has subsided. Personally, I would hope that he can come of the tranquillisers at some time in the not to distant future.  Perhaps he already is of them but I doubt it.

Booker a traumatised cat rehabilitated by love
Booker a traumatised cat rehabilitated by love

He is playful and affectionate. Confidence brings these qualities which are desired by human companions. Julia says he follows her around (“he’s my little shadow”). He falls asleep next to her nightly. And Julia makes the tender, and emotionally enlightened remark, that “He rescued me more than I rescued him”.

The pet food manufacturer Solid Gold who provided this story say that he is the happiest cat you’ve ever seen.

3 thoughts on “A cat’s journey from anxiety and fear to calm and happiness”

  1. Or was he given Baytril at some point? I know I see it everywhere because it happened to me through the human equivalent of that poison masquerading as medicine, but quinolones can cause long lasting and severe psychiatric symptoms in both humans and animals because they damage the parasympathetic nervous system. When “rest and digest” stops working what you have left are fear, anxiety, anger, agitation and a sensation that your very life is in danger when nothing is wrong, nothing is happening.

    A cat reacting that violently just out of nowhere– maybe his past was that bad. But it seems like animals adapt and get over things like that quicker than humans. They live in the now, and they don’t worry about the future. Hence my concern that his autonomic nervous system had actually been damaged– which can happen two ways, generally– a head injury or an injury from a pharmaceutical. My guess is there was some type of injury to his brain, not just anxiety because of what he went through.

    What is sad is that drugs like Baytril when given to animals constitute abuse, and they are given by those who love their pets. However, the side effects can absolutely result in behavior like what this cat demonstrated. To me that is even more sad than if this cat’s brain injury came from blunt force trauma to his head inflicted by someone who hated him. What if it all started by his brain being damaged by Baytril by people who actually loved him, but then could not handle him?

    Don’t confuse side effects of a medication (usually short lived) with the brain damage drugs like Baytril can inflict. I am three years past taking Cipro and recently had a relapse so profound I had to miss a day of work because the slightest stimulation was making my heart race and my blood pressure sky rocket. For a solid month I was like that, with ever worsening intensity. Never had issues like that prior to Cipro.

    I was just told by a doctor I trust that those symptoms will likely cycle for the rest of my life. So when I see an animal with an obviously damaged brain I do wonder if the damage came via pharmaceuticals. I can’t help it because I am a human damaged by pharmaceuticals. I hate that they had to put him on tranquilizers. Those aren’t great for our brains either, but if he is getting some relief it may be the best option in a bad situation.


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