Is it wise and sensible to use Prozac for cat aggression? It just might be as a last resort but there are many boxes to tick beforehand.
The first question to ask is what does Prozac do? We know it is used a lot by people and in general terms it is described as a “mood enhancer”. It elevates the mood of a person. It is a treatment for depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). It can also be prescribed for the eating disorder, bulimia nervosa.
Prozac is not prescribed for people who are aggressive! I believe that this is a point worth making. On that argument alone it would seem that Prozac is unsuited to treat cats who are deemed aggressive.
Also, Prozac doesn’t always work well in people. Although there are obviously many success stories because the drug is a commercial success. That said people will tend to lean on drug solutions rather than other more difficult non-drug solutions.
It seems to have worked best for people with anxiety and depression.
Prozac has many potential side-effects, which are easy to look up and the drug companies tend to list everything to cover their backs. You have to set the potential side-effects against potential benefits.
I see little connection between cat aggression and the sort of conditions for which Prozac is prescribed. Is there a connection? There is no obvious connection between depression and aggression.
I suppose the connection is this: an anxious cat will be more frightened and possibly defensively aggressive. If the reason why a cat is aggressive is because she is anxious the answer is to build up the cat’s confidence. This can be done by removing environmental factors that might make her anxious, being loving towards her and play gently with her etc.. It takes patience and time which may be a reason why a cat owner wants a more instant solution.
The way drugs deal with cat aggression is to sedate the cat. That can turn a cat into a sort of zombie. I have seen this in people. You can sometimes tell when a person is on anti-depressants. They have this glazed-over appearance.
As cats are good snoozers and “out of the way”, minding their own business, it could be difficult to tell if the drug has zonked her out and sedated her to the point where you no longer have the cat you want.
One of the side-effects of Prozac is drowsiness which would remove aggression in a crude way. Another side-effect is nervousness and confusion. If that happened it would not help an anxious cat. It would not be a solution to cat aggression.
Are people who prescribe Prozac for cat aggression saying that their cat is depressed and therefore aggressive? That doesn’t make sense to me and I don’t think cat owners think like that. All they see is an aggressive cat and a desire that their cat becomes less aggressive. The solution is often not in drugs but in what the person is doing and the environment they have created.
My conclusion is that Prozac is not good for aggression in cats. Prozac is recommended for elimination disorders in cats, not aggression.
So what do the vets prescribe if all the boxes have been ticked and drugs are the last resort?
“Behavior drugs” should be prescribed by a vet. Progesterones, Megace and Provera (USA) calm cats. They can modify behavior. The effects, with repect to sexual behavior, is like neutering a male cat. There are serious side effects and they are no longer recommended but are sometimes used for short periods.
I don’t see any drugs for cats that are commonly prescribed for cat aggression which reinforces my argument that the cure for cat aggression is not permanent sedation but an analysis of causes one of which is poor socialisation and the other is the environment in which the cat finds himself.