Cat Prozac

Cat Prozac

by Michael
(London, UK)

The contented face of a cat called PROZAC - photo by tocas (Flickr - see base of page for link)

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The contented face of a cat called PROZAC - photo by tocas (Flickr - see base of page for link)

Am I being silly when I say I am concerned about the trend towards giving cats and dogs Prozac? I mean Prozac wasn't heard of until fairly recently and now it seems almost as if it is a mainstream way of treating a cat or dog with "behavioral problems". Are these cat problems or are they our problems? Is behavior that is unacceptable to us due to something that we are doing or is the cause due to "mental illness" in the cat. Is this being checked out before the drug is prescribed? Forgive me for questioning or being a bit unbelieving but this smacks a bit of the veterinarian easy money packaged treatment syndrome along the lines of if your cat comes for a vaccination we will neuter and declaw at the same time for a nice discount.

If the cat is behaving crazy by our standards, give it some Prozac, quieten it down, make it more pliable, content and accepting - is that the way it is? Is this the right way to go? Is this an easy route for us and a commercial route for the vets, or is this a genuinely good thing for cats and dogs? Apparently 8% of dogs suffer from canine compulsive disorder.

I am prompted to write this because in the paper today (Sunday Times 21-2-2010), there is a story about the launch of the dog version of this well known anti-depressant drug and it will soon be available in Britain. What is available for dogs will soon be available for cats. (Note: human and cat/dog Prozac is not interchangeable so please do not give your cat your pills!)

For dogs it will be used to treat a canine compulsive disorder in which "faulty genes" and stress combine resulting in excessive licking, whimpering and tail chasing. There are feline equivalents such as feline hyperesthesia and cats also chase tails etc.

The drug for dogs is called "Reconcile" and it comes in the form of a chewy beef flavoured tidbit. Trials of "mentally disturbed" pets resulted in improvements after eight weeks. The drug maker, Eli Lilly has been granted a license by Britain's Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

The big problem is this. Drug manufacturers are in big business. In my opinion, they can or they tend to create new markets by creating illnesses out of normal characteristics albeit unwelcome ones, or what appears to be strange behavior. In short the administering of dog or cat Prozac is promoted by big business. Is that the platform upon which veterinarians acting independently should diagnose and treat? The other problem is that often veterinarians are looking to make more money as well. They are, after all, in business too.

Dr. Steven Melman, of the Animal Dermatology and Behavior Clinic in Maryland says that it can be given for depressed cats. He also says that he treats cats for obsessive compulsive disorders with Prozac. I wonder if these people are looking into the cause of obsessive compulsive disorders, thoroughly, before prescribing it. I suppose they are but it seems to me that the harder but better course of action is to physically remove the cause if that is possible. Is there research on this?

a cat called Prozac
Another cat called Prozac

Prozac (immediately above) lives with other 15 cats. She's called Prozac simply because she's not quite the full shilling after a litter of kittens died in her womb and she had to have emergency surgery. Ahh..I am sad for her. Are there any other cats called Prozac out there?!

Back to more serious a case of cat being bullied (by other cats), reported in the Daily Mail (30-1-2007), Prozac was prescribed with success. Perhaps Prozac can be useful.

Conclusion on cat Prozac

When the patient cannot talk and express themselves to aid diagnosis and where there is financial profit and expediency in prescribing an easy fix such a cat Prozac, I fear it may be over prescribed to the detriment of the patient - our cats.

What do you think?

Michael Avatar

Link to photo on Flickr

Cat Prozac to Cat News

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Cat Prozac

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Oct 30, 2010 To Teresa
by: Barbara

You poor soul,sometimes it seems you can't do right for doing wrong. I had to chuckle a bit when you said hubby said no, then the next thing the two cats were back home with you, good for you. Anyway for what it's worth and I'll probably get shot down in flames for this opinion, but I couldn't care less. If I was you I'd tell the rescue organisation to shove the kitty prozac where the sun doesn't shine and I'd take a chance on letting Simon out when he desperately wants to go. Yes accidents happen to cats, they happen to people too and it's tragic when they do BUT as a human or if I'd been born a cat I would far, far rather take my chance and live my life to the full than be a frustrated, miserable basket case incarcerated day after long boring day for the rest of my possibly long but definitaly wearying life and feeling like something from another planet through the effects of drugs.
I wonder if you can let him out when he's hungry so he comes home for food, and only let him out early in the day so that hopefully he's safely home by nightfall. I know you'll never know a moment's peace of mind when he's out and about but I shouldn't think you do now anyway when he is so distressed.
Good luck, whatever you decide I'm sure it'll be for the best of reasons, but please don't drug Simon for only wanting what we as humans have and take for granted - our freedom.

Barbara avatar

Oct 29, 2010 Don't know what to do about my cat
by: Teresa

I rescued 2 male cats last year whose owners had abandoned them after 6 years. They were still living alone at their house using the kitty door. I drove over everyday & fed them on their front porch for 6 months. I also found the owner who told me they'd been indoor/outdoor cats the entire 6 years. I do cat volunteer work, so I love animals. I wanted to take them home, but hubby said no--we already have 2 indoor female cats. So, I placed them in an adoption center for 4 months, but they didn't get adopted. I couldn't bear seeing them locked up, so I brought them home. There was a 3 or 4 month adjustment period with our other cats, which we got through, but these guys were used to going in and out of the house. And they couldn't adjust to being confined. They cried constantly & started spraying everywhere. I tried everything, but everytime we opened a door, they tried to get out. So, I spent $850 building a beautiful cattery/sanctuary on the side of my home for the boys. It's 8 ft wide x 32 ft long, and has everything a cat could ever want. They liked it, and would go out there several times a day, but still cried all the time, wanting to go outside. I finally got them microchipped, registered, and let them out into our cat-friendly neighborhood. 1 cat is quite happy hanging around on our property. He comes in and out all night and day. But the 2nd cat wanders, although he always came home at night or the next morning. Then, he disapeared for 4 long days, but Thank God we found him 3 blocks away at his original home. When Simon saw us, he came to us immediately when we called him. We could tell he hadn't eaten, so we took him home. He's been confined for 8 weeks now--we only let him out into the cat enclosure when he wants out. At times, he likes it, but every single day and night, he walks around the house crying loudly, and begging us to let him out. He gets upset, and sprays onto some tinfoil we put up on the front of our tv armoir to catch the urine. He's learned not to spray anywhere else, and only sprays in that 1 area when he's upset that we won't let him run free. My rescue organization wants me to put him on kitty Prozac, but I can't bear taking away his quality of life by keeping him safe but mentally zoned out all day, as compared to taking the chance of letting him out everyday. I'm trying to weigh things out, but I don't know what to do. Can anyone give me some advice or some input?

Jul 15, 2010 Cats on Prozac
by: Kim in Virginia

Hey, I'm not thrilled about putting my Toby on Prozac, but after dealing with his territorial spraying in my house over the past few years (and yes, he's been fixed), I was at my wit's end. My carpet was smelling like a urinal. We tried Feliway, we tried new litter, we tried the animal behaviorist. Nothing worked.

Feb 24, 2010 The second Prozac
by: Babz

I love that litle cat, she lives next door with our cat rescuing friend. Prozac is such a gentle little soul and is happy on her own planet, she loves kisses on top of her head and to settle on knees and anchor herself there with her claws, it's a good job she wasn't born in the US, whoever had her there might not have liked those anchors.

Barbara avatar

Feb 23, 2010 Continued use is abuse
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Although Prozac probably is less harmful to humans than the earlier benzodiazepines, it is still an adictive antidepressant and often causes severe withdrawal symptoms. It's hard enough for humans to quit mood changing drugs, but an animal has no way of dealing with these symptoms.
Drugging your animal may be an easy solution for New Years Eve, but continued use is abuse!

Finn Frode avatar

Feb 22, 2010 Chemicals
by: Babz

I wouldn't give a cat of mine anything like this, I remember when Prozac came out it was seen as the solution to depression, the next thing we knew it was making people have suicidal thoughts. Imagine being an animal and bombarded with chemicals, feeling like hell and not being able to tell anybody! If the poor creatures weren't neurotic to start with they certainly would be when the side effects kicked in.

Barbara avatar

Feb 22, 2010 A cat behavioural book I'd recommend
by: Ruth

A very good book is by a lady in the USA:
'Cat Be Good' by Annie Bruce. She sent me copies for our 'anti declaw troops' when we 'met' in our united fight against declawing so we could understand the USA culture better.
She is a lady who knows all there is to know about cats.Her web site is:
I'd certainly recommend her book to anyone.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 22, 2010 Bob talks sense
by: Ruth

Bob you talk such a lot of sense ! How I agree with all you say !
Yes there are many people who own cats, who shouldn't be let within a mile of them, they know nothing about them and can't even be bothered to learn. Yet they air their 'knowledge' to anyone who will listen to them.
My heart aches every day for all the cats kept as 'possessions' or 'status symbols' instead of being allowed to live a cat's life.
Your cats are obviously happy cats, just like ours are.
Some people think a cat should be grateful to be given a home at any cost to the cat (such as declawing)but to me we are the ones who should be grateful for having such beautiful companions in our lives.
I'm glad I'm retired now from vet nursing as it does seem to be all about money with most vets.
In my day the animals came first !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 22, 2010 Cats are just Cats!!!
by: Bob

That is why they are the way they are. Unwanted behavior in most cases is likely normal "cat behavior" that the owners simply don't understand. There are things my cats do that I can't understand, but I would never think of drugging them! For instance, my cats have a filtered water fountain, and all of them drink from it normally except Junior. He climbs on top of it, hangs his head over, and drinks upside down. No idea why, but I take comfort in knowing that HE knows why he does it. My cats run around my house like maniacs all the time. It's called playing... we all did it as children. I take pride in knowing that my cats will remain youthful their entire lives. Sure, I can't have anything breakable around for decoration. But what's more fun... a bunch of crazed kitties chasing each other and playing through the house or a knick knack?

The problem is that there are people who own cats that probably shouldn't. They don't take the time to understand their pets and this either causes the undesirable behavior in the animals or it causes the human to see problems that aren't there. So then they take their pets to the veterinarian who is supposed to have the animal's health and well being at heart, but in reality is more concerned with making the next payment on his new Jaguar. I am not referring to all vets, as there are many who truly do care more about the animals than the money. But Michael is correct, the vets who are out for money and the drug companies don't see past their bottom lines. Your cat is tearing up your furniture? "Bring him in, we'll declaw him. It's an outpatient procedure, he won't feel a thing, and the problem will be solved". Afterwards, the same cat stops using the litter box, hides from his humans, and seems depressed. "No problem, we'll just prescribe some medication, and he'll be good as new". So the vet makes out on a mutilating that was never necessary, and when the cat behaves in a manner that is normal for an animal who was betrayed and mutilated by the very humans he trusted, the vet makes out again on the medication. If you own a cat, you've made a commitment. You must now care for and look after that animal as if it were your child. If your son or daughter showed signs of odd behavior, you wouldn't just drug them, you'd try to understand what the problem was. And most of the time, childrens' problems stem from their parents. Coincidence? Probably not.

Feb 21, 2010 No WAY!
by: Joyce Sammons

That would take all of the fun out of watching a cat play. What fun is a drugged cat. I love to watch Furby play 'spider monkey' on the couch. He can go sideways all the say across the back cushion at about 100 miles an hour. Then he bounces to the other couch and runs along the back. Then he jumps into his chair(after jumping OVER my head), across the bar to the floor then up onto the counter with the mirror. Wish I could get it in a movie but he's too fast for me. Drugs would take all that away.

Isn't it OK for a cat to be a cat? Apparently not.

I do know I've read up on dog vs. cat meds. For a bellyache a dog can have Pepto Bismol but a cat can't. A cat would have to take Immodium. A vet told me cats body systems are TOTALLY different than dogs. You can't just say "Oh well, my dog took it so my cat can take it too"

Feb 21, 2010 Ruth and Jackie
by: Dorothy

Jackie thanks for the book recommendation. Can't wait to read it. Ruth I agree with you wholeheartedly. Dogs get squirrely because they don't have owners that understand them. They need exercise and attention. Not Prozac. Cats? They are their own masters. A little neurosis doesn't kill a beast.

Walter is a good teacher.

However, this picture Michael. One in a million. I can think of a thousand captions for that face. Indeed.


Feb 21, 2010 Drugs are not good
by: Ruth

I agree with you Michael.
A certain cat behavioural therapist recommended Prozac for Walter,one of our cats,a few years ago,as he had anxiety after he'd been unwell,also lost a dearly loved human family member and had to accept another adult cat into our home too.
She blithely said for the first few weeks he would be totally zonked out while we got the dosage right !
Having had a very bad reaction to Seroxat myself, a similar drug to Prozac,when I had been depressed after an earlier family bereavement,I didn't want to put him at risk of how truly awful I'd felt.
I don't think it's fair to force a powerful drug with probable side effects on a cat!
With lots of loving care and understanding Walter recovered and only has his anxiety at stressful times.
I really think it's too easy nowadays to give animals more and more chemicals,instead of looking for other solutions and only using drugs as a last resort.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 21, 2010 A book instead of...?
by: Jackie

There is a wonderful book: Cat confidential, written by Vicky Halls, who deals with all sorts of strange catbehaviour. Maybe worth while reading instead of feeding cats with easy,chemical options?
Just an idea. I loved the book and ok, results may take abit longer, but, hey, if you love your cat, it's worth it.

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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