Fluvoxamine (Luvox) given to an aggressive Maine Coon cat which cured him

Antidepressant given to a Maine Coon who was aggressive when he heard certain sounds
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I am reading a short summary on the treatment of an aggressive Maine Coon cat. The summary does not paint the entire picture which in one way makes it interesting and in another it makes it irritating. There are some holes in the story.

This is the story: a Maine Coon cat was being aggressive towards their owners. The cat was actually aggressive to other people but mainly the owners. But here’s the interesting part: the cat reacted towards “different, non-specific sounds with abrupt aggressive behaviour and injured the victims at this juncture with moderate scratching and biting.”

So, this Maine Coon cat was provoked into aggressive behaviour because of the sounds that he heard. Surely that requires deep investigation. It sounds to me as if he was suffering from quite a well-known condition called “feline audiogenic reflex seizures” (FARS). This is a condition which causes a cat to have seizures and behave strangely when they hear particular sounds like the crinkling of tinfoil or perhaps even plastic bags.

In my view, all domestic cats do not like sharp crinkling sounds from any source. The sound might not always produce a seizure which is very dramatic but it may produce behaviour which indicates a dislike of the sound and this prompts me to believe that this Maine Coon cat might have suffered from a lesser version of FARS but it is not mentioned in the summary to the study.

Putting that to one side for the moment, they tried to cure the cat with behaviour-modulating therapy. I guess that means they tried to train the problem out of the cat through classic positive reinforcement training.

It didn’t work. They decided on medication which was fluvoxamine, a well-known antidepressant for people. It is one of those selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

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In addition, they carried on with the behaviour therapy. The aggressive behaviour problem was resolved. It appears that it was entirely resolved although that isn’t stated.

In all, they administered fluvoxamine for 63 weeks and it was then discontinued by gradually reducing the dosage without a recurrence of the aggressive behaviour.

There were no side effects to the medication that were noted.

Study title: Treatment of inter-specific aggression in cats with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluvoxamine. A case report.

Link to study: https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0038-1623668

Comment: why give a cat a long-term antidepressant when he was not depressed and why not simply protect him from the sounds that upset him? That would have resolved the behaviour problem immediately without drugs, which should always be avoided if possible as all drugs are essentially poisons.

3 thoughts on “Fluvoxamine (Luvox) given to an aggressive Maine Coon cat which cured him”

  1. Nothing. His mother was thrown away our here a week before she had him and his 3 siblings. His siblings are still here. When I took them to get spayed and neutered that’s when I made the decision to put him in the barn cat program. I figure with his aggression he’d make a good ratter and mouser because he was that territorial. He made everyone miserable, but he never attacked me, he was a sweetheart just hated the rest of the world. I hated doing it and felt guilty but he got picked for a farm and would be the only cat.

  2. Wish I had known about fluvoxamine last spring when I sent a beautiful long hair black male to the shelter for their barn cat program. His violence destroyed the peace here. First it only attacked outside cats who came to eat but then he started attacking all the cats here. I tried everything to get him to stop but when he began attacking inside the house I was done with him. His last attack left a 4 pound chihuahua with a eye injury that cost me $200. at the vets. Once he was gone peace settled over the kingdom again. 🙂

    • I always find it interesting when a cat is aggressive or violent for no apparent reason. My theory is that there is always a reason there somewhere. You just have to find it. Although Jackson would say that some cats are simply mentally disturbed and the only way to cure them of their aggression is to give them antidepressants or tranquilizers designed for humans by the way but I guess in much smaller quantities. Is there anything about this cat that you know which might have caused his violent behaviour? Was he a rescue cat in the first place with an unknown history?


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