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C2005-19

Dear Christopher Cat

My cat Simba used to spray urine in the house, against the walls and doors. After a thorough work-up, my veterinarian diagnosed behavioral marking.

Treatment with Prozac for one month was effective. After the Prozac was discontinued, however, Simba started marking again. Can anything else be done?

Christopher Responds

Let your veterinarian know what’s going on, because more can be done to address Simba’s problem.

Regular readers know that I am as perfect as any cat can get. But for Simba’s sake, I must confess that I once had a problem like his.

The cure for me was several months of drug therapy – “happy pills,” my mom called them. The solution for Simba might be that simple.

A report in the February 2005 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association documented the increased effectiveness of medications for urinary marking over longer treatment times.

The study compared fluoxetine (the generic name for Prozac) and clomipramine (Clomicalm) in cats with urinary marking behavior. Researchers found the drugs worked equally well, and that efficacy improved after eight weeks of therapy.

Moreover, a second course of treatment was as effective as the first.

Therefore, your veterinarian might recommend restarting the Prozac and continuing it longer this time. If that doesn’t work, an alternative medication may be effective.

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