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C2009-07

Dear Christopher Cat

My 4-year-old neutered cat, Slick, is timid and urinates outside his litter box.

After his veterinarian ruled out a urinary tract infection, she prescribed Valium and Cosequin. They weren’t effective, and now she’s recommending Prozac.

My friend suggested hormone therapy, which made her cat more docile and helped him use his litter box again. What do you think of hormone therapy?

Christopher Responds

Medications that mimic the hormone progesterone, such as megestrol (Ovaban), are considered a last resort because they can cause serious side effects.

Cats treated with progesterone-like hormones are at risk of weight gain, diabetes, adrenal gland suppression, mammary masses, liver damage, cancer and loss of the bone marrow’s ability to make blood cells.

Furthermore, males may retain urine, predisposing them to urinary blockage.

Thus, a behavioral medication to address Slick’s anxiety and inappropriate urination is safer and more likely to be effective than a hormone. If fluoxetine (the generic name of Prozac) doesn’t work after a couple of months, ask for a referral to a veterinarian who specializes in feline behavior problems.

In addition, make sure your home environment encourages Slick to use the litter box.

You should have one more litter box than the number of cats in your family. Station boxes in quiet areas on all floors of your home.

For additional ideas, visit our Web site, www.askthevetspets.com, and peruse the index to my columns.

 

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