The Effects of Prozac Given to Cats

by Jane Meggitt, Demand Media Google
    Not only did I stop spraying, but I'm so much calmer!

    Not only did I stop spraying, but I'm so much calmer!

    Prozac is not just for people. Your vet might prescribe this well-known antidepressant for Kitty under the name Reconcile if he's exhibiting certain inappropriate behaviors. Such behaviors include separation anxiety, urine-spraying, self-mutilation, aggression and other things you don't want him doing.

    Fluoxetine Hydrochloride

    Prozac is the brand name of fluoxetine hydrochloride, marketed as Reconcile for dogs and cats. It's a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI. The drug works by making the cat's brain produce additional serotonin, which enhances Kitty's well-being. If your vet prescribes the medication because Kitty is spraying urine, he'll do so only after conducting tests to make sure the reason for the behavior is emotional and not physical. Prozac helps not medical problems but only those behaviors related to stress and anxiety on Kitty's part.

    Side Effects

    Cats taking fluoxetine hydrochloride might experience some side effects. Kitty might start meowing a lot, a side effect that might be as bad as or worse than the behavior you're trying to stop. He might also lose his appetite, tremble, become restless or lethargic, or have difficulty breathing. Initial doses, given by mouth, might make him throw up or experience diarrhea. Some cats may become aggressive or appear constantly annoyed. If that's the case, speak to your vet about continuing the medication. Accidental overdoses might result in seizures. Call the vet at once if Kitty consumes too much cat prozac.

    Marking Behavior

    You probably think it's cute when Kitty rubs his head along the walls or furniture. It is cute, but he's not doing it for attention. He's leaving behind chemicals called pheromones to mark his territory. Male cats also spray urine to mark territory -- nobody thinks that's cute. Neutering the cat usually stops the behavior, but not always. If the vet can't find a physical problem, the marking is probably stress-related. Fluoxetine hydrochloride helps many cats stop spraying, usually after taking the drug for several weeks. It doesn't work with all cats, and some cats resume spraying once they're off the medication. However, for some cats, a couple of months of taking the SSRI ends spraying permanently.

    Contraindications

    Some cats shouldn't take this medication. Don't give it to pregnant or nursing cats. If Kitty has a history of kidney or liver disease, Reconcile is off-limits. The drug might interact with other drugs, so make sure your vet knows all of Kitty's current medications, including those you purchase over the counter.

    About the Author

    Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.

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