Cats are some of the most laid back creatures on the planet. It's hard to imagine your carefree kitty stressing out, but it can happen. Anything from moving to a new house to loud noises or a strange cat outside the window can freak your kitty out, causing behavioral issues.
What is Paxil?
Paxil is the brand name for the drug paroxetine. It's actually an antidepressant drug used to treat humans, but veterinarians have started using it to treat cats and dogs with behavioral problems. Pet Place reports that paroxetine increases serotonin levels in the brain, assisting with communication between brain cells.
Uses for Cats
Paroxetine, or Paxil, has been found to be effective for treating stress in cats. If your kitty is feeling stressed, she will exhibit it through behaviors that you most likely find will unacceptable. Things like using your bed or your gym bag instead of the litter box, excessive and compulsive grooming to the point of hair loss, aggressiveness, fearfulness and loss of appetite all are signs that a cat is experiencing stress. Bring these behaviors to the attention of your vet instead of administering Paxil yourself. The vet will determine if there is an underlying medical issue first and, if stress is concluded to be the cause, he will prescribe the appropriate dosage of Paxil or other antidepressant, such as Prozac, as treatment for your kitty.
If your cat begins taking Paxil, there are some side effects that you should be aware of. Common side effects include increased thirst, decreased appetite, sluggishness and tremors. Pet Place also warns that some pets can suffer dry skin and digestive issues, like vomiting and diarrhea. Paxil can cause more severe, less common effects, like seizures, and should be used only with extreme care if your cat has a history of seizures. If your kitty is a senior citizen, or has a kidney or blood disorder, these conditions can be exacerbated by the drug, as well.
Helping Your Cat Deal
If you shy away from the idea of putting your feline friend on drugs, helping her deal with her stress may eliminate the need for medication. Vet Info recommends giving your kitty lots of love and attention, and being patient, introducing her to new situations gradually. Provide her with a "safe" place, somewhere she can hide out to get away from the cause of her stress. Natural oils and extracts can be effective in soothing an anxious kitty, and many pet supply stores carry these products formulated in sprays to relieve feline stress.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.