|Purred: Wed Mar 14, '12 9:38am PST |
I'm posting about my kitty, Dylan. Dylan is a little over 8 years old, neutered, strictly indoor. I found him on the street when he was a kitten and I was in college. I kept him secretly in my college apartment for my senior year and then moved to Oregon with him. We've lived all over the place, and he is definitely a cat who has been with me through thick and thin. The problem is this:
When he was around 2, he went...for lack of a better term..."'round the twist." I was in my apartment doing dishes. I dropped a pan on the floor, and Dylan totally lost it. Hissing, growling, screaming, yowling...and then he attacked. He bit and clawed my legs, arms, and hands. I still have the scars. There was blood everywhere, and I had to lock myself in my bathroom. Shortly after this incident, he would have "episodes" where he would suddenly attack himself--his tail, mainly. He tore the end off of his own tail, and at that point, I took him to the vet. She was a cats-only vet, and she diagnosed him with Feline Hypersthesia. She put him on clomipramine. The meds seemed to help, and I reduced his dose (per her instructions) to see if he could be less doped up and still be on an even keel. Around this time, I got a kitten (Chaplin) because I was working long hours and Dylan seemed lonely. He LOVED Chaplin, almost to the point of obsession, and seemed very happy to have a friend around. About a year after his diagnosis, my boyfriend moved in with me, and things started to get crazy again. Dylan would not only have completely bizarre reactions to loud noises, we would also wake in the middle of the night to find him sitting on the bed, growling and hissing. He lit into my boyfriend in the middle of the night once, grabbing a hold of his scalp and tearing his hair out. It was really, really terrible.
I upped his dose of clomipramine again and things went back to relative normal. He would still have minor episodes here and there, but they always dissipated quickly.
Four years ago, I moved to Kentucky with my boyfriend. At this point, we added a third cat (a female), who Dylan also fell in love with. Things were good until my boyfriend and I broke up. Dylan didn't take well to the change and, for some reason, became very protective of the female cat (her name is Screamer...long story). When I started dating someone else, he would go psycho every time the guy picked Screamer up. Screamer loves to be held, but she always "screams" (meows) when you pick her up...and Dylan was convinced my boyfriend was hurting her. It got to the point where he didn't even have to touch Screamer...Dylan would just go ballistic upon seeing my boyfriend. A year after we started dating, we decided to move in together, and I went to the vet about trying a different medication a couple months prior to the move. He put Dylan on amytriptyline. It definitely made Dylan dopey and sleepy at first, but it also made him much less aggressive. As he got used to the medicine, he became less dopey and just more chilled out. The only time he has had episodes lately is when my mother comes to visit. He hates her...though I'm not sure why. Otherwise, he's been fine. He takes 5 mg. once a day, and has been doing pretty fine on it until this morning...this morning, my boyfriend yelled at Screamer to get down off the kitchen counter and smacked the fly swatter on the wall to startle her. In startling Screamer, he made Dylan angry, and Dylan went into all-out crazy mode. I gave him a double dose of his pill (he uses pill pockets...otherwise, it would have been impossible) and herded him into the living room. I shut the door and have left him in there all morning to let him cool off (a recommended process with hypersensitive cats).
I'm so scared this is going to set off another chain of attacks/lashing out events. I love Dylan, I really, really do...but I'm at my wit's end. When he does this, I feel like I'm a prisoner in my own house, and I know my boyfriend isn't too keen on it, either. Does ANYONE else out there have a cat with these issues? Is there something else I need to be doing?? We already walk on eggshells for the most part. We're very careful not to make loud noises or startling movements, but sometimes, we're human and we forget.
I've considered switching to something like Blue Buffalo...but I know that this disorder is very much a mental illness, and I'm not sure if a diet change would help. Right now, they eat Iams Urinary Tract formula, because Chaplin is prone to crystals and blockages.
If anyone has any experience with this, I'd be so grateful to hear from you. Right now, I'm just sad and scared and feeling like I'm out of solutions. Thanks for any advice you can offer.
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