Sunday, January 15, 2012

Should your cat go on Prozac? | by Paulette Cooper & Paul Noble

Should your cat become part of the Prozac Nation? "I give cats Prozac for a number of reasons," says Dr. Steven Melman, sometimes jocularly called "The Pied Piper of Prozac for Pets."

He explained that cats are most often given Prozac for "obsessive-compulsive disorders, like when they pull their hair out for non-allergy reasons. With Prozac they often get better," says this veterinary dermatologist/behaviorist.

Cats, like people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, may have a need to do something several times in a row or in a certain way. But unlike people, they can't check a door five times after they go out to if it's locked.

But Prozac {fluoxetine} has been known to help cats' obsessive-compulsive behavior, such as biting themselves repeatedly in one spot, or related nipple, flank, or paw sucking.

Prozac also works for certain types of aggression as well as depression. "Cats become upset for various reasons. Say their families are breaking up, or their owner has a new boyfriend or girlfriend, is moving or whatever," says Melman, of the Animal Dermatology and Behavior Clinic in Maryland.

Since a cat can't directly tell you he's upset over these things, he may inappropriately urinate, defecate, or howl. "And Prozac may help with all of these," Dr. Melman stated.

Incidentally, if your cat is displaying these symptoms, and you're on Prozac, don't give your cat your medicine because the dosages are different. And if you're having a Prozac moment, don't take your cat's pill for the same reason.

© Daido Moriyama

Brian Walsh

"In life there are two compensations--Prozac and cats."