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Anxious cat - medicine?

Species: Cat
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Age: 2-5 years

My Cat Guen shows MANY attention seeking behaviors. She chews chords, shoes, pens, pencils, purses, razor guards, her cat bed and anything else that is slightly hard any lying around. I have had her teeth examined by my vet and they are in good health, but to make sure she is on tooth cleaning food (mixed with picky eater dry food becuase she gets sick of them quickly if only one is in her bowl at a time). We have tried Sour Apple, she continues to chew, we covered the chords in a plastic tubing, she has started chewing that. We have provided her with many toy mice and chew toys which she also chews to bits, but this doesn't stop the other behavior. If we leave string toys, or hair elastics out, she will steal and then chew on these and she even injested one once.

She needs our attention every second of the day while we are home. If you are on a lap top she pushes her head into your hand wanting to be petted, licks your hand or bites your hand gently. She licks my skin and face frequently, especially when I have just come home from being out. We play fetch with her almost every night, pet her constantly, cuddle and nuzzle her and talk with her frequently (she purs constantly while this happens). We have her chase bits of string...but after playing with her for an hour even, she will exibit the same needy behaviors. Or if we leave the room take of down like a rocket the hallway ahead of us cooing and making noises.

We cannot sleep without locking her in a room, becuase she jumps on our feet during the night or try to burrow under our covers, lick our face and hands or bite us to be petted. If we give in and pet her, she doesn't settle for more than a few minutes and is waking us again in 15. If we ignore this behavior trying to disuade it, she scratches at the closet to make noise and cries, if we move to get up to spray her with water, or tell her no she runs away like it is a game and is back 5 minutes later doing the same thing. If we shut her out of our room while we are inside at any time of the day, she sits outside and crys and then starts scratching at the door. Double sided tape on the back of the door and on the floor has not worked to keep her from doing this. The only thing that works is if someone goes and sleep on the couch with her, and allows her to wake you up from bouncing on you.

If my boyfriend and I are in seperate rooms where she cant be with both of us at once she cries or pesters one of us until we are back together. She will cry or sit outside the door when one of us is in the bathroom. She wants to be picked up every morning and carried around and cries and paws our legs until this occurs.

She beggs for food between feedings. She sratches certain pieces of furniture.

If I stay home all day and work from home, she is only slightly better in the evening...but the night behaviors occur no matter what we do, as does the chewing and scratching. (She will try and chew my laptop chord while I am typing, or put her head on my hand while typing trying to stop the movement and bite me if I dont)

She is a very social cat, even with new people or situations, she wants attention and will be held and petted by our guests, though large groups make her a bit "tweaked" and skittish. She often jumps on peoples shoulders or laps to recieve affection. She is very lovable and our friends all adore her. She is so cuddly and loving and you can tell she really loves us back, but it is almost like she loves us too much. She cant get enough.

She is a fully indoor cat that lives in our apartment. We do not put her on the balcony at all because we are 6th floor and there is no glass for her to see the height. We have perches for her to look out the window and we play with her as much as we can. I feel like her behaviors are from stress, she has had them all since she was a 5 month old kitten and we thought she would grow out of them, but they have all remained. She is now over 2 years old.

Is there any other option beside maybe getting her a second cat companion? Would cat grass help with the chewing? Should we take her out for daily walks (she has been once, it was neither a grand success or failure) else can we make her tired, consume her energy and stimilaute her, more than we are already doing? It seems like we already give her so much attention, but she just wants more and more.

Is this purhaps a psychological issue that may require medications?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that you are having this frustrating problem with your cat!

It sounds like Guen may be a good candidate for a medication such as amitryptiline or clomicalm. Cats tend to handle these medicines well and the medicines work really well for any anxiety related condition.

Another thing you may want to check out is the indoor cat initiative, which is a great website to help you find ideas for how to keep your cat occupied.

I think the walks outside are a great idea as well if she seems to enjoy them.

I hope this helps!

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.