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For about 7 months now my 14yr old male tabby has been

Customer Question
Hi for about 7...

Hi for about 7 months now my 14yr old male tabby has been overly vocal. Over the last 3 years we have lost his litter mate brother another male and this past summer we lost another male cat to cancer and then just this New Years a female boxer also to cancer. He has been to the vet and checked from top to bottom They even put him on Prozac which did nothing but make him mad and cause him to defecate outside his box. I took him off the meds and the litter box habits went back to normal. He is only quiet when he is physically on top of me.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the tabby's name?

Louie

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Louie?

He has lately developed scabs mostly on back legs and tail and just yesterday I found one close to his left eye. Nothing bloody just hard little scabs. We do not have fleas

Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Cat
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Answered in 22 minutes by:
3/14/2018
Cat Vet: CalCatDoc, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago
CalCatDoc
CalCatDoc, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 608
Experience: I'm a veterinarian specializing in cats and have owned cats for 35 years. I love all things feline!
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Hi!I'mCustomerand I can help with your question.

Is Louie your only remaining pet at this point?

If not, how many dogs/cats other than him are in the home, and their ages?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
he is the only one now
Cat Vet: CalCatDoc, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago

Poor Louie! Not the least of his problems is that he is almost certainly lonely and bored due to the loss of all his companions except for his human(s).

How many humans in his home? Do they work outside the home so he is alone for prolonged periods?

Also, regarding the skin issue - do you feed him any foods with any kind of fish on the ingredient list?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I work outside the home. My partner works from home and is quiet most the day until I return home then it begins
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
It seems worse when my attention is not on him ie phone calls, checking electronics, talking to my partner or others when they visit
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Wet food with fish has been the only flavor he is interested in
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
He also eats little dry food. Blue buffalo for years and just 2 months ago I switched him to hills science diet in hopes he would eat that better and it has not helped
Cat Vet: CalCatDoc, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago

Well it's not rare for elderly cats to experience some cognitive decline over time, and also not rare for them to start to lose their hearing. So they become confused and disoriented easily, and can't hear how loud their voice has become. A typical scenario is for the old cat to make a lot of noise off in the living room after you go to bed. They just don't understand where everybody went.

Even with younger,healthier cats, if they lose a buddy they have had a long time, it's been my personal experience that can get extremely clingy and demanding due to loneliness and boredom. My solution has always been to get another cat to give them something else to focus on instead of their person. Not necessarily a young kitten, though that might work for him. Probably another male, young adult, would be compatible with him.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
His hearing is def not a problem. As he can hear me from the 3rd floor when I come home.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
A new companion is not an option at the moment as we will be moving out of state in the next 8 months and I do not want to stress somebody new so soon to them coming into a new environment plus this all started way before we lost the 2 babies recently
Cat Vet: CalCatDoc, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago

Well I really only ever see the skin problem with the itching, fur loss, overgrooming, and scabby bumps that we call miliary dermatitis under two main circumstances:

1) Flea bite allergy - can happen with a single flea bite, so the cat doesn't "look" like it has fleas. The only satisfactory treatment for this is Advantage II topical since nothing else kills the fleas before they have a chance to even bite.

2) Food allergy - and the #1 culprit by far is fish. And tuna is the worst offender. So it would be wise to avoid not just fish flavor (front of the can) but any fish in the ingredient list (back of the can, microscopic print). Same goes for dry food. Medication for the itching can help temporarily but only if fish is taken off the menu. You can't keep feeding the fish and expect the problem to respond to medication. When changing dry food, do it gradually over a 2-3 week period by mixing the two together to improve acceptance.

~~~~~~

There is an OTC nutraceutical called Zylkene that might just be the ticket for him. It is used for calming kitties. I don't have a lot of experience with it, but there doesn't seem to be a down side.

I know you had a negative experience with Prozac, but another anti-anxiety medication called buspirone (Buspar) might help. It helps to de-stress them and is also my go-to drug for inappropriate urination so it's unlikely to cause litter box issues.

You can also get some of those plug-in pheromone diffusers made by Feliway/Comfort Zone. They also help with stress.

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Cat Vet: CalCatDoc, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago

Sometimes it becomes worthwhile to consult in the home with a board-certified veterinary behavioral specialist.

But before you go to such expense, you might do what you can to enrich his environment. Leaving a radio on in the home (turned low but audible to him) can help him feel less alone. Leaving a used article of your clothing on the floor for him to lay on can also comfort.

In addition, take a look at how you respond to his behavior and think about whether or not it might accidentally be reinforcing his behavior rather than deterring it.

I'm going to look around for some links to behavior tips for you.

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Cat Vet: CalCatDoc, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago

Oh, and cat TV is a thing. Videos, too.

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Cat Vet: CalCatDoc, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago

Here

Best Friends has a couple pages on enrichment

Enrichment for older pets

Ohio State's resources

These should help you get started.

Please let me know if you have additional questions or need clarification. I'll be available on and off throughout the day.

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Cat Vet: CalCatDoc, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago

Have you been able to try any of the tips or suggestions?

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