An Anxious Cat with a belly ache

Care for the Behavior & the Physical Pain

Daffodil (not his real name) is a cat who complained so much and so loudly his owners could hardly talk over the din or sleep through the night. He followed one of them constantly but hissed at the other four household cats. He demanded food often but would eat only a little and then lobby hard for more.

Daffodil also had a long history of diarrhea and painful vomiting. A change in diet brought an end to his physical symptoms but sharing a home with a gaggle of cats he didn’t even like, little privacy, no hobbies or real job prospects and he was still unhinged.

Scolding Daffodil and squirting him with water made no difference; instead we substituted a normal feline behavior for the nagging. I told his owners to ignore his demands and make survival more challenging by squirreling away his chow in food toys and puzzles. He would forage alone in another room until he was sated and relaxed and then rejoin the group. The addition of a floor-to-ceiling cat tree located against a window allowed Daffodil and his homies to engage in yet another natural feline endeavor: menacing helpless outdoor creatures from a lofty perch.

There was more; whenever Daffodil’s favorite person arrived home he was especially loud and clingy. To avoid damaging their bond I instructed his person to never punish her not-so-secret admirer but to reliably engage him in one-on-one play at about the same time every day. Supervised outings to the backyard helped the kid expand his world.

Medication also made a difference. Daily Reconcile (fluoxetine) helped reduce Daffodil’s anxiety. Anxitane (l-theanine) at bedtime made it easier for him to wind down and sleep through the night. Now the whole family feels better. Daffodil has even been seen sleeping with his buds.