Thursday, December 26, 2013

We wish you a Merry Christmas ...

So, Colleen is starting to calm down a little bit.  Not that you'd notice if you didn't interact with her everyday.  The first week or so on fluoxetine was a little rocky.  She got more aggressive in the beginning.  Now, she's down to hissing with occasional spitting (sounds like a weather forecast).

In case you are interested in what I face each time I enter their den, here's a little video.  Sorry it's so dark, but they are black kitties in a dark shower stall.

Fun, huh?


Thursday, December 19, 2013

One Week - Time to Upset Her Apple Cart

It's been a week on fluoxetine (kitty-Prozac) for Colleen.  As the time passes, she seems to be getting more and more annoyed with her situation.  Lots of hissing.  Lots of spitting.  Half-hearted attempts to strike.  One the good side, she's eating & drinking well.  Lorenza hasn't left her side (Solidarity, Sister!)  Colleen, however, is still a pretty unhappy kitty.

I've decided to push her limits each week to see where her reactions stand.  I'd left her and Lorenza alone, curled up in their cat cave together, pretty much most of the time.  I'd make visits in several times a day, but those just elicit more hissing.  Today, I took away the cat cave.  Dumped 'em out on their respective asses.  I'm slightly ambivalent about removing the cave ... I think it's literally the only thing that is saving my skin during medication times.  We'll see how tomorrow's dose goes.

Lest you think I'm subjecting them to sleeping on the bare floor, nay, I've replaced the cave with a favorite box in which the girls used to love to cuddle up together.  It's got their old blankies and I've covered it with a tent that used to be Colleen's eating station.  It still gives them some seclusion, but it's more open than the cave, so it's baby steps.  Surprisingly, when I dumped Colleen out of the cave, she landed at my feet and just stayed there (hissing).  Made no move when I reached down to scratch behind her ears (she likes that).  Still hissing, though.

I've invited Lorenza to leave the quarantine area several times, but she just sits by Colleen's side.  Like I said ... solidarity!  I think that's the next test - remove the buddy.

Lorenza won't leave her sister

Colleen hides behind the new bed

Can't get her eyes open with a flash, but she's mad

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Colleen - Day 3 - Is it getting worse?

Today brought Colleen's third dose of fluoxetine (Prozac).  I know this will take some time to start showing the hoped-for effects, but today I must say, she seems worse.

Before we started on the meds, I had Colleen quarantined in a quiet bathroom that will be her new home whilst we work on this version of the 'reboot'.  She went in the day the vet was here.  The next day, I was having the carpets cleaned in the house, so needed the cats to be penned up while the cleaners had the doors open to the outside.  One indoor cat escape is enough for my lifetime, thanks.  Anyway, I put Lorenza in with Colleen on Day 2 of the capture.  Colleen loves Lorenza and vice versa.  That was 4 day ago.  Lorenza hasn't come out since.  I've had to reach in to medicate her (she's got Giardia - again).  But won't come out, no sir-ee.

I mention her because Lorenza generally has a calming effect on Colleen.  Before the meds, I spent time with them, trying to coax them out of the cat cave that has become their sanctuary.  Colleen has the front blockaded pretty effectively.  When I would step into their space, she would typically hiss, but surprisingly, she would let me reach down and scratch her head & neck.  Not always, but often enough.  Pretty exciting to get to pet the elusive cat.

Day 1 of the meds was pretty uneventful.  Since Colleen's go-to vocalization is a hiss, as she opens her mouth, I just squirt in the compounded meds.

Day 2 then brought this response:
Drool from being medicated - Day 2
Drool, plenty of drool.  Not sure how much of the meds went down the throat.

Day 3 now and Colleen is meaner than ever.  Couldn't even get close to touching either cat today.  Hiss.  Paw strike.  Blood was drawn.  Maybe this is where it's darkest before the dawn.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Colleen - One Year Later - Prozac Day 1

December 13, 2013

It took a whole year to get back around to this point.  Perhaps it's fitting that my crazy, scared black cat is finally getting help on a Friday the Thirteenth.

Colleen left her quarantine period last year no better off than when she started.  We were interrupted by travels and work and other assorted not-good-enough excuses.  And I let another year slip by.

She showed some encouraging signs during the year.  She started playing a bit.  She'd chase the red laser dot around ... as long as I didn't move it too close to me.  She and Cotton would play a lively game of chase.  She's pretty fast for a three-legged cat.  She even hopped up on the bed a couple of times and actually let me TOUCH her!  I kept hoping she would move forward at her own pace.  But while I was waiting, I let another year slip by.

This week was the time for annual checkups by our mobile vet.  Thank goodness for the invention of mobile veterinary services that come out to your house.  With my crazy crew, there is no way I could wrangle 4 hyped-up cats into carriers, into a car, and down to an office - even if I did it 4 separate times.  Two of them can't be easily crated (or caught).  If I ever have an emergency where I have to get them out fast, I'm sunk.  But I digress.

Last weekend, our local shelter had its annual Home for the Holidays adoption event.  It was a great day for the animals (over 200 pets adopted from various local rescues & shelters) and came right on the heels of our shelter's own Black Friday adoption week where more than 40 pets found homes.  It was at this event in 2009 when I adopted Colleen.  Her story has been recounted in earlier entries in this blog.  This year, on the eve of her 4th anniversary here in my home, I promised that she would not have to live in fear anymore.

Since she had to be captured for the vet's visit, once again I took the opportunity to quarantine Colleen.  Take her back to basics.  See if we can break the cycle of fear and anxiety that she lives with constantly.  I've got just about every homeopathic 'calming' remedy - liquids, sprays, diffusers, etc.  Bach's Rescue Remedy, Feliway, Spirit Essences, Black Wing Farms.  I've tried many, but I admit, without complete consistency.  My fault entirely.  I let my cat live like this because it wasn't too inconvenient for me.  She wants to live under the dining room table - fine, whatever.

Since I'd let another year slip by, I asked the vet for a compounded formula of anti-anxiety meds to start for Colleen.  After a bit of internet searching for a reasonably priced pharmacy that could compound RX for pets, I found a great local place just about 4 miles from home.  As of tonight, Colleen is now on Fluoxetine (that's generic Prozac).  A pretty serious step, but at least I won't let another year go by without helping my cat.

Stay tuned.  We'll see how it goes.