(Ulsan, South Korea)
My 3 yr old spayed calico indoor cat suddenly stopped eating and with that came a complete behaviour change. No interaction with us, no grooming, hiding away. All symptoms of depression according to what I read.
A complete blood panel showed everything within normal range. Tried different foods, then the vet put her on steroids but that did not increase her appetite.
More research by me on the Internet and finally I asked for her to be put on anti-depressant medication. I forget the name of the drug (we are in South Korea so things are a little more complicated but the name of the drug is not one I recognised) but she is only on half a pill every three days.
The pill stimulates her appetite and then her behaviour reverts to normal, a happy, playful cat. Once the three days are up she becomes withdrawn and totally disinterested in her life. It is awful to watch because we cannot figure out just what is happening to her.
The last resort by my vet is to give her an MRI to rule out a brain tumour but she shows no signs of any symptoms at all of a tumour. I am loathe to have an MRI done so for now will continue with the medication but I am desperate to know if anyone else has experienced this extreme problem?
There have been no changes in her life, nothing new happening or any losses or anything that I could possibly think of which caused this abrupt change. Is she to be on these pills for her life - will they do her other
harm? Why has this happened to her?
I would so much appreciate any insight anyone may have into this problem and what else I could possibly do to help her. My life has become a rollercoaster - when she is happy then I am happy but when she is unhappy then so am I.
Soon I will need the medication too!!!
Please any responses would be wonderful.
Thanks in anticipation.Editor Suggestions Cat Depression
I’ll be honest with you. I have never dealt with a situation like the one that you describe with your cat during my veterinary career. I’ve seen cats that have been depressed after the loss of an owner or housemate and cats that act depressed because of an underlying illness, but never one so profoundly depressed yet seemingly otherwise healthy.
I think the first thing to do is to make sure she has had a thorough health work up. You mentioned that she had a “complete blood panel.” If she were my patient I would probably also run a urinalysis, thyroid level, and tests for any infectious diseases common to the area where you live (FeLV, FIV and toxoplasmosis in my neck of the woods).
If this were all normal, I’d check her blood pressure, take chest and abdominal x-rays and maybe even perform an abdominal ultrasound before moving on to the MRI (she’s awfully young for a brain tumor).
If she truly is otherwise healthy, you might want to try a feline facial hormone diffuser and the nutritional supplement s-adenosylmethionine (SAMe)
. These could help improve her mood and reduce the need for anti-depressants.
Jennifer Coates, DVM