Friday, July 22, 2016

Peanut Has A Bad Day

Poor Peanut. This has not been a good day for him.

I've been concerned for a while now about his occasional bursts of irrational hostility toward other of my cats -- even toward his best buddy, Squash, or blameless Sally, though his preferred target has been Stanley. We're talking bottle-tailed, hissing, pinned-eared, screeching rage fits. Peanut could be puttering about, his usual placid self, then start staring at one of the others. His target would freeze in that baleful glare. Hiss. Hiss back. Growls. Then the target would break and flee, pursued furiously, with caterwauls and flying tufts of fur strewn about.

I tried putting a Sentry calming collar on him. This diminished the attacks but didn't eliminate them. So today I took him to the vet to be checked, see if there were some physical reason for this unsettling change in his behavior -- which arose after the bout of constipation that required a trip to the emergency vet several months ago. He's been on a daily laxative since then, and seemed to be doing fine. But he's also lost weight since then (down now to 15.2 solid pounds). Could something serious be brewing?

He was easy to capture, since I'd prestaged the carrier near the feeding area a few days before. I carried him to the box, swooped him in before he knew what was happening, and got the top shut before he could surge out to freedom.

HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Grumble whine mutter. He was quiet in the car, quiet in the waiting room, quiet as I took him out of the carrier and put him on the exam table....

HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS............... A surly, flattened Peanut glared at the tech who took his story, then at the vet who came in to examine him, and spoke his mind. The hissing made it hard to hear his heartbeat (but much easier to check his teeth!), but she persevered and got it. She wanted to vaccinate him and get some blood to test, so carried him away to the back area while I waited in the little exam room.

Waited, and listened to the dire cacophany of hisses and growls coming through the closed door. Poor Peanut! I poked my head in briefly to offer a tidbit of information and there he was, scruffed and pinned on his side by the tech while the vet had at his inner thigh. He lay there, immobilized, furious, helpless to do anything about it, vocalizing bitterly.

Eventually vet and cat returned, with no one damaged despite the dramatic commentary, and Peanut, still complaining, was allowed to slink into the sanctuary of the carrier while we talked about what she found and what to do. Things were pretty much normal except for a good deal of fecal buildup. The vet theorized that the bouts of temper could be from episodes of constipation despite the Lactulose dose he's getting, so the plan is to up the twice-daily dose somewhat, add a quarter teaspoon of unflavored Miralax to his wet food, and see if that helps. Other than that, the current feeding regimen is just right.

Also, the vet suggested trying a Feliway multicat diffuser to lower tension levels through the chemical miracle of maternal facial pheromones. Since the calming collar uses the same sort of approach and has done some good, I'm going to give it a try.

So, Peanut is home, has had his first dose of increased laxative at supper, and appears to have forgiven me for the brutality inflicted on him. I'll be getting the blood results back tomorrow afternoon.

I sure hope all the bellyaching and lashing out is just, well, a backed-up bellyache.


Update on Peanut, next day: Talked to the vet today. Most of the bloodwork was normal, but:

1. His thyroid levels were borderline for hyperthyroid. Could be why he's shed weight recently. Could also explain the aggression. Can put him on meds to adjust that.

2. His calcium levels were high. Could be nothing; a prescription food could take care of that. Could also be an indication of a mass, cancer somewhere. We're going to do fasting blood tests to check that, and go from there.

Obviously I'd prefer Door Number 1. Odds in fact are good that it's the right one, given what I'm finding online, e.g.:

Has Your Cat Become Irritable?

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