Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Visit to Behaviorist at Michigan State U

Today we took Jimmy Stewart to MSU behaviorist, a new thing they've recently added to their program.  We were hoping that new issues and current concerns could be addressed.  Instead, we were told to use a different litter, to change his meds, and to lock him away in a room 24/7 for a month without other cats around.

Well, doesn't sound too bad until you realize that we can't lock him away for a month 24/7, or spend enough time daily in the room. I can't go every hour or two to play for 10 minutes or so and then leave. He wouldn't feel a part of the family. He doesn't like staying in one room all day as he does roam the house. He does like our room but even after being up there for awhile, he comes downstairs on his own. If we lock him up, what happens after a month? The other cats would not have seen him and may not like his return; Cooper may begin to bully again because Jimmy's been gone for so long; and Jimmy may think he's been away too long and begin marking again. A few hours yes; a few weeks 24/7 no.

And the change in med? To buspirone or Buspar which has a 75% success rate in 55% of the cats in a study years ago while Prozac has 90% in about 80% of cats in a study years ago (sorry, I don't have links to studies I found ages ago online.)

And yet again, we got the "try another litter type" talk. We use Prescious Cat which the cats like but it isn't the one and only litter Jimmy will use. He does use Fresh Step and the Wheat litter. But we will try even more litter in even more boxes. 

We will add more playtime which is difficult to do because I'm busy all day in the house and they do sleep a lot during the day. We already play in the a.m., we play later in the day; we play at night. 

I'm frustrated because even though I wrote up the paperwork and mailed it in and they read it prior to the visit, I still had to go over the entire history which meant the questions about current behaviors were not addressed. I want explanations as to why he or someone keeps going on the washer/dryer. I want to know why things work and then suddenly Jimmy goes in a storage drawer in the basement which he was able to get into. I want to know why he or they choose the concrete or carpet from time to time. WHY?????  But no, no answers. None.

And the one doctor said we have too many cats and that he'd be better in a home without other cats which is what is causing his problem. So, do I give up six or just the one? Well, if I could just give up on him and find someone willing to promise never to get a cat or dog or kid, and put up with marking from time to time (if that occured) then sure. But where is that person? And how could I just give up?  But I didn't pay someone $100 to tell me to get rid of my cat. I paid to get advice on how to solve issues, and I need answers to the issues.

And we had to take the poor boy there and they didn't even pick him up, play with him, or examine him. Why then was he even there?

I'm sure if someone needed help from the beginning, if we hadn't already spoken to one behaviorist, if I hadn't done a lot of research, and we hadn't been through two meds and two variations of Prozac, I could find MSU's advice helpful. Except they gave me much less advice for $100 than the local Humaine Society did for free.

Aside from urinating on the towels in the carrier just as we arrived (which I anticipated because he hadn't gone to the bathroom yet) Jimmy did very well in the car on the way there and back.

Sorry for the rant. Now for the others:  We changed the Buprenex from transdermal to liquid which works better for the cats. It took more transdermal before the med kicked in than it did the liquid.  And because I need to know how much Myrna is getting, the liquid was a better choice.  Our vet recommended Road Runner Pharmacy in Arizona, a pet pharmacy, from which to get the Buprenex.  The cost is only about $1.22 per ml vs. the vet's $5.00 per ml.  Great bargain!  Shipping is free; only $10 for express mail.

Myrna is doing very well still after last month's incident. Doing well on Buprenex for her elimination issues, also. Also, Cooper now sits 90% of the time in the box while on Buprenex (he had been standing and letting urine go out of the box.)  His elimination issues are somehow tied to the hypercalcemia he has. We are giving him magnesium and potassium to help alleviate the calcium levels. Next week, he goes for a blood recheck to see if the calcium level is decreasing.  Bette and Elizabeth are on Buprenex to keep their idiopathic cystitis at bay. Seems to be working.  And Katharine, who has no issues, had a very high temp at the vet last week when she was groomed. It was noted that her temp was high the last time she was in (months ago) and last year. It was over 102 before and nearly 103 this time. While the high range of normal is o.k., I thought perhaps hers was due to the exposure as a kitten to the herpes virus. So, like her siblings, we are now giving her 1 ml of lysine daily.  Next month when she's groomed, we'll have the temp rechecked and see how she's doing.
Jimmy in the closet after playtime

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