Meowing and disorientation

bab-ush-niik

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I apologize for the length of this post, I thought it might be helpful if you had as much info as possible.

On my table is a prescription for Xanax for our cat, Puppy. Our vet said that his problems are either neurological or behavioral, but if it is behavioral, it is beyond his capability. Hence the prescription. He suggested we could talk with a behaviorist, but he made it sound like we might end up using the prescription anyway.

Puppy meows a LOT. His meowing is not at anyone or anything. He wanders is circles between rooms and meows. Before we lived in this house, we were in an apartment. There were no circles over there since it was a 1 bedroom apartment, so he would sit in a corner and meow at the wall. His eyes are dilated when this happens. This happens at night and day, but obviously, we are more annoyed at night.

We have to chase him down to catch him. When we get him, he purrs madly. There are two ways to calm him down. Option one is to hover over him. Then he'll lay his head down on a hand, purr, and slowly calm down. This only works if he is meowing mildly. Option 2 is to lock him into a single room. Usually, he goes into the third floor or the bathroom. If he's having a really tough night, he'll still meow, but this usually works. We used to lock him in our bedroom, but since we got Bunny, he meows if he's in there with her (and she meows WORSE if she can't sleep with us).

When the meowing is really bad, it doesn't sound like he breathes between meows. These are the nights when he purrs as soon as he sees us, and he gets locked in a bathroom to keep him calm.

We feed him at night and play with him daily. He is neutered, two years old. His blood work comes back normal and the vet sees nothing physically wrong with him. He was declawed (by previous owners) when he was about 6 months. We sleep with all doors open in the house and he is welcome in our bedroom. We both work from 9-6. He is indoor only, but is allowed to come outside on a leash. He has no litter box problems. Lately, he's always been meowing at the same time (4am, 7am, 10am, 7pm, 10 pm).

Things we have tried:

* Playing with him even more: We tried playing with him for several hours every day and keeping him from sleeping all day long. He'll just go for days without sleeping. I kid you not, he once went for 3 days without any serious naptime. We also leave toys out while we're gone, and he does play with them.

* Ignoring him: We tried just ignoring him for several weeks. This did nothing.

* Feliway: This worked for a while. Doesn't work any more.

* Changing food: We put him on a better diet. This helped get him from meowing 5+ times a night to 2-3 times a night. (Thanks to jcat for the suggestion!)

* Getting him another cat: We got Bunny because everyone kept saying that he just "needed a friend". If anything, it made the problems worse because now he won't go to sleep in our room at all. The cats do play together all day long. Usually, Puppy chases her, pins her down, and cleans her. (Sometimes he gets a little rough and she meows loudly. However, he does the same with us. She seems to not mind. We know she can run faster and she chooses not to, and sometimes she instigates the chase.) They also get into trouble together, like opening the basement door. Puppy has generally regressed since we got Bunny. He no longer knows his name, and he won't sleep on the bed anymore. (When we first got him, he was scared of the bed. It was a year before he would curl up next to your legs like a normal cat.)

* Moving: Our vet knew of cats who would do this because there were mice in the walls. He theorized that maybe Puppy would stop after we moved out of the apartment building. The house was inspected for pests, and he still meows. We've also ruled out "neighborhood animals" since we know what he does when he sees another cat/squirrel/bird outside. He has a different meow, and he focuses on the animal outside.

Just to make it clear, no one believes how bad he is until they come spend the night with us. Our friends thought we were blowing it out of proportion. One friend slept in the living room and attempted to follow Puppy to see what was wrong. They traveled in circles. The next morning, we were asked "What is wrong with your cat? He really has problems."

Help please! Is there anything left we can do, or is Xanax/Prozac our only choice now?
 

kathryn41

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I have complete sympathy for your situation.

My Bear is a 5 year old Maine Coon type cat who was orphaned at 10 days old and I bottle raised with his brother and sister. I still have his brother plus 3 of the other 4 cats we had when he was a baby. He is a meower.

We never had a problem with him until I moved from Ontario Canada to Georgia 4 years ago. He then started to meow constantly. I figured at first it was just the upheaval and the stress from the move plus being in a new place, but it is a problem because he will walk around the house just meowing at nothing, or sit in the darkened bathroom gazing at the ceiling meowing, or sitting on the dresser in the bedroom, meowing. If I get up and hold him he immediately cuddles in and purrs like there is no tomorrow, clinging to me the whole time. If I put him down he starts to meow again. So, I have often gone about doing my daily house chores with this cat draped over my shoulders! Since he seemed to want to be up high we put a shelf over the sink that joins the cupboards and he seems to be happier when I put him up there. If he is crying he settles down and goes to sleep. Sometimes I have found that diverting him with a 'treat' helps. Now, for us, treats are somewhat different - I have a bag of Royal Canin dried cat food that I will then dole out by small handfuls as if it were a special treat and since it is different than their regular cat food, they think of it as a treat. He will eat his handful and then often settle down as well.

Last Thanksgiving we were away for a week with a catsitter who came in twice a day. The night we came back ,however, Bear refused to stop meowing - all night long, non-stop! It was hard for my husband who even though partially deaf he kept hearing him and still had to get up for work the next day. Shutting the doors on him, cuddling him, nothing helped! Finally, in desperation the next day I did something very unconventional - something you may not be willing to consider because it is very non-mainstream - I contacted a pet communicator.

She 'talked' with Bear and asked him why he was so meowy. He kept telling her that we had been gone and now we were back, did we know we were gone and he was still here? He was here and we weren't and he was so lonely and we were GONE!'. She explained to him that yes, we knew were were gone and we had missed him here - and he kept interrupting her to tell her that we had been gone! (VBG). Then she asked him if anything unusual had happened while he was away, and he said 'Yes, a strange lady came in and gave us food" (another VBG). He was just fixated on how lonely he had been because we were gone and not with him. THen the communicator asked him if he would be quiet and not meowy at night so that the people could sleep and be happy to see him in the morning. He showed a picture of himself walking VERY quietly around the house and not making a sound and she told him that was good. Well, that night the difference was amazing - he didn't make a peep all night long -and was as good as gold! I have taken to telling him before bedtime that we need to sleep and I need him to be very quiet. More often than not, he actually is quiet overnight now, saving his meowing for daytime when I am up.

The communicator also mentioned that he is extremely sensitive to 'environments' and picks up on the energy in the house, so if either my husband or I are upset or stressed he is very aware of that energy. He also asked for more interaction from my husband who normally didn't have much to do with them. Since he started giving them more attention they have all responded incredibly well and the meowing episodes are getting less and less.

For those times when he seems to get back into the meowy mood I try all of my different solutions but there are still times when I just need to sit and hold him in my arms until he sleeps and relaxes. Once he is relaxed enough to sleep, the meowing starts. It is like having a fretting baby at times.

Goodluck, and do consider using an animal communicator to find out exactly what is going on in your cats head.
 

catpsych

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Hi there bab-ush-niik,
From the sounds of it Puppy is having seizures. Since I'm a behaviorist I cannot give out any medical advice, however, I would suggest finding a vet who specializes in neurological problems and seizures. The fact that you mentioned Puppy is walking in circles and his eyes are dialated leads me to believe this is a medical issue, not behavioral. The internet is a wonderful place to start your search for a vet who specializes in such areas, you could then schedule a phone consultation with the vet and they should be able to take it from there and also answer your questions about what medications will work and the duration they will need to be used. A good vet that I know of that would be able to help is Dr. Dodman with Tufts University, he does medical and behavioral consultations and would be able to encompass Puppy's whole treatment that would be needed. On the bright side, I have come acrossed many cat owners in your situation and this is something that you and your vet will be able to gain control over with anti-seizer medication for Puppy. I wish you all the best and your future nights filled with peaceful rest.





Originally Posted by bab-ush-niik

I apologize for the length of this post, I thought it might be helpful if you had as much info as possible.

On my table is a prescription for Xanax for our cat, Puppy. Our vet said that his problems are either neurological or behavioral, but if it is behavioral, it is beyond his capability. Hence the prescription. He suggested we could talk with a behaviorist, but he made it sound like we might end up using the prescription anyway.

Puppy meows a LOT. His meowing is not at anyone or anything. He wanders is circles between rooms and meows. Before we lived in this house, we were in an apartment. There were no circles over there since it was a 1 bedroom apartment, so he would sit in a corner and meow at the wall. His eyes are dilated when this happens. This happens at night and day, but obviously, we are more annoyed at night.

We have to chase him down to catch him. When we get him, he purrs madly. There are two ways to calm him down. Option one is to hover over him. Then he'll lay his head down on a hand, purr, and slowly calm down. This only works if he is meowing mildly. Option 2 is to lock him into a single room. Usually, he goes into the third floor or the bathroom. If he's having a really tough night, he'll still meow, but this usually works. We used to lock him in our bedroom, but since we got Bunny, he meows if he's in there with her (and she meows WORSE if she can't sleep with us).

When the meowing is really bad, it doesn't sound like he breathes between meows. These are the nights when he purrs as soon as he sees us, and he gets locked in a bathroom to keep him calm.

We feed him at night and play with him daily. He is neutered, two years old. His blood work comes back normal and the vet sees nothing physically wrong with him. He was declawed (by previous owners) when he was about 6 months. We sleep with all doors open in the house and he is welcome in our bedroom. We both work from 9-6. He is indoor only, but is allowed to come outside on a leash. He has no litter box problems. Lately, he's always been meowing at the same time (4am, 7am, 10am, 7pm, 10 pm).

Things we have tried:

* Playing with him even more: We tried playing with him for several hours every day and keeping him from sleeping all day long. He'll just go for days without sleeping. I kid you not, he once went for 3 days without any serious naptime. We also leave toys out while we're gone, and he does play with them.

* Ignoring him: We tried just ignoring him for several weeks. This did nothing.

* Feliway: This worked for a while. Doesn't work any more.

* Changing food: We put him on a better diet. This helped get him from meowing 5+ times a night to 2-3 times a night. (Thanks to jcat for the suggestion!)

* Getting him another cat: We got Bunny because everyone kept saying that he just "needed a friend". If anything, it made the problems worse because now he won't go to sleep in our room at all. The cats do play together all day long. Usually, Puppy chases her, pins her down, and cleans her. (Sometimes he gets a little rough and she meows loudly. However, he does the same with us. She seems to not mind. We know she can run faster and she chooses not to, and sometimes she instigates the chase.) They also get into trouble together, like opening the basement door. Puppy has generally regressed since we got Bunny. He no longer knows his name, and he won't sleep on the bed anymore. (When we first got him, he was scared of the bed. It was a year before he would curl up next to your legs like a normal cat.)

* Moving: Our vet knew of cats who would do this because there were mice in the walls. He theorized that maybe Puppy would stop after we moved out of the apartment building. The house was inspected for pests, and he still meows. We've also ruled out "neighborhood animals" since we know what he does when he sees another cat/squirrel/bird outside. He has a different meow, and he focuses on the animal outside.

Just to make it clear, no one believes how bad he is until they come spend the night with us. Our friends thought we were blowing it out of proportion. One friend slept in the living room and attempted to follow Puppy to see what was wrong. They traveled in circles. The next morning, we were asked "What is wrong with your cat? He really has problems."

Help please! Is there anything left we can do, or is Xanax/Prozac our only choice now?
 
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bab-ush-niik

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Thanks for the quick reply! I'll see if I can get a hold of Dr. Dodman.

The one thing that made us think it wasn't seizures, but behavioral, is that he usually does it at the same time of night. We figured seizures would be more random, and that the timing meant maybe there was something else going on?
 

jcat

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Originally Posted by bab-ush-niik

Thanks for the quick reply! I'll see if I can get a hold of Dr. Dodman.

The one thing that made us think it wasn't seizures, but behavioral, is that he usually does it at the same time of night. We figured seizures would be more random, and that the timing meant maybe there was something else going on?
Something going on at that particular time might be triggering the seizures. We had an epileptic dog, and his seizures could be triggered by something as simple as the little lights on the VCR flashing, and were always triggered by blinking Christmas lights, for example.
 

catpsych

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That sounds wonderful! And if he's not available, he will definently be able to point you to a vet that is very qualified. I've never met him in person, but he has always been of great help to me over the phone and online. I wish you the best and I'm sure things will go well, I've seen lots of kitties in this type of situation and most do think it's behavioral, it's even hard for the vets to diagnose sometimes if they haven't seen it a lot....which they usually don't, because most owners think it is a behavioral problem and do their best to live with it. So, getting him to the vet should clear up the issue, Take care!


Originally Posted by bab-ush-niik

Thanks for the quick reply! I'll see if I can get a hold of Dr. Dodman.

The one thing that made us think it wasn't seizures, but behavioral, is that he usually does it at the same time of night. We figured seizures would be more random, and that the timing meant maybe there was something else going on?
 

artgecko

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Hey,
Although I'm not dealing with meowing, my cat Toby does have seizures and some of the symptoms are the same...i.e. the wandering around, acting disoriented, dilated pupils...

Have you ever noticed extra dried saliva on/around his mouth or any "accidents" on the carpet? Uncontrolled salivation and urination/defication can be caused by seizures...

Toby has the "grand maul" (sp?) seizures, so I've seen him lay on his side, shake uncontrollably, then lie panting on the floor, crawl a few steps, and wonder disoriented... Your cat may be having a less visible seizure type that doesn't cause as severe a set of symptoms.

In some literature I've read (sorry can't remember the link), they say that some pets will search out the owner (or other pets) when having a seizure, some will hide, some will run, some will meow...Toby runs like mad (as if something is chasing him) and goes to a "safe" spot, usually under something.

I am sorry that you might be dealing with seizures too, as my vet says that they usually can't find a cause for it. As for Toby, we think (me and vet) that it might be due to his enlarged heart/not getting enough blood flow to the brain.

You mentioned that the episodes always come at a certain time? Seizures (in humans) are known to sometimes follow a schedule, or occur after certain things. Toby's seizures always occur after he has been sleeping. So perhaps there is a trigger of some sort you can look out for.

HTH,
Art
 
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