Severe anxiety disorder/ hypervigilance suddenly brought on by a "traumatic" (not) event

FlamepointPrince

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Hello everyone 👋, this is my first time posting, I've lurked for years now, but could really use some advice or hear similar stories.
(Apologies in advance for the long read)
For some context and background about my amazing little son, Caspian:
He is a little over a year old now, I rescued him as an orphaned 2 day old neonate, so I and my home are all that he's ever known (along with my two other cats). I work from home, so he's always with me.
Being a bottle baby, he's always exhibited some mild separation anxiety, but nothing too extreme. (just the usual crying when he can't see me, having to take him into the bathroom or shower with me ect.)
He's always been an incredibly high energy cat (which I love, he's so much fun and is so funny). (And yes I play with him for about an hour or more a day, I have to, or he's like a puppy 😂 (destructive and naughty)) He's never exhibited any neurotic or anxious behavior.
He's always been relatively fearless and bold for the most part, not afraid of the vacuum, fireworks, or loud noises at all, not afraid of new objects or smells.
Other than very mild (managed) asthma, he is incredibly healthy and has no underlying issues. He has the sweetest personality and is the most affectionate cat I've ever had, he's a 13 lb cuddle bug and gets anything he wants.

Now for the "traumatic (not) event"
No changes had taken place in my home or in his environment up to this point, this was quite literally out of nowhere.
He came into my roommate's room one morning in the dark, I was out in the hall playing with him before he went in, so I saw and heard most of it.
There was a pair of black athletic shorts on the ground near the door, he stepped on them, and due to the material, briefly slipped. This startled him, which sent him about 3 feet into the air, in doing so he launched himself onto the dresser, in a panic knocked everything off the entire dresser, making a lot of noise, which scared him even more, and blasted out of the room like a bat out of hell.

I let him have some time to calm down, then attempted to console him, but he was still in a panicked state. By the end of the day, he hadn't changed, hypervigilant and dilated pupils. I was concerned at this point that he had injured himself, so calmly restrained him and examined him thoroughly to see if he responded in pain if I touched anywhere, and he was completely fine. A chat with an online vet said the same, that there's no sign of injury.(No change in posture, mobility ect.) and to give him time.

Fast forward to a month and a half later, there has been no progress. We're stuck in a cycle of: He calms down and is himself for a few days, then scares himself and relapses into the hypervigilant state. When I say he scares himself, I quite literally mean, he swished his tail, saw it and it made him jump up into the air, or he sees his shadow move and jumps.

He's like a completely different cat, he stays in the same area that he's deemed 'safe' and won't leave it. It got so bad I've had to move his one litterbox to his 'safe zone' because he would quite literally hold it ALL day and I would have to physically move him into the litterbox and pet and comfort him while he used the bathroom. When he gets like this, he won't respond to me talking to him or petting him, playing, he's always looking around or behind me like something's going to jump out and get him. He'll be normal for a few days or a few hours UNTIL he scares himself again.

I have tried:
Exposure therapy
Positive reinforcement to negative stimuli
Feliway Maximum plugins (been plugged in since day 2)
Puzzle treat toys
Vetriscience Composure calming treats
Full spectrum 600MG CBD suspended in salmon oil (.25 ml per day)

[The CBD is relatively new, and have only been trying it for him for about three days now, and I have seen some improvement, but it doesn't seem to last long, but I'll increase his dose frequency and try for another few weeks]

I'm really banking on the CBD here because I really don't want him on any prescribed antidepressants or benzodiazepines, but I will as an absolute nuclear last resort option.

First of all I'm genuinely concerned for his health, that level of anxiety I know has got to have negative effects, whether that be on his little heart, his digestive system, or kidneys and bladder. I also worry with him being hesitant to use the bathroom that he'll develop crystals or a urethral blockage. (I have been adding extra water into his food to ensure he's hydrated and to force him to pee)

Then on the emotional aspect, seeing him so terrified crushes my heart, and I miss my funny little friend who would chirp and squeak and hop around the place. He's quite literally my child, I've raised him since day one and I want to do anything I can for him to overcome this.

If anyone has any advice or any similar experience, please feel free to share. I felt that this was the best place to post this since I see how much you guys love your cat kids and most are very experienced owners like myself.
Thanks!
 

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I'm sorry for what's oing on with your little guy. Since the feliway is having no effect stop using it. I've heard it has no effect on some cats and the reverse on a small percentage.

Cat Music. There are many on Youtube.


Chamomile tea, from tea bag not what's grown in the yard, for both of you. He can feel your tension so fake calm as much as you can. Go back to your regular routine. Cats are very much creatures of habit and routine is comforting.

If he's nervous but not panicked, carry him around the house then back to his safe place. Get close to some of his previous favorite places so he can get a sniff.

Is your roomate willing to sit and talk/read to him atleast once a day and give treats. Since the scare happened in their room maybe Caspian being reacquainted with them could help.
 

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I am very sorry that this has happened to Caspian. I have a 2 year old flame point boy who, while he has not had the same experience as Caspian, has had some behavioral problems which have resulted in two major bladder issues in less than a year. The last one was more serious than the first and he was transported to a referral hospital where they did every relevant test, including an ultrasound. There were no medical conditions found at all. He was catherized though and recovered. The internist (and the vet at the original hospital) both talked to me about the fact that Siamese and flame point males are predisposed to bladder issues and to emotional reactivity which, of course, adds to the problem. It is concerning that Caspian is holding his urine which is not something that Rikki did. (I should mention that Rikki has the opposite problem. Big man on campus who has to make sure that all the other cats, including the one who is 10 years older, fall into line, give up their beds to him, and basically get out of his way when he is in a mood. Extremely jealous of me. Aside from that, he is very cute.)

Resident wanted to put him on Prozac which I did not want to start at this time. I am about to try CBD oil; however, I did not get the results I expected a few years ago with another cat and likewise have not had success with Feliway although others have been happy with both of those remediations.

Is he reactive when he passes your roommate's room? Does closing the door make any difference. ( I realize that this may not be a solution for the humans either). Have you considered a behaviorist or a visit to your vet if you think that they might be helpful? It might take some research to find a good behaviorist in your area, but might be worth a try. Rikki kitchen.jpg
 
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FlamepointPrince

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I'm sorry for what's oing on with your little guy. Since the feliway is having no effect stop using it. I've heard it has no effect on some cats and the reverse on a small percentage.

Cat Music. There are many on Youtube.


Chamomile tea, from tea bag not what's grown in the yard, for both of you. He can feel your tension so fake calm as much as you can. Go back to your regular routine. Cats are very much creatures of habit and routine is comforting.

If he's nervous but not panicked, carry him around the house then back to his safe place. Get close to some of his previous favorite places so he can get a sniff.

Is your roomate willing to sit and talk/read to him atleast once a day and give treats. Since the scare happened in their room maybe Caspian being reacquainted with them could help.
I never considered that with the Feliway diffuser, after your reply I found some very interesting past threads on here about it having negative effects on some cats. I went ahead and removed it, it hasn't done any good, so I can't hurt to unplug it.
They funny thing is with my roommate is that he has no association with his "trauma" and her! He just won't go anywhere near her room now, or half of the house now for that matter. 🥲
I'm still working with him on expanding his 'safe zone', I just feel that we take a few steps back when he gets scared again, and we're back to square one.
Will definitely try the cat music as well, he's hyper-attuned to any small noise, so I'm sure that will help being in the background. Thank you for the suggestions!
 

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Cat music is helpful for sure..having something playing so he isn't jumping at every sound.

How does catnip help him to respond?

How is playing with him going?

Since he's been too scared to broach the rest of the house his "scent soakers" might be a bit faint..you can take a used piece of your clothing (since you're his comfort) and rub it on his cheeks and then on the territory you want him to explore. Maybe even leave if there, just a bit passed his comfort zone.


Lastly, might seem a bit unorthodox, but can you/would you consider another young male cat? You could foster and see if that helps. Watching another cat can build confidence.


I don't know what's happened to Ghost but he is Terrified of clothes on the floor since we brought him home in June. He won't walk past them. He won't come in the room. Just some of our used sheets on the floor for an hour while we clean and he's down the stairs. So I've been playing with him on the bed and the dropping a single piece of clothing on the floor and having him go past it as he plays. It's really about pushing that comfort zone and then bringing him back down. ❣
 
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FlamepointPrince

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I am very sorry that this has happened to Caspian. I have a 2 year old flame point boy who, while he has not had the same experience as Caspian, has had some behavioral problems which have resulted in two major bladder issues in less than a year. The last one was more serious than the first and he was transported to a referral hospital where they did every relevant test, including an ultrasound. There were no medical conditions found at all. He was catherized though and recovered. The internist (and the vet at the original hospital) both talked to me about the fact that Siamese and flame point males are predisposed to bladder issues and to emotional reactivity which, of course, adds to the problem. It is concerning that Caspian is holding his urine which is not something that Rikki did. (I should mention that Rikki has the opposite problem. Big man on campus who has to make sure that all the other cats, including the one who is 10 years older, fall into line, give up their beds to him, and basically get out of his way when he is in a mood. Extremely jealous of me. Aside from that, he is very cute.)

Resident wanted to put him on Prozac which I did not want to start at this time. I am about to try CBD oil; however, I did not get the results I expected a few years ago with another cat and likewise have not had success with Feliway although others have been happy with both of those remediations.

Is he reactive when he passes your roommate's room? Does closing the door make any difference. ( I realize that this may not be a solution for the humans either). Have you considered a behaviorist or a visit to your vet if you think that they might be helpful? It might take some research to find a good behaviorist in your area, but might be worth a try.View attachment 460561
Yes, the urinary issues are my greatest concern, that would be the only reason for me to resort to pharmaceuticals. I don't want him to get to a point where it's affecting his UT. I didn't know that flame points/pointed males were predisposed to urinary issues. My dilute tortie point Siamese girl, Maddie, has had a terrible time with urinary issues in adulthood (vet visits and catheterizations), to the point that I keep her on the Homeopet UT Support drops daily.
Since I have those on hand, I'll go ahead and start adding those to his dinner as well (after checking for interactions with CBD) as a preventative measure.
Yeah, he's terrified of my roommate's room and we keep the her door closed. A few weeks ago we had worked up to getting him to cross the threshold into the room, but because something scared him again, we're back to square one, where he won't even go down the hall now.
The vets have only suggested Prozac and Xanax, which if it's his health on the line, I'll do what we have to.
As far as a feline behaviorist, I did look into that initially, and there are unfortunately none available locally. (Which is strange because I live nearby one of the most advanced veterinary centers in the US)
I know that there are online services, but I do question their efficacy since they're not able to directly interact with him.
Thank you for you detailed response and I hope things improve for Rikki as well.

(Rikki is very handsome by the way!)
 

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As you probably know, CBD oil reacts with many medications and supplements and is a pathway disruptor. It can make other dosages weaker or stronger, although it did not sound as if Caspian is on any medication at this time? I am going to retry CBD oil for Rikki as it might work differently in his case from my other cat.

I completely sympathize with you as I also feel as if I have a foot on a banana peel and that, for no really good reason, we are waiting for the next episode. Fiona had bladder stones, and subsequent surgery. TBH, that would have been more of a relief as it would have been a problem which could have been solved. Most of the discharge paperwork for Rikki consisted of several paragraphs about keeping him calm, entertaining him, lowering his stress along with a couple of dietary suggestions like wet food and water.

Do you have fountains? I have found that those encourage some cats to drink more water.

Rikki has filled out a little more now and looks quite a bit like little Caspian. He was very lucky when you found him as a tiny baby and rescued him.
 
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FlamepointPrince

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Cat music is helpful for sure..having something playing so he isn't jumping at every sound.

How does catnip help him to respond?

How is playing with him going?

Since he's been too scared to broach the rest of the house his "scent soakers" might be a bit faint..you can take a used piece of your clothing (since you're his comfort) and rub it on his cheeks and then on the territory you want him to explore. Maybe even leave if there, just a bit passed his comfort zone.


Lastly, might seem a bit unorthodox, but can you/would you consider another young male cat? You could foster and see if that helps. Watching another cat can build confidence.


I don't know what's happened to Ghost but he is Terrified of clothes on the floor since we brought him home in June. He won't walk past them. He won't come in the room. Just some of our used sheets on the floor for an hour while we clean and he's down the stairs. So I've been playing with him on the bed and the dropping a single piece of clothing on the floor and having him go past it as he plays. It's really about pushing that comfort zone and then bringing him back down. ❣
Playing with him in this state hasn't been easy, while before I had to wear him out every evening just so he would sleep through the night.
I've been waiting until after he eats his dinner (laden with CBD oil) he gets energetic, and then try to play with him. I've been 'marinating' all his favorite toys in catnip, and he seems to respond well to that. It's just sad to me, because I can tell he wants to play so bad, but I can see he's held back by this underlying fear. He won't go full-on zoomies, he won't run outside his 3'x3' "safe area", or play hide and seek or wrestle with me.

As far as getting another cat, ironically enough, before all of this happened I was planning on adopting an older kitten or one year old for a companion for him.
Since he was a surprise gift left in my backyard, and then my sole focus for the next few months getting another cat wasn't even a thought-but he needs a companion desperately.
My elderly cat pretends like he doesn't exist, and he has a very one sided relationship with my 5 year old Siamese girl, Maddie. She will play with him on occasion, but doesn't have much tolerance for roughhousing and gets tired of him very quickly.
Because he loves her company so much, I've been trying to include her during our "therapy sessions" (aka treat time trying to get him out of his 3 foot square.) and she has the perfect demeanor. She's very calm and reserved (read: sassy and aloof) so I think she is helping to build his confidence.
My worry about getting another cat or fostering at this time is it would be too much of a change in his environment, and not knowing the personality of another cat, I'd be concerned that they would reinforce his fears.

The scent soakers is an excellent idea, I wouldn't have thought of that, but it makes sense that he no longer 'owns' the part of the house he's been avoiding since he hasn't left his scent there in over a month.
 

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Playing with him in this state hasn't been easy, while before I had to wear him out every evening just so he would sleep through the night.
I've been waiting until after he eats his dinner (laden with CBD oil) he gets energetic, and then try to play with him. I've been 'marinating' all his favorite toys in catnip, and he seems to respond well to that. It's just sad to me, because I can tell he wants to play so bad, but I can see he's held back by this underlying fear. He won't go full-on zoomies, he won't run outside his 3'x3' "safe area", or play hide and seek or wrestle with me.

As far as getting another cat, ironically enough, before all of this happened I was planning on adopting an older kitten or one year old for a companion for him.
Since he was a surprise gift left in my backyard, and then my sole focus for the next few months getting another cat wasn't even a thought-but he needs a companion desperately.
My elderly cat pretends like he doesn't exist, and he has a very one sided relationship with my 5 year old Siamese girl, Maddie. She will play with him on occasion, but doesn't have much tolerance for roughhousing and gets tired of him very quickly.
Because he loves her company so much, I've been trying to include her during our "therapy sessions" (aka treat time trying to get him out of his 3 foot square.) and she has the perfect demeanor. She's very calm and reserved (read: sassy and aloof) so I think she is helping to build his confidence.
My worry about getting another cat or fostering at this time is it would be too much of a change in his environment, and not knowing the personality of another cat, I'd be concerned that they would reinforce his fears.

The scent soakers is an excellent idea, I wouldn't have thought of that, but it makes sense that he no longer 'owns' the part of the house he's been avoiding since he hasn't left his scent there in over a month.
Play will definitely build his confidence. Even if you can just get him started in a small space like on your bed, door closed, play some classical music. I'm thinking on the bed because he can get good traction which feels secure and it smells like you, his other sense of security.

It is truly a toss-up with a cat like you say. I do find that Ghost really looks to the other boys to know what's safe or not in an in-house environment. But your right it could trigger your cat to be more fearful. He was outside for we don't know how long but it was definitely a while. Someone certainly had loved him before but it's odd because he knows vacuums but was terrified of the broom, Swiffer is a toy to him...so just whomever it was had a different lifestyle than us (and was in an apartment or bungalow).

What's his safe space like? Are you keeping the door open or closed to it?

Are you putting a used shirt of yours in there? It seems so weird but I wonder if you do that, and then move that one out in the "doorway" of it and just keep rotating shirts until laundry day that it might help.

Cardboard scratches are really good scent soakers too..and maybe just getting some boxes around in the scary spaces that he can creep around and into. Your place might look silly for a bit! Definitely get some catnip into those boxes too 😺

This is Magnus's playlist:
then, I'm thinking too of what's passive that can build some confidence exploring, some DIY food puzzles? A lick and/or snuffle mat (personally, I went for the rabbit size one instead of a cat one. Cheaper and better for small space).

maybe some cat-safe potted herbs like thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary or even just cat grass? Just things to get him feeling safe exploring new things that won't move but they do different smells and textures etc.

also. Have you heard of museum putty? Amazing and can prevent him from knocking over future stuff 😉
 
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FlamepointPrince

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As you probably know, CBD oil reacts with many medications and supplements and is a pathway disruptor. It can make other dosages weaker or stronger, although it did not sound as if Caspian is on any medication at this time? I am going to retry CBD oil for Rikki as it might work differently in his case from my other cat.

I completely sympathize with you as I also feel as if I have a foot on a banana peel and that, for no really good reason, we are waiting for the next episode. Fiona had bladder stones, and subsequent surgery. TBH, that would have been more of a relief as it would have been a problem which could have been solved. Most of the discharge paperwork for Rikki consisted of several paragraphs about keeping him calm, entertaining him, lowering his stress along with a couple of dietary suggestions like wet food and water.

Do you have fountains? I have found that those encourage some cats to drink more water.

Rikki has filled out a little more now and looks quite a bit like little Caspian. He was very lucky when you found him as a tiny baby and rescued him.
(Oop, yeah should have added he's not on any medications at this time, his asthma is very mild, just managed by regular dusting, no candles, and low dust litter)
I agree that's what's so frustrating, it's not like there is anything measurably or medically 'wrong' with him. Now if anything changes in his behavior or urinary habits, I'll have to take him to the vet again. I'm just incredibly hesitant to, after I took him the last time since "the athletic shorts trauma" happened.
He was in such a state, terrified, hiding, and hissing at the vets and techs (he always used to do great at the vet and they always commented on how nonchalant he is). His 'pediatrician' that has seen him since day one also wasn't there which didn't help.
He was traumatized after coming home 😢 far worse than before we took him. No amount of calming treats helped.

I used to have a fountain, but honestly it was too much of a hassle to keep up and I found it more sanitary to just set out a new glass or ceramic serving bowl every day. He likes to play with his water, so I think the fountain would be a good idea for him in this case. The fountain I had before was one of the cheaper plastic ones of Amazon, this time I'll go with one of the ceramic ones and will probably have better luck.
I know too that the brand Nulo used to make a chicken flavored water enhancer with electrolytes (I call it cat Mio lol) but it looks to be discontinued? sadly. It worked great when I was taking care of hospice kitty with intestinal lymphoma who would not drink.
He *is* drinking water, but I have to be sitting right beside him, and it has to be inside of his safe square, but I think the fountain will be more enticing and maybe get him to play in the water too!
(Here's a picture of the teeny weenie the day or two after I rescued him
IMG_20220603_111701~2.jpg
)
 
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FlamepointPrince

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What about Purina Hydra care?

Or using a treat like a Churu and and adding extra water to make a soup? My cats quite like Churu soup.
One of my cats did not like the flavor of the Hydra Care, so I wasn't set on it, but Churu soup is a good idea, doubt he can resist that.
 

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Look at that little tiny face! How did you find him?

I completely hear you on fountains and some of the newer ones are probably much easier to manage. Mine prefer an older style Drinkwell that is actually easy to clean, motor and all, but can be very fiddly to fill and to get the water to cascade out in a stream. Some cats like very deep containers of water, almost like an infinity pool. If you have an old coffee carafe or anything of that type it might appeal to Caspian.

Rikki was lovely to the vets until the day that he came home without two little peanuts and he reformed his opinion. (nothing went wrong). He has to be sedated from time to time, which I don't like, but it can be necessary. The first vet to whom I took him in our last emergency did not want to sedate him as they were almost at closing time, so could not get his temperature. It ended up being 106 by the time we got to the other hospital.

It sounds as if Caspian has extended his fear to the outside world now. It is sad to think that he is so terrified.

I have not found where the Nulo enhancer is discontinued, but a number of outlets are listing it as "out of stock" which might be the same thing and Chewy appears to only have some for dogs.
 

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So it looks like you have plenty of amazing responses! I really hope my experience might be able to help you to some degree. As I have someone of a similar experience to you that I finally have some remedy for.

To make it quick, I have an elderly cat that went through the death of my heart cat that really put him in an emotional spin to begin with. But then he suffered a scary event on top, only it was around his food. So queue 3 years of food smells triggering his fear, he'd starve himself until he finally ate. Lost a lotttt of weight. I managed to work him back into a somewhat reliable eater again, but he would spiral too.

That was until recently, when I introduced two kittens into his life. A lot of people are trying to say that it may cause him a lot of stress, but after watching a lot of Jackson Galaxy videos, he had me convinced that pretty much any cat can get over other cats being in their environment if you introduce some correctly, mainly because they are more social than we know. I withheld for 2/3 years getting another cat because I was afraid the change would stress him out and just tip him over the edge. When in fact it's actually helped really distract him from his fears. And the kittens eating around him now that they all tolerate one another, has motivated him to become extremely regular with his own appetite and eating. He's nearly the same as before the trauma. Don't get me wrong, he did NOT enjoy them at first, and it felt like forever for him to stop hissing, but it almost distracted him in a good way.
He had his own space to live and reign that they weren't allowed into until he was ok with it. So there was never stress, he'd just go inspect them through the gates, hiss and walk off.
Kittens are pretty good at respecting adult cats, especially ones that are grumpy like that. Another cat can also help teach him things are ok. The introductions just need to go slow and correctly.
 

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Sounds a bit like my Indy from the first post. It sounds to me pike that first incedent really spooked him.

Indy is a rescue so I don't know much of her background except that coyotes killed most of her littermates except her and her brother (who someone else adopted). She is a big lovebug not afraid of anything and loves to sit on people's shoulders. Purrs as soon as you glance at her and can do it for hours on end.

Anyways, Indy has a bit of a Dr jeckel and Mr hyde side to her. If something spooks her she goes full feral. She has bitten me hard enough I have scars from her on my hand. I believe she remembers the incedent from her past so she is just trying to protect herself.

I'm not sure exactly how this relates to your cat but some do have a Dr jeckel and Mr hyde side to them.
 
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FlamepointPrince

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Look at that little tiny face! How did you find him?

I completely hear you on fountains and some of the newer ones are probably much easier to manage. Mine prefer an older style Drinkwell that is actually easy to clean, motor and all, but can be very fiddly to fill and to get the water to cascade out in a stream. Some cats like very deep containers of water, almost like an infinity pool. If you have an old coffee carafe or anything of that type it might appeal to Caspian.

Rikki was lovely to the vets until the day that he came home without two little peanuts and he reformed his opinion. (nothing went wrong). He has to be sedated from time to time, which I don't like, but it can be necessary. The first vet to whom I took him in our last emergency did not want to sedate him as they were almost at closing time, so could not get his temperature. It ended up being 106 by the time we got to the other hospital.

It sounds as if Caspian has extended his fear to the outside world now. It is sad to think that he is so terrified.

I have not found where the Nulo enhancer is discontinued, but a number of outlets are listing it as "out of stock" which might be the same thing and Chewy appears to only have some for dogs.
So, a stray female cat gave birth to kittens in my backyard. (I'll make a separate post at some point about my experience with raising an orphaned neonatal kitten, because it was a lot!)
I had seen her in and out of my backyard a few times, but then I heard the squeaking of newborns coming from under a tarp one day. She was definitely a stray as she was always fearful of humans, so I never touched anything near her babies and left them undisturbed. But once I heard the babies, I started setting out food for her. She was eating the food, but on day two she decided to move the kittens. Unfortunately (or fortunately for him!) she left him behind (as I only heard one little squeak).
And believe me, I waited for hours.
I confirmed that he had been orphaned after setting out more food (watching from a window indoors where she couldn't see me) I watched her climb the fence, eat the food, groom herself casually, completely ignore his crying, and then leave.
And that evening fatherhood was bestowed upon me.
It was a perfect situation, because of the hot weather we had in May of 2022, it kept him warm under the black tarp when his mom left, and to find him to be 100% healthy, warm, pink, and clean was incredible. Knowing what I know now I would have intervened earlier, but it's been a learning experience.
(Also, I haven't seen her around in quite some time, sadly- I was planning on TNR'ing her because she was so young)
(Went down a rabbit hole there, that's why it needs its own post lol)
Veering back, I'm ordering him a stainless fountain, so we'll see how that goes! I think this whole situation is just going to be a slow process, one day at a time, and I just have to work with him to rebuild his confidence. The CBD so far seems to help take the edge off of his anxiety, so fingers crossed.
 

Alldara

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So it looks like you have plenty of amazing responses! I really hope my experience might be able to help you to some degree. As I have someone of a similar experience to you that I finally have some remedy for.

To make it quick, I have an elderly cat that went through the death of my heart cat that really put him in an emotional spin to begin with. But then he suffered a scary event on top, only it was around his food. So queue 3 years of food smells triggering his fear, he'd starve himself until he finally ate. Lost a lotttt of weight. I managed to work him back into a somewhat reliable eater again, but he would spiral too.

That was until recently, when I introduced two kittens into his life. A lot of people are trying to say that it may cause him a lot of stress, but after watching a lot of Jackson Galaxy videos, he had me convinced that pretty much any cat can get over other cats being in their environment if you introduce some correctly, mainly because they are more social than we know. I withheld for 2/3 years getting another cat because I was afraid the change would stress him out and just tip him over the edge. When in fact it's actually helped really distract him from his fears. And the kittens eating around him now that they all tolerate one another, has motivated him to become extremely regular with his own appetite and eating. He's nearly the same as before the trauma. Don't get me wrong, he did NOT enjoy them at first, and it felt like forever for him to stop hissing, but it almost distracted him in a good way.
He had his own space to live and reign that they weren't allowed into until he was ok with it. So there was never stress, he'd just go inspect them through the gates, hiss and walk off.
Kittens are pretty good at respecting adult cats, especially ones that are grumpy like that. Another cat can also help teach him things are ok. The introductions just need to go slow and correctly.
Sounds like my Nobel. I truly believe that Magnus increased the quality of his life tenfold.
In his last few years he was playful again and tried new things.

I think the personalities of the cats impacts whether or not specific cats can live together, but that it's very rare a cat prefers to be a solo cat. (We had one that preferred dogs.)
 

fionasmom

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That is quite a story! I found my Jamie under very similar situations 7 years ago, clearly abandoned by his mother and in bad shape. Mother cats abandon kittens for a variety of reasons, not all being that the kitten was the sick one or the runt.

Caspian may take some time to use the fountain, but I have had success with them. There is a probiotic supplement by Purina called Calming Care which my vet recommended to me when a female cat had an attack of FIC. It is like FortiFlora in that it seems to enhance the taste of food when you sprinkle a little bit on. Some member of TCS have said that they had success with it, although I was not sure. The cat for whom it was prescribed is very calm, so it was hard to tell.
 
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FlamepointPrince

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Hello again everyone, I figured I would wait a few weeks before posting an update again.
It seems that the CBD did the trick, while he's not 100% and completely fearless, I'd say we're about 90% there to his old self.
His personality has come back, he's outgoing again, and goes into different rooms in the house. He's playing again like he should, is back to his mischief, and I've also been able to move his litter box back to its original place.
I gave him .25 mL of oil, with a concentration of 20mg per mL of CBD, once daily in his wet food. If anyone is interested I can give more details on the brand and flavor and such.
I think the CBD was key here as it didn't sedate him or make him drowsy- it just made him peaceful? content? I don't know how to describe it exactly. it took about a week to see obvious results, but it was crucial, as it allowed him to play without being in fear and be more receptive to everyone's suggestions, exposure therapy, and positive reinforcement.
While doing some in depth research, I've had to accept that this may just be something we'll have to deal with now in adulthood, as orphaned bottle babies often struggle with severe anxiety it seems. So the CBD is just something I'll have to keep on hand and use as needed. Knowing this now, I just have to take even more consideration into changing even the smallest aspects of his environment, and will give him CBD an hour or two before vet visits.
In the next few months I'm also considering adopting an additional cat, I really do agree that it would be good for him. He's incredibly socialized with other cats and is very friendly, so if I get a younger and smaller cat/kitten and are introduced properly, I don't see how it could go poorly.
I cannot thank everyone enough for the thoughtful, kind, and helpful responses!
I also hope that my experience/this thread is helpful to anyone else with similar issues.
 
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