Fluoxetine for Cats
Next in our blog’s behavior series is a drug called fluoxetine. Most people know of this drug by its trade name “Prozac.® Specialty Care Pharmacy is happy to offer this drug as a generic in the compounded medium you need.
Fluoxetine is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) and it works in cats in a similar fashion to humans. While it is an “anti-depressant” in people, it is used to treat a variety of behavioral issues in cats.
It is often prescribed as an additional therapy for cats with behavior problems, such as:
- Inter-cat aggression
- Inappropriate elimination (urinating or defecating outside the litter box, urine spraying)
- Impulsive behaviors
- Explosive situations
- Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome
- Situational Anxiety
It is important for owners and veterinarians to start behavioral therapy alongside medication.
What is behavioral therapy or modification?
‘Behavioral modification’ can include training techniques and changes in the cat’s environment. Sometimes simple changes like moving where a litter box is located in the home can make a difference in unwanted behaviors. Reward-based training and rewarding cats with treats can also go a long ways to ‘un-do’ bad behaviors.
Fluoxetine and Inter-cat Aggression
Sometimes introduction of a new cat into a household can spark behavioral issues. It is important to try to introduce new cats gradually and give tasty treats as rewards to reinforce calm behavior. Separating new cats into separate areas of the house for 2 weeks is a good start, especially with a new kitten. Doorways can be blocked off with “baby gates”, allowing the cats to see and smell each other but not physically interact. Separation can also help prevent transmission of diseases, such as upper respiratory infections, which are common in shelter cats and young kittens.
Even when cats are introduced slowly, aggression can still occur. These cats can benefit from fluoxetine.
Often,cats start on a low dose for 1-2 weeks and then the dose is increased to the desired effect. This process helps reduce the chances of side effects. Few side effects are seen with this medication but are possible, including anorexia, tremors, lethargy and irritability.
Situational Anxiety and Fluoxetine
Some cats benefit from fluoxetine prior to a stressful event. For example, some cats adjust better to a new environment, like a new home, if they are taking fluoxetine for several weeks before the move. Fluoxetine is not a sedative or a tranquilizer and will not make your cat sleepy for car or air travel. It can simply help the cat to be a more calm during the entire process.
Talk to us today about our compounded fluoxetine products. If you are concerned about your cat’s behavior, please talk to your veterinarian to see if it could help your pet.
1. Norsworthy, Gary, et al. The Feline Patient. Third Edition. Chapter 179 – IntercatAgression. Deborah F. Horwitz. p. 408-411.
2. Plumb, Donald. Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook. Eighth Edition. Fluoxetine HCl. p. 627-629.