Tag Archives: feline

Feline PTSD

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I have a wonderful kitty by the name of Punkin who has feline PTSD.  Here is his picture.. is he not incredibly handsome!?

 

Punkin, September 29, 2017

 

A few months after adopting him in 2014, one morning out of the blue, he attacked our little American Eskimo dog, Dixie.  She wasn’t even looking at him when he suddenly jumped her.  My husband & I both hollered Punkin’s name, which got his attention fast.  He looked almost as if he woke up.  He looked at us & Dixie, then ran off & hid.  We checked on Dixie & thankfully she was fine, just very shaken up.  While consoling her, my husband & I talked about what happened, & I told him that the way Punkin looked reminded me of how I felt after a flashback.  I knew animals could be traumatized of course, but I was unsure if it could develop into PTSD.  I did some research & learned it absolutely can.  Since I have C-PTSD, I felt somewhat equipped to deal with the situation.  It’s been quite the learning experience to say the least!  But, my husband & I have learned & I wanted to share it for you other cat parents out there in case you too have a traumatized furbaby on your hands.

 

In all fairness, I’m not positive how the symptoms show up in other animals, but I believe they’re rather similar.  Our late dog, Bear, had been abused & once in a while he acted quite a bit like Punkin does.  I believe he had a milder case of PTSD than Punkin has.  That leads me to believe the symptoms are probably quite similar among animals, not just among cats.

 

PTSD symptoms in cats are quite similar to humans.  They have an extremely sensitive startle reflex, so they sometimes react inappropriately to situations.  If they get scared, fight or flight instincts may take over.  Punkin tends to freeze- his pupils dilate & he won’t move.  They can be very anxious too, which means they may be skittish, hide or potty outside the litter box.    Separation anxiety can happen too.  They’re hyper vigilant, always extremely aware of their surroundings.  Getting angry easily can be another symptom. as can being depressed.  Signs of depression can mean losing interest in things they normally enjoy such as food, playing or snuggles,   They may have nightmares, which you can see by how they sleep.  Most cats twitch a bit in their sleep, but a cat with PTSD will do so more often & violently.  Another big clue is they avoid things that can be similar to the traumatic event.  I believe due to how Punkin attacked Dixie his trauma was related to a dog.  She was the only animal or person in our home he ever attacked.  And yes, they can have flashbacks.  If you haven’t seen someone have a flashback or if you don’t have them, it can be hard to identify.  When Punkin has had them, he doesn’t look  quite like himself.  His eyes get huge & you see fear written all over his face.  He also acts completely out of character, like when he attacked Dixie, then suddenly stops.  The first time it happened, he hid for quite a while, but after that, he returns to normal in a few hours.  They also make him very tired.

 

There are some ways to cope with feline PTSD that I have found to be pretty successful.

 

I talk to Punkin.  I tell him I understand what he’s going through, & it stinks.  It’ll be ok, though, there is no one or nothing here that will hurt him.  He’s safe & surrounded by other cats & people who adore him.

 

I also follow his lead.  Punkin is very loving, but not particularly snuggly.  Sometimes when the PTSD flares up, he wants to be left alone & other times he wants me to hold him.  I do whichever he wants.

 

When Punkin has bad days, I do my best to remain completely calm in his presence.  Cats pick up on the energy of their humans, so if I’m calm, he’ll be calmer.  I don’t tell him “calm down”.  Instead, my energy says everything is fine, & there is nothing to be upset about.

 

Catnip is a life saver!  I started giving it to him to try to help his anxiety levels.  It didn’t take him long to learn that it helps, so he goes to it often & voluntarily when his symptoms flare up.  I got some very soft, fuzzy socks from the dollar store for this purpose.  I put some catnip in a small rag, tie it up, & put it in the sock.  Punkin also likes jingle bells so I have some with bells inside, some without.  He picks whatever he likes as he needs his ‘nip.  Since it doesn’t work for dogs, I used to give Bear valerian root pills.  The smell is very strong & it tastes pretty yukky, so it wasn’t easy to get him to take it at first.  It didn’t take him long to realize that it helped though, so he began going to where I stored it to let me know when he needed some valerian.

 

Some pet parents also get tranquilizers for their pet from the vet or use other calming aids that are readily available.

 

If you too have a pet with PTSD, following these steps really can help.  I’m happy to say that Bear turned into a very loving, gentle dog from an aggressive one & Punkin’s symptoms are managed very well.  He rarely has flashbacks anymore, & his anxiety levels are much lower in general.

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Feline Stroke

Good  afternoon, Dear Readers!

Although I usually write about narcissism & its traumatic effect on others, today I want to take a break from that topic.  Since many of my fans love animals as much as me, I’m sure you won’t object.

Last night, I watched the show, “My Cat From Hell.”. It’s a great show!  The cat behaviorist on there, Jackson Galaxy, is very wise & helps many cats.  Sadly, sometimes the cat parents or vets he deals with aren’t so wise…

I became livid last night while watching this show, because although the cat parents tried, their vets failed them miserably! 

A couple had a 14 year old cat who would fling himself around in his sleep!  They were afraid, & rightly so that he could hurt himself!  Their vets said he was fine.  Yet, a feline sleep specialist immediately realized kitty had a stroke, & his brain was damaged in the area that affected his sleep.  At this point, kitty was shown walking away, & I recognized that wobbly walk as my  own kitty Jasmine had the same walk after her first stroke!

How did vets not recognize that distinctive walk??  How didn’t they recognize his eyes acting oddly either?  It broke my heart!

For some reason many vets don’t recognize or properly treat strokes in cats!

My Jasmine had 4 strokes before she passed away.  After her first, the vet told me to ” just put her down.  It was the only humane thing to do.”. I knew he was wrong in spite of his fervor, so I walked away from him.  My girl lived 2 more happy years with only a sway to her back legs a clue to her strokes.

Thank God for His wisdom!  He showed me how to treat Jas  at home, & introduced me to a good friend who is an amazing vet technician.

Feline strokes are often similar to human strokes.  Symptoms can include:

Lethargy.  Loss of interest in things once enjoyed, like special toys or foods.
Eye issues. Jasmine’s eyes darted side to side.  Some cats also experience uneven pupil dilation.
Facial paralysis on one side.
Inability to move.
Cold limbs.
Seizures.

If your cat experiences these symptoms, get her to the vet immediately!  If you feel her diagnosis is wrong, listen to your gut feeling!!  I did & am forever grateful I had 2 more wonderful years with my Jasmine!!

As far as treatment, many cats recover completely a few weeks from a stroke with no known cause.  Others may have kidney disease, hypertension, hyperthyroidism or another cause for the stroke.  Those cats need medication to properly treat those serious illnesses.

No vet told me this but after Jasmine’s second stoke, I put her on one 81mg baby asprin twice a week (more can be toxic to cats) & massaged her often to keep blood flowing.  I believe God showed me she needed this the day of her second stroke.  She had trouble walking & her left rear leg was cold until I did these things.  She recovered quickly from that stroke.

Feline strokes are terrifying of course, but often they can be managed.  Keep a close watch on your kitty if  he has a stroke.  Exercise wisdom.  Talk to several vets if need be.  Try not to panic, as hard as it can be! Pray & pray often!  Remember that your baby needs you to care for him, & God entrusted you with his care.

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November 10, 2013

Good morning, Dear Readers!

While I was lying in bed unable to sleep yet again last night, I realized something.. I haven’t given any updates on Pretty Boy since I asked for prayer for him.  I did on my personal fb page but not here.  I forgot.  I am sorry!  Thank you so much to those who have been praying for him!  I pray God will bless you abundantly in return for the favor you have done for me!  

Pretty Boy’s maintaining pretty well.. lost a little more weight I think, but is in good spirits & about as active as he ever was (which isn’t very..he’s always been the couch potato type.  lol).  Evidence says that the problems with his liver are indeed a carcinoma, as the vet suspected.  She doesn’t expect him to have much time left.  However, he is going to enjoy every possible moment of whatever time he has left, & he is getting the best care possible to help him be as healthy as possible until the end.  He is surrounded by love, especially from his brother who is constantly close to him these days.  He seems quite happy, frequently looking for snuggles from the other animals or my husband or I.

Logically I know my vet knows what she is talking about with our situation.  She is an amazing vet, & full of love, compassion & insight.  She also knows Pretty Boy really well.  However, I also know God is capable of miracles.  And, when this type of situation arises, which sadly is inevitable when you have pets, I have learned to lean on Him more than usual, expecting those miracles.  I have been asking Him to give Pretty Boy the best possible days, & to help him not to suffer.  I also ask God for a complete healing, but if that is not His will, then when Pretty Boy’s time comes, please make it quick for his sake.  I have prayed like this for every animal I’ve had, & every single one has not suffered.  Even the ones with long standing illnesses were able to take less medications & lived longer than the doctors expected with a good quality of life.  God has truly honored my prayers, & I am truly grateful for that.  

I never have been comfortable with euthanasia, & do not want to be put in the position again of having to decide whether or not my pet lives or dies.  I have been there only one time, & it was horrifying.  When my beautiful snowshoe kitty Jasmine had her first stroke, we took her to the vet.  He said she had either cancer or pancreatic issues, & wouldn’t live much longer.  I should “just put her down.”  As I looked into her lovely blue eyes, I just knew in my heart not only was that not right for her, but she didn’t want it.  I told the vet no, & he scolded me for being “selfish & inhumane.”   I have never seen that vet again, & he left the practice shortly after.  I took her home, & within a couple of days, saw Jasmine was recovering rather than getting worse.  I then met a friend who is a vet tech who diagnosed Jasmine has having had a stroke, NOT cancer or pancreatic problems!  She lived almost exactly 2 more years, healthy & happy, with only a slight sway to her hips the sign of having had a stroke.  If I had listened to the vet, she would have died prematurely!  We would’ve missed out on 2 years with one of the most amazing cats God’s ever made, & she would’ve missed out on 2 years of love & fun with her family.  Also, during that 2 years, Jasmine had 3 more strokes, only her final one 2 days before she passed away being quite severe.  The other ones, as soon as possible after the stroke, she would walk the house over & over.  That may have saved her life- it made the blood clot move through her body rather than staying in one spot.  She was so smart, strong & an inspiration.

I know I’m kinda all over the place with this post..so sorry!  Please bear with me- not much sleep has been happening the last couple of nights!  Worrying about Pretty Boy & difficult conversations with my mother 2 days in a row have affected my sleep habits. 

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