Hi , I'm James DVM MRCVS and would like to help you with your question
Could I please ask you the following questions first :
1. How long has it been going on
2. Is he on any medications
3. When where his blood tests done and do you have the results
4. Could you think of anything else which might have coincided with him starting to act like that - new animal in the area , refurbishment, new people next door .
5. did you vet perform a full neurological exam
6. can you notice anything else strange about his behavior?
Hi James, this has been going on for over a year now and worsened when we lost two of our older cats within 10 weeks of each other at the end of 2012. Merlin was a 9 days premature kitten bred by a friend of ours- a very responsible breeder-but he died when he was a few days old and she resuscitated him. My vet has checked for neurological signs and I wondered if he was slightly brain damaged.
His blood tests were done earlier this year and I could obtain the results but haven't got them here.He is not on any medication.
There is nothing else strange about his behaviour. He seems to want to be the only cat as he is quite dominating with the other cats in the household. They have all been here much longer than he has and he was reasonably ok with them when we first had him.
Thank you very much for you answers
the issue at hand could due to several possibilities
1. Behavioral : it is well established that cats are solitary animals - They are not a pack animal and so would rather live their lives alone with no other cats near them or even in sight . they have learned to except us (see us as big silly cats which mean no harm) . When cats live together that results in a level of stress which they eventually need to succumb to . Some take it better then others but others are not as forgiving and when they feel that they are strong and dominant enough to take hold - they can lash out at the other cats or even owner . The Feliway pulgin is a great option but at times it is not enough to overcome the stress levels .
Yes, I realise this as I have had cats all my life and been involved with Cats Protection for over 20 years, studied behavioral issues. It seems funny that he is worse now we have less cats. We had 8 cats at one time and never had any issues, they have different areas to get away from each other, separate feeding stations and litter trays.
2. Neurological - here we must consider two schools , one being neurological as a result of a systemic disease (not all show up on the regular blood test) . There are several metabolic disease which can have an effect the neurological system - they usually come along with other very noticeable symptoms so I would mark them at the bottom of my list . the other school is primary neurological disease . it very well might be that Merlin is suffering from some type of CNS disease which is centered in the brain . could be a benign growth or scaring , could be any other pathology as well though .
Let me ask you - When was the turning point ?
The only thing I can think of is that the two character lost were a calming influence on him, they were very placid and the photos I have of him when he was younger he was always with the two that are now gone. We naturally grieved for them and accepted that the cats would too but it has gone on for a long time now.
I might very well be that they have served as a very close integral part of his young life . Cats which are kept very close together in their young lives will formulate a dependency (a thing which is unnatural to them on the instinct level) .
How long ago did they pass?
The beginning of 2012 after we lost Mach and Mika.
and is it since that he has being acting like this , or are we talking about a gradual development of this behavioral pattern ?
Sorry, it was beginning of 2013 not 2012. It has definitely worsened since then as he became aggressive towards me which he hadn't done before, but he has always had a very strong will and doesn't like being corrected at all.
I think that we are more likely dealing with a stressful issue and that might require a more intense treatment then just herbal medication .
Today - animal psychology is a very developed field, one in which there are veterinarian specialist .
What do you suggest?
What I think we need to start with as first step would be a low dose medication which would elevate the stress and improve his quality of life .
I am referring to psychogenic medication on a very low dose which might help ( I know it sounds horrible but it's really not)
There are many drugs from that group which could be applied and it does not mean he will need to be taking them for his entire life .
Some like 'Mirtazapine' are very mild and you need to give a low dose - then is can advice from there . As well I would advise to have your Feliway diffuser pluged in at all times . one diffuser per floor
Even though remote - we must consider a possibility of some neurological disease which is as a result of actual structural changes in the brain . this can be easily discovered by means of MRI .
And Lastly - you can consider making an appointment to see a specialist in animal behaviors (you vet can help you find one) . And see what he thinks of Merlin's act .
Ok I will make an appointment with my vet to discuss these options.Thank you.
You are welcomed