General Question

cak's avatar

My cat has flipped his lid, I think. Can anyone suggest something to calm him down?

Asked by cak (15858points) March 4th, 2009

Before I go further, yes, he’s gone to the vet. I believe the phrase, “Your cat is very interesting” was used, a lot. He is losing hair, no physical ailments have been detected. He hisses at the wall and then does his nightly laps around the house. Laps are normal, other two behaviors are not so normal. The vet gave him sedatives for the night were he seems to really be freaking out, but I hate to give him drugs.

Does anyone have any “calming” suggestions for my spazz of a cat? Really…it’s quite the show, but it gets to be a bit much. I do worry about him.

Nothing big has changed in the house – things are pretty much the same. I know it’s not an environment change.

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40 Answers

Jayne's avatar

Here’s an idea. Not a good idea, of course, but you can’t have everything.

By the way, I sincerely hope nothing is wrong with your cat.

elijah's avatar

He hisses at the wall? Is he seeing his shadow? Maybe he hears something in there, a mouse or squirrel. But then I think you would here it too. And that doesn’t explain hair loss. Hmmm I’m going to think about this one….

augustlan's avatar

Poor kitty… have you tried just holding him until he calms down?

cak's avatar

@Jayne – I saw that last night on the news! I would be shredded before I could get him in it! not advocating shoving the cat in a bong!

@elijahsuicide – I have no idea what he sees. I don’t think there is anything in the wall – no sounds or smells, but we are trying to listen and keep things quiet when he starts doing this – it’s nightly. It’s a pattern, now. All the blood tests, urine, fecal, and xrays were normal. He’s losing hair in one area, but I don’t see him licking too much (to indicate an allergy) and the vet didn’t notice anything, either.

@augustlan – we have, but it seems to make it worse, so I let him go. My husband – that’s his dad – they are close, can’t even hold him

Maybe there is something in the wall and we’re just missing it. I hope not! Ugh…we had one (mouse) when we first moved in…that is an awful smell!

essieness's avatar

Maybe he has hidden away a secret stash of catnip. Cats can be sneaky little bastards.

cak's avatar

@essieness—I hope that is the answer, much better than a mouse! ;)

elijah's avatar

But he only does it at night?
Where is his bald spot?

cak's avatar

@elijahsuicide – yes, only at night. You know, when things are peaceful and it can scare the living snot out of you? my daughter is holding out for him being possessed.

The bald spot is on his back. I don’t even notice him rubbing against something enough to consider that an issue.

He’s an adopted cat, a rescue – he was abused before he landed in paradise…you know, the home where the animals run the show. I don’t really know if it has anything to do with past behavior. He’s always been a bit of an oddball, but I worry that something is really bothering him and maybe it’s being missed by the vet.

Speak of the kitty…he just flopped down next to me.

elijah's avatar

That’s what makes me think of an animal in the wall, they move around at night. The bald spot is throwing me for a loop.

cak's avatar

He’s calm for the night…finally! I’m wondering if my husband can remove a cover and use the snake light to do a search. We’ll see.

Thanks for the opinion – I think we’ll keep an eye and ear out for things.

Jeruba's avatar

The bald spot and hair loss could possibly be related to an allergy. I ended up having to give my cat special baths in green medicine when that happened.

We used to have a cat who would sit about six inches from a spot on a blank wall and stare at it. Sometimes she would begin to leeeeaann to the right or left, as if she were in a trance…until we thought she would fall over. Of course we never guessed what she was seeing, but she sure saw it.

She and her sister would sometimes launch themselves in a bouncing-off-the-wall race around the house. I mean they would be sitting there quietly, and then, all of a sudden, they’d be airborne, scrabbling around the walls. And then just drop back down and settle. I just thought they were temporarily berserk.

andrew's avatar

You can also try getting a cat pheromone diffuser—I forget the brand name. Seemed to help when I had two cats.

cak's avatar

@Jeruba – He seems to be in a trance when he fixated on the wall. Nothing can deter him from watching the wall. I’m watching him throughout the day, to see if I’m missing something, in regards to his hair. I keep going back to allergies, but the vet wasn’t too convinced. I didn’t have anything to clue him into his loss of hair, since all the blood work was normal, he was at a loss for an answer.

@Andrew – I’ll look it up – it’s worth a shot. I just want him to be happy and calm, again.

@everyone – thank you!

syz's avatar

andrew is referring to Feliway, an aerosolized pheromone that is supposed to have a calming effect on cats. I have found that it only works on a small minority of cats, but for those who are affected by it, it works very well.

The hair loss could indeed be from allergies, but if you have a high strung (neurotic) cat, it may be psychogenic allopecia (overgrooming due to mental stress).

There are drugs that can be prescribed for self destructive cats (Prozac, for example), but I would eliminate any possible physical ailments first. If your vet is stumped by the hair loss, ask for a referral to a veterinary dermatologist.

cak's avatar

@syz – thank you, I’ll ask for the referral.

mdrnmouse's avatar

a sedative would do the trick…

cak's avatar

@mdrnmouse – he (the vet) prescribed some; however, I hate to rely on a sedative when there might be something wrong. That could just mask part of what is going on. He eventually calms down and goes to sleep – but I just want to make sure nothing was missed. Poor kitty came to us in bad shape, I just want to make sure the best is being done for him.

and that there truly isn’t a mouse in my wall!

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Could he be losing his vision and seeing only shadows? The stress from that might be causing hair loss. We had a dog that would lunge at shadows on the wall…

tinyfaery's avatar

Some may balk, but I take my cat that has restrictive cardio myopathy to a holistic vet/DVM. My girl is going on 3 years since being diagnosed and she is not having any problems. I also took my cat that also bites at a certain place on her body and my vet mixed up an herb concoction. I give it to her once a day and no more bald spot. Just a suggestion.

Zaku's avatar

There is some truth to the idea cats can see (and hear) things we can’t . Is it possible you have rodents or insects or birds in your walls? Or are you noticing the shadows cast on the wall?

I have a cat who prefers chasing shadows to actual pray, which was demonstrated when she’d get up early and watch the birds by facing the wall where their shadows fell. Light reflections from the tops of beverages in direct sunlight were also fascinating. This cat also does laps at night. She’s usually very happy though and isn’t losing any fur.

Many cats are also zen masters and feng shui savants, as well.

As for your daughter’s idea, the bald spot doesn’t look like anything, does it? ;-)

Oh, and suggestion for calm: other forms of entertainment and exercise (I almost wrote exorcise)?

Oh, and another is catnip… which will cause hallucinations but often ends in calm… for some cats.

jca's avatar

a few years ago i had a favorite cat named Baby, who was really like my baby. He got toxoplasmosis, which resulted in him acting totally psychotic. He would whirl in circles, growl, hiss at nothing, bite his tail until it was bloody. Took him to vet, got it diagnosed. It was actually scary, because he would wake up in the middle of the night growling and spinning, i was afraid he would attack me. The neighbors would see him in the yard, growling and spinning and acting psycho. Anyway, the medicine was working, he was on it for a few days, he still had those symptoms but less. I could tell he was still not feeling right, though. He disappeared one night and my neighbor told me she had seen him dead in the street, hit by a car. He never ever went near cars, he was always afraid of cars and never went near the road at all. I believe he was confused, ill, not “in his right mind” and that’s why he went near the street and hit by a car. If i were you I would get a second opinion….. Just to be on the safe side…..

elijah's avatar

@jca that is such a sad story. I’m sorry your kitty died.

cak's avatar

I’m taking him to a specialist, tomorrow! I just don’t want to risk something big going on and not treating him. I would push further for my kids and basically, he’s another child to me.

@tinyfaery- homeopathic isn’t something that scares me, I just want to make sure they really didn’t miss something, first! :)

@AlfredaPrufrook- I’ll mention the vision issues (or possibility of an issue) to the vet, tomorrow.

@Zaku – I have to be careful with catnip and the cat…he doesn’t calm down, he gets hyper. Figures!

@jca – I’m so sorry about Baby. Thank you very much for taking the time to share that with us. I just am not comfortable with leaving things the way they are, so I made an appointment with a specialist and will be taking the cat to see him.

@everyone – thank you for all the ideas and opinions. I appreciate your time.

marinelife's avatar

Please let us know what the specialist says. This sounds awful to go through. Have you tried Rescue Remedy?

cak's avatar

@Marina – I haven’t heard of it before, but I just read about it. Interesting – no, we haven’t tried it, but it sound like something that might work.

tinyfaery's avatar

Rescue Remedy is fantabulous.

z28proximo's avatar

Yeah, the only thing I can think of that hasn’t been mentioned is radiation exposure. It can cause bald spots where the skin isn’t growing as it should anymore and explain acting a bit crazy. Though I really don’t think it is, I guess you never really know.

augustlan's avatar

@jca I had a cat named Baby when I was a teenager. I’m sorry about what happened to your kitty.

jca's avatar

thanks, guys, for all the nice words about my experience with Baby. it still kills me to think of him, and i feel guilty when i think that i should not have let him out during that time, and i wouldn’t have if i had known he would be confused. toxoplasmosis was no joke. he was mutilating his tail – it was bloody and scabby. it was so sad, and what was saddest was that once he was gone, it was too late. i’d definitely say get a second opinion and let us know how it goes.

amanderveen's avatar

I would definitely recommend the Rescue Remedy. My sister-in-law has a cat that she very nearly had to put down because he would randomly go through spells where he would turn into a demon cat and attack everything and everyone in sight. Quite literally, she had to use a chair and broom to back him into a room where she could shut the door on him when he went off his rocker to protect herself, her roommate and her other pets. She was in the process of making arrangements to put him down because she’d tried everything they could think of, and the cat was just plain dangerous during his “spells”. A vet finally recommended Rescue Remedy. It worked miraculously. In the 5 years or so since she’s started using it, her cat had one freak out session, whereas it used to happen regularly before. Definitely try it out. She says it’s really cheap too – you only use a few drops a day.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m sorry, but I’m having trouble figuring out what Rescue Remedy is from the link. You make some sort of mix of floral perfumes and make your cat smell it? How do you know which scents to use?

tinyfaery's avatar

You put a few drops of it in water or directly in the cats mouth. You can take it too, if you like.

amanderveen's avatar

It is just a herbal tincture by the name of Rescue Remedy. Here is another link with some info about it. My sister-in-law just puts a few drops into her cat’s water.

Alyanna's avatar

When I was in school our cat started acting crazy – not as predictably as yours Cak, more sporadically. We took her to the vet and found out she was having mini-stokes. The vet said every time she had a stroke she just kinda lost her memory and didn’t know what to do, so she’d act crazy. He gave her some medicine (not sure what, sorry) and she lived for years after that.
Your vet’s probably already checked for signs of a stroke, but I just wanted to mention it as a possibility.

jca's avatar

cak: what’s the solution? what did you do?

elijah's avatar

I’ve been thinking about your cat, any news?

cak's avatar

@everyone, sorry it took so long to get back to you – I wound up in the hospital….long, boring story.

He’s doing ok. He’s still freaking out a bit, but the specialist did determine he has allergies. We switched his food and he has allergy pills. His evening freaking out moments, the vet said that can be perfectly normal, he may just be seeing some shadow. His vision (I wasn’t there, I was sick…how do they check a cat’s vision??) was good.

The hair loss seems to stem from the allergy and he said he noticed (they had him for a full day) over grooming. I guess I’m not seeing all his actions and realizing that he’s a bit OCD in the grooming department.

Thank you for asking about him – he’s a little sweetie, total nutcase, but I love him!

augustlan's avatar

Glad he’s doing ok. Now, how are you doing?

cak's avatar

@augustlan – I’m ok. I had an infection that wasn’t going away. Good thing, too. My entire family had a nice stomach bug. It seems like I dodged the bullet on that one.

daemonelson's avatar

While you may not like the idea of sedatives, they tend to work quite well.

Alternatively, you could get a pheromone diffuser. Plugs into the wall, pumps out a smell which can cause tiredness apparently. Worked quite well for my cousin’s maniacal dog.

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