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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So we've had an ongoing issue with Biff peeing places like our bed, we've been through everything and the vet is now recommending we try amitriptyline as it seems to be stress-related. I'd love to hear from anyone who has tried this, any tips/advice? did you try a behaviourist too? did the drug work?

Medical history:

He had urine crystals - after several months urinary dry in addition to his usual wet food, crystals are gone
He had an infection - he's still on cystaid/cystophan 2X a day, has been for months, the last sample we got had a tiny trace of protein, he has had clear results at other points.
His urine is too concentrated - we have cut back his dry fod and pushed the wet more but it remains concentrated.
He was bringing up hairballs a couple of weeks ago which could have explained the urine concentration at first but not now. Seems he gets UTI's triggered very easily.
Hairballs - is fine now, got him on hairball remedy.
He's generally very stressy and can be aggressive. We use Feliway, haven't been without it for a year now but i don't think it does anything!
 
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Has the vet recommended or have you tried Cystease or Zylkene (Herbal stress relieving drug)?

I have never known amitriptyline being used on cats as it's used for depression, pain or neuropathy in humans and is very potent and there have been reports of it being quite psychedelic leaving patients having hallucinations etc (I only know this as I know someone whom I care for has been on it). Perhaps one of the other members might know about the use of this in cats?
 
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I forgot to add Cystease or Zylkene can be purchased over the counter, no prescription needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We have tried zylkene in the past, but hadn't been in the last few months as vet wanted us to make sure we were doing one thing at a time so we could monitor one treatment at a time so try to understand which ones were working. One thing which has consistently helped has been painkillers, and I notice amitriptyline is also used for chronic pain. Seems like these is a big circle of stress - infection - pain - stress - behaviour problems going on.
 
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We have tried zylkene in the past, but hadn't been in the last few months as vet wanted us to make sure we were doing one thing at a time so we could monitor one treatment at a time so try to understand which ones were working. One thing which has consistently helped has been painkillers, and I notice amitriptyline is also used for chronic pain. Seems like these is a big circle of stress - infection - pain - stress - behaviour problems going on.
I didn't know it was used in cats I know it is used in humans for various things and the side effect list is quite extensive from, dry mouth to sleep paralysis, hypnopompic hallucinations a list of side effects is mentioned here: Amitriptyline - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Did the vet recommend this? As I haven't seen it mentioned for use in cats. I might be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I didn't know it was used in cats I know it is used in humans for various things and the side effect list is quite extensive from, dry mouth to sleep paralysis, hypnopompic hallucinations a list of side effects is mentioned here: Amitriptyline - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Did the vet recommend this? As I haven't seen it mentioned for use in cats? I might be wrong.
Yes, the vet has recommended it. I did ask about behaviourist too, she said we could try but there is also the risk that having a stranger visit the house could be another stress factor. But I think we're going to have to go with it. Biff can get on alright with visitors, he likes my brother and the cat sitter at least. I don't know what it is like having a behaviourist visit but I guess they are used to dealing with difficult cats.
 
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Yes, the vet has recommended it. I did ask about behaviourist too, she said we could try but there is also the risk that having a stranger visit the house could be another stress factor. But I think we're going to have to go with it. Biff can get on alright with visitors, he likes my brother and the cat sitter at least. I don't know what it is like having a behaviourist visit but I guess they are used to dealing with difficult cats.
One of the side effects with Amitriptyline is pain or difficulty passing urine. If your cat already has difficulty in passing urine or has in the past is it wise to give your cat medication that does this?

The behaviourist sounds a more sensible option. Biff would get used to the person coming around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That is weird. He doesn't have difficulty passing urine, but yes seems to have pain with it or pain in the bladder area. The vet said it isn't licensed for use in cats but that lots of drugs we use with cats aren't licensed for use with them. I'm not against the idea of it, its a bit decision to make though.
 
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Sorry I didn't want to put you off using it if the vet suggested this. I was mainly going off human side effects and now I have come across the cat side effects mentioned here (This is an extract):

SIDE EFFECTS

The most common side effect is drowsiness/sedation.

Anticholinergic side effects would probably not be surprising: dry mouth (manifested in animals often as frequently licking of the lips), urinary retention, constipation.

The most potentially dangerous side effect that happens with a realistic frequency is the exacerbation of a cardiac rhythm disturbance. For this reason, an EKG screening is recommended before starting this medication.

Tricyclic antidepressants can alter blood sugar levels.

In humans, side effects in virtually every organ system have been reported at one time or another which means that potentially any side effect could be attributed to the use of this medication in cats.
If your vet seems to think Biff will be ok on it consider using it.

If it was me I'd be cautious using it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It is so hard treating cats for stress isn't it? Vet says there's no way she can get a blood sample without putting him under anaesthetic because he is so wriggly/aggressive/stressed/aggressive at the vets. I hate the thought of putting him through that and she isn't recommending we do. She has not mentioned a EKG though, so that is a worry. Need to do more research, definitely.
 
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It is so hard treating cats for stress isn't it? Vet says there's no way she can get a blood sample without putting him under anaesthetic because he is so wriggly/aggressive/stressed/aggressive at the vets. I hate the thought of putting him through that and she isn't recommending we do. She has not mentioned a EKG though, so that is a worry. Need to do more research, definitely.
It is hard treating cats with stress my cat gets stressed easily as well but doesn't get aggressive but she has reacted well to the herbal drug Zylkene which helps her calm down.

I would advise doing more research as I said Amitriptyline is quite a potent drug and has various serious side effects associated with it. It wouldn't be a drug I would consider using on my cat.

Good luck with your research on the drug.
 

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I have had success with adding colostrum to the food for stress, and for the possible crystals, I add a human bladder/kidney herbal supplement that has the following in it: Ginger root, juniper berry, marshmallow root, parsley leaf, uva ursi leaf, cramp bark, and goldenseal root.

My Gwennie got stressed out over our last move and having neighbours upstairs, so she pees blood from time to time when the stress levels rise.
I did a ton of research about urine samples, false positives, etc., after the vet seemed terribly eager to put her on dry Rx food forever for a temporary issue. I could go on at great length, but the short version is hydration is key, so no dry food and add water to the wet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have had success with adding colostrum to the food for stress, and for the possible crystals, I add a human bladder/kidney herbal supplement that has the following in it: Ginger root, juniper berry, marshmallow root, parsley leaf, uva ursi leaf, cramp bark, and goldenseal root.

My Gwennie got stressed out over our last move and having neighbours upstairs, so she pees blood from time to time when the stress levels rise.
I did a ton of research about urine samples, false positives, etc., after the vet seemed terribly eager to put her on dry Rx food forever for a temporary issue. I could go on at great length, but the short version is hydration is key, so no dry food and add water to the wet.
Thanks dagny.
He is generally stressed a lot, very skittish no matter what we do. I think he probably does warrant medication for it. I do just want him to be comfortable and not in pain :(
The vet was good actually, explained that for urinary problems, scale would be:
Normal dry: worst
Urinary dry: better
Wet: even better
urinary wet: best
But he's super fussy too so we also have that to contend with. I added water to his wet food today actually! will try that again in future too. If he doesn't like the food I'm putting out, (e.g. we had him on only wet to try to tackle the concentration issue) he stops eating altogether, almost like he's making a protest!
We have also found clumps of hair like he might be over-grooming, but no bald patches, don't know where he's getting it from. But cause/effect so difficult to tell, is he in pain which is making him so stressed he's over grooming? hard to tell. But Amitryptine looks like it is also used for over-grooming so maybe it really is the treatment he needs.
Personally being on antidepressants myself, some have been horrific but others have been total life-savers so...just hope it works for him and he doesn't get bad side effects.
Thanks again for answering :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The vet phoned on Wednesday to see how Biff is doing. I really like that she did that! We had a long chat and are going to give Zylkene another try for 2-3 weeks. I'm also looking for a water fountain. She is going to look into who might see him about behaviour (she's new to the area), so there are some more things to try before the amitryptyline. I guess it is a treatment of last resort, because of the potential risks.
 

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Ive never found myself in the position your in, so its only a guesss what im going to say and perhaps someone more cat medical orientated could help

I didmt realise amitriptyline could be given to cats either.

I use it myself but only in a small dose..

I use it to 'help me relax' and sleep

The other one ive looked at, as a "natural' aid is valerian - i know our cats have toys with valerien in
 

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Shyboots, I have heard of amitryptiline being prescribed for stressed cats, but personally as Cuddlesmycat has said I would be very cautious of using it, and only if all else had been tried first.

So I am glad you are giving the Zylkene another go:)

What I think is important before turning to an anti-depressant is to be certain one has investigated thoroughly any possible reason for Biff to be so stressed and nervy.

I wondered if you could tell us more about Biff, how old he is, how long you have had him, and whether you have other cats, or dogs.

How many adults live in the house and do you have young children?

I appreciate some cats are more easily stressed than others, but for Biff to be exhibiting such persistent inappropriate toiletting behaviour suggests possibly a specific reason for it.

When did this behaviour start? Could you link the start to any changes in the environment?

How many litter trays do you provide? Would you say Biff is comfortable with the type of litter, the type of tray, and the positioning of the trays?

However, it is possible the weeing away from the litter trays is all down to the physical discomfort when he wees. If you have already tried Cystease or Cystaid and it has not helped, then increasing his fluid intake is a good idea, and a very good way to do this is to make home-made chicken or beef broth as most cats love these. :)

Basically, get cheap cuts of meat (or chicken carcasses), and cook
them in water in large saucepan for about an hour to an hour and a half. Keep checking to ensure liquid level more or less covers the meat. Add boiling water from the kettle if need be. When done, strain off liquid into a pyrex bowl or jug, cool, then put in fridge overnight. Next day skim off the fat and discard. You are left with a tasty jelly which you can scoop out a couple of tablespoons at a time, reheat in the microwave for 20 seconds or so.

If you give your cat some broth a couple of times a day this will increase his fluid intake quite a bit. Can also continue to add water to his food too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hey chillminx, thanks for your reply :)

Sorry I didn't put loads of details about Biff, I posted various places about him on the forum, although a long time ago, and I didn't want to bore people by repeating :eek:

He is 3 years old. We have had him for just over a year. I found him on gumtree (I know, I know, not a great idea but here we are) so I don't know a lot about his history.

In terms of his behaviour, he is in general a lot better than when we first got him. He used to bite a lot, he very rarely bites now. He only pees inappropriately occasionally, we seem to get a few months relief between episodes, and the last time it happened we discovered that he did in fact have crystals and cystitis. We had another few good months, after a period on loxicom painkiller, with him on the cystophan/cystaid and the urinary dry food continuously for several months now. Then he did two more pees on our bed - first time they found his pee was clear of crystals and infection but it was concentrated. He had been sick a few times that week trying to get a hairball up, so it was thought perhaps dehydration causing a bit of swelling and soreness in his bladder again. We kept him on wet food only for a couple of days and then he peed on the bed again and this time it was still concentrated but no other problems. So the vet gave us loxicom painkiller again and the change was immediate - he had been hiding away upstairs all the time, with the painkillers he was sitting in the same room as us, relaxed, he even rolled around on his back and showed us his belly which is a rare thing.

Sorry this is so long!

He is super, super fussy about food, he used to like a certain hairball remedy treat, then he stopped eating it. We found another one he is loving just now so the hairball thing is under control. I'm also brushing him every day so I think we're doing well with all that.

Oh also, he liked the urinary dry food so much, he has put on a bit of weight, which we hadn't realised, so we're being very careful with how much food he gets, as the vet said weight could be bringing on another touch of swelling in the bladder and it seems to be pain relief always helps him, so the bladder does really seem to be the central thing here.

So it could be with the cystaid/cystophan, urinary dry, encouraging drinking and watching his weight (deep breath!) we could maybe find a solution.

Here's hoping.

Other anxious behaviours are just being very jumpy, if you walk into the room too quickly or who knows what, he can get frightened. He growls sometimes, he growls at the postman, at lawn mowers. If one of us leaves the house he cries (I don't know if he does when we leave him alone but I do worry he probably does). Some cat toys scare him. He does approach and want stroking but only as much as he wants and when he's had enough is when the biting can come out (which worries me when we have visitors because he can switch very suddenly from being affectionate to biting). But that's fine, we've got to know his ways with that and how much he wants is fine, we give him his space and as soon as he has had enough stroking that's fine and always saying 'good boy' and being calm and things helps. He is weird though. He can come up to me, miaowing sort of angrily, and what he wants is stroking. Like he doesn't know how to communicate nicely.

It is just me and my husband here, Biff is an indoors cat, he has never been outside and I don't think he could cope as he won't be streetwise and we are near a very busy road and a motorway. I am concerned he might have been neglected and/or teased with his original owner. His name kind of suggests that to me, he can indeed be a bit “biffy”, but if he gets annoyed with us and biffs at one of us we ignore that or give him other attention like appropriate toys and playing. But if before, what if this lad who used to own him in his boys flat with his huge TV screen and computer games, what if they were a bit rough with him? What if he didn't get the play he needed and only got attention through stalking/attacking people? Or what if he was taken from his mum too early so he never learned how to be a proper cat?

Also he was only fed dry food before which has made it a job to get him to try wet food and eat more of it, and he will only eat one kind. Believe me, I have tried everything! Including introducing new foods one teaspoon at a time...one teaspoon he will tolerate...two teaspoons new food and he goes on food strike. I tried giving him a raw chicken wing once, he wouldn't go anywhere near it. He was very suspicious of cat milk and wouldn't try it. He will eat three different kinds of dry food that we know of so far. Sometimes he will take a little bit of plain cooked chicken or a little cheddar cheese and that is the sum total of what food he likes. Basically, his reaction to anything new is suspicion.

He has access to the whole house, plenty of room, cat tree and hidey places, cat beds, toys, tunnels, scratching posts which he loves and he is totally obsessed with rubbing his face on everything to put his scent there. Only one litter tray, in a nice private spot away from his food. He does seem to wait till one of us gets home before he'll use it – it tends to be empty when we get home from work, and will then go pretty soon after we get home, which again makes me wonder about his past – was he left on his own for too long at some point?

Have ordered a water fountain :) looking forward to trying that, hoping he will like it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ive never found myself in the position your in, so its only a guesss what im going to say and perhaps someone more cat medical orientated could help

I didmt realise amitriptyline could be given to cats either.

I use it myself but only in a small dose..

I use it to 'help me relax' and sleep

The other one ive looked at, as a "natural' aid is valerian - i know our cats have toys with valerien in
Thanks welshjet, I take fluoxetine myself and it is a total life-saver but it isn't for everyone...definitely proceeding with caution with what I give to my cat.
 
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