Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Anxious Ragdoll Cat

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Claude123, Apr 14, 2020.


  1. Claude123

    Claude123 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    5
    Hi all,

    We adopted a Ragdoll house cat about 18 months ago and have had some problems with his anxiety over that time. We wondered if anyone had any suggestions on the best way to manage it?

    We think he has a good diet and all the usual things which would make a cat happy. Here's his background and current treatments:
    • He's 7 years old
    • Former stud cat, re-homed when no longer being used as a stud cat.
    • Previous owners had lots of cats and animals in general, and thought he'd benefit from being in a single cat household, which he is now.
    • He did display some anxiety when we went to see him in former home, so think it's an ongoing issue for him from before we adopted him.
    • However, most of the day time, he's a relaxed, happy cat.
    His anxiety consists of:
    • Over grooming
    • Vomits his food after eating. Occasionally makes howl noise at night and vomits stomach acid (if not having eaten recently)
    • scratching at mirrors at nighttime
    • crying at night time, and for food or to be let out to use the little tray. He has a cat flap but chooses not to use it at night...
    • occasionally makes aggressive noises and does a 'snakebite' on me. But generally always with me like a shadow. In fact completely he ignores my partner and relays on me to feed and play with him.
    The treatments we're using to manage it are:
    • Injection of Depot every 6 to 8 weeks from the vet. This is his main treatment and works well in the short term. When the Depot comes out of his system, vomiting and over-grooming become a problem.
    • Ranitadine added to food. This has helped manage the vomiting after eating quite well. It still happens occasionally and doesn't help with the night time stomach acid vomiting.
    • Provera 5mg 2x a week.

    Is there a better treatment option than the above for a anxious cat? I was wondering if the anti-depressant type treatments used on people for anxiety would also work on cats? Or is there a behavioural approach which might work best?

    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    29,782
    Likes Received:
    26,503
    Hello @Claude123 and welcome :)

    As your Ragdoll is no longer working as a stud, has he been neutered now?

    Could I ask why he's been prescribed Provera.? It is a powerful drug and can have unpleasant side effects.

    They may include :
    depression and lethargy
    increased intake of food and water
    suppression of the immune system
    hair loss
    changes in behaviour
    enlargement of the bones

    Also may react with corticosteroids. (e.g. Depot)

    Depot is often used to treat a chronically inflamed bowel which it sounds as though your cat suffers from. I have had 3 cats with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, one cat is one of my current cats. Anxiety can trigger attacks of IBD, but according to my vet is not usually the cause as such. My current cat with IBD does not suffer from anxiety - except when he has to go the vet.
    .
    I didn't want my cats with IBD treated with steroids because of the risk of Diabetes Mellitus. In fact I had adopted one of the cats from Rescue when she was aged 14 and she already had Diabetes which had been caused by long term treatment for her IBD by her previous owner.

    I manage the IBD symptoms through diet. My current cat's IBD is quite well controlled and nowadays he rarely vomits or has diarrhoea.

    It took about a year to find foods that his digestion could cope with. These are good quality high meat protein wet foods that I buy online from German websites. He had never had much dry food, but even half a dozen pieces a day was a disaster for his digestion (same thing with my other cats with IBD). So I stopped buying any dry food and his vomiting decreased substantially.

    My boy also has some home cooked meats as part of his diet (turkey drumstick, pork mince, lamb kidney ) as well as poached white fish twice a week as it is very soothing to the stomach.

    My cat is fed 8 small meals in 24 hours. My vet approves of this. It includes 2 meals during the night which are left for my cat in a timed automated feeder. This number of meals is necessary to prevent him getting a build up of gastric acid on an empty stomach and vomiting bile. When he does vomit occasionally, I give him 5 mg famotidine (antacid) a day for a few days. But that is the only medicine he ever has for managing his IBD.

    I would certainly recommend that you leave food in a timed feeder for your cat through the night. I think you will find it makes a big difference to his health. I feed 32 grams of wet food per meal, making a daily total of 256 grams. This amount is weighed out exactly as it keeps my boy satiated and keeps his IBD under control, without making him overweight.
     
    #2 chillminx, Apr 16, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
    Claude123 and gskinner123 like this.
  3. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    27,594
    Likes Received:
    44,489
    If his litter tray is outside, he really should have one or two indoors.

    Given he was a stud cat (and kept in being entire) perhaps he’s anxious being outside?

    I assume he’s been spayed now?
     
    Claude123 likes this.
  4. Claude123

    Claude123 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    5
    Hi,

    Thanks for your suggestions.

    Yes Claude had been neutered.

    Regarding his medication, I've just gone on the vets' recommendation. I think he said that Provera was prescribed initially due to what he thought was an imbalance in sex hormones.

    I reluctantly get the Depot injection, but it gets to a point when he's overgrooming so much he scratches his fur off and grazes his skin. I don't currently have a way of managing that without the Depot. I'm reluctant because he loses a bit of his personality for a few weeks after the injection. He's calm, but not playful.

    It would be great to be able to wean him off the Depot and the Provera at some point.

    Excellent suggests I will try. It does make sense that an additional littler tray and a timed feeder could make quite a difference (I thought the timed feeders were just for dry food, so hadn't really considered it).

    Regarding food, he usually has a mix of the Ragdoll Royal Canin dry food and a pouch of wet Sheba fish food mixed together. It's funny, because some times he just seems to eat the wet foot, and at other times he's not interested in the food I put down until I stir through some of the fish paste treat stuff (which can't be good for him). And other times he only wants the dry kibble, so I put that down and he'll eat it, although I think when he prefers the dry food it's often when he's going through periods of vomiting. I've also tried the Royal Canin 'Calm' kibble, but he doesn't seem to like that.

    Chillminx - the 5 mg famotidine (antacid) you give to you cat, is that for is he vomits bile or vomits his food straight after eating? Does it need to be prescribed by a vet? Also, can you advise on the website you recommend for decent quality food?

    One other query - we sometimes wonder if he's lonely having come from a environment busy with animals, to being the only animal in the house (other than the baby...) We've considered getting another cat to keep him company, but seems quite risky if they don't get on and we don't really want another cat per se, just want our cat to be happy. Also the previous owners (breeders) seemed to think he'd be better off in a single cat house hold. What do you think?

    Thanks
     
  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    29,782
    Likes Received:
    26,503
    Hi @Claude123 - I think that he may be better living as an only cat tbh. Life as a working stud is not a great life for a cat, in spite of the obvious compensations for him. He may have spent a lot of time on his own in a pen and even if he was brought indoors when he was not working, he still may not have had much one to one interaction from his owner, if there were a lot of other animals in the home. As he has now retired from a working life, I consider he deserves to have a peaceful life with his humans to himself. :)

    Provera is sometimes prescribed for entire male cats to suppress unwanted sexually associated behaviours they may have e.g urine spraying indoors. But if it is now about 18 months since your boy was neutered then the levels of his sex hormones will have fallen very low. He should no longer need the Provera and I am not sure how it can be of any benefit to him now he is neutered. You could maybe ask the vet if your cat could have a test for his hormone levels with a view to weaning him off the Provera, It will be better for his longterm health to be off it.

    As he gets very itchy when he is off the Depot this suggests a food allergy, or an environmental allergy. Sadly feline food allergies seem to be becoming much more common in our domestic cats than they were say 20 or 30 yrs ago. 3 of my current cats have food allergies, involving skin problems. These have all been controlled with diet.

    The most scientific way to identify food allergies is by means of an elimination diet, in which Stage 1 involves 8 to 10 weeks on a diet of NOVEL protein. For a cat raised in the UK a novel protein is kangaroo meat, goat meat, horsemeat, reindeer. Generally kangaroo is the most readily accepted. I used kangaroo for 2 of my cats elimination diets.

    Nothing else is fed for the 8/10 weeks, just fresh water to drink.

    Stage 2 of the diet involves introducing each of the usual proteins, one at a time every 3 weeks,. e.g. start with lamb, then turkey, then pork, then rabbit, then venison, with chicken, beef and fish as the last 3 challenges because they are the most common feline food allergens statistically.

    Details of the diets and where to buy the special single protein foods is contained within the pinned thread on the topic on these boards;

    https://www.petforums.co.uk/threads/elimination-diets.509821/

    You will not get an accurate result while he is on the Depot. Being long acting, the effects of the Depot would take about a month to wear off. You can start the diet before the Depot has worn off, but would need to add extra weeks to the end to compensate and reach a true result.

    The famotidine I give to my boy is given either if has vomited bile or vomited food. If he vomits food it is always right after eating (so it's more 're-gurgitation' than vomiting) but I know it is because he has too much acid in his tummy. Since he has been on 8 meals a day including the 2 meals at night, he has not vomited/regurgitated for a long while.

    Famotidine is not licensed in the UK for use for a cat (neither is ranitidine) but most vets prescribe it. And it can't be bought OTC in the UK. I could get it from the vet but I prefer to buy it myself from the USA as it's cheaper, even taking account of delivery costs. One bottle lasts me a long time.
     
    Claude123 likes this.
  6. Claude123

    Claude123 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    5
    Hi Chillminx,

    Thanks again for all the useful info. I'm glad you don't think another cat with solve Claude's problems!

    I'll have a chat to the vet about the medication suggestions to consider dosage and any other factors I wouldn't be aware of.

    I've got an auto feeder on the way in the post, and have set up a second litter tray already so will see how I get on with those two changes in the short term. Also gives me some time to read your other thread and make decisions regarding diet.

    I'll keep the board updated on any changes we see in Claude on the coming weeks!

    Thanks again
     
    Lurcherlad and chillminx like this.
  7. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    29,782
    Likes Received:
    26,503
    It will be good to hear how things go @Claude123 - please let me know if I can help with any questions on the Elimination diet. :)
     
  8. Forester

    Forester trained by Dylan

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    Messages:
    4,907
    Likes Received:
    6,593
    The link between stress and IBD is widely recognised, chronic vomiting being a common manifestation of IBD.

    @Claude123 , have you done any reading about IBD ?

    If not, this article might be a good starting point: https://www.allfelinehospital.com/inflammatory-bowel-disease.pml

    I'm an owner of an IBD sufferer. My boy was diagnosed by biopsy at Langford and has 3 types of inflammation in 4 separate areas of his gut. I've always believed stress to contribute to his condition. My boy failed to respond to all medical treatments but did improve with a raw diet. Would you consider giving this a go ? It is often the case that cats will tolerate a protein when it is fed raw although they cannot cope with it cooked.

    Probiotics , and prebiotics might also be helpful.

    http://www.rawfeedingforibdcats.org/probiotics-for-cats---why-and-which-ones.html

    HTH
     
    buffie likes this.
  9. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    Messages:
    25,682
    Likes Received:
    23,257
    @Claude123 I have to agree with @Forester concerning the link between stress and IBD .I have noticed that if Meeko also a ragdoll (8 years with IBD) is exposed to stress /changes in routine this causes a flare up of his symptoms.
    If he is ever bad enough to have to be seen by his vet one of the first things he askes me is whether he has had any changes or upsets to his routine , he is even wary of putting him through any procedures which might cause any stress
     
  10. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    29,782
    Likes Received:
    26,503
    @Forester - thank you for the link to the article on Feline IBD. I have printed it out for future reference. Very useful. :)

    I do understand that in some cats, flare ups of IBD are triggered by changes in their environment etc causing stress. The same can be true with human IBD. I have a friend who has had IBD for years and any kind of stress in her life can trigger a flare up, or worsen an existing flare.

    I didn't know the veterinary experts are now suggesting the disease of IBD can actually be caused in the first place by stress. I can see from the example they give - i.e. a cat living an indoor life lacking in stimulus or challenges could result in chronic boredom and frustration, which in turn could lead to stress which could cause IBD. And I can see that a cat who suffers from chronic idiopathic cystitis (which we know can be related to the cat's living situation) might - in theory - also develop IBD due to the same stressful situation they were living in.

    It makes sense what the experts are saying. :). However my own gastroenterologist whom I saw regularly for 20 years was very particular to distinguish between IBD and IBS. His opinion was that IBD is not caused by stress but that IBS is definitely caused by stress (I have had IBS myself for about 40 yrs) However, he did consider that flare ups of IBD could be triggered by stress.

    In the case of my cats with IBD the vet diagnosed it 8 years ago (for both cats) on the basis of clinical symptoms. No biopsy was done as the vet did not consider it necessary - she said my cats' symptoms were "classic" IBD. She did find thickening of the small intestine on examination + of course the regular vomiting and diarrhoea. There was no mention of stress being a cause, the vet considered that allergies were the likely cause and that diet was the way to manage the illness. Luckily for my cats diet was/is the solution. It took me a year to find foods they could tolerate and once I had, their symptoms were manageable. (I know this is not the case with every cat with IBD. x)

    One of my boys with IBD is no longer with me (he died last December of thrombosis). He was the most confident, sweet natured, calm cat I have ever lived with. I really miss him for his soothing companionship. He took everything in his stride (even the day he died he was quite calm) . MY OH and I live a quiet life, but even the few 'disruptions' we do have (eg. occasional visitors or tradesmen) never caused my cat anxiety or stress. He was always the same, and his IBD symptoms did not worsen after any changes to his routine etc,

    My other boy with IBD (who is still with me) is also a calm cat, though slightly less confident than his brother was. One thing he really hates is being at the vets. After vet trips he is definitely stressed. This boy suffers from diabetes mellitus as well as IBD and he is unwell for up to a week after a vet trip. He gets withdrawn, lethargic, sleeps more than usual, loses all his sparkle, and his blood glucose levels go awry. But there is never any flare-up of his IBD.

    The only thing that causes him a (brief) flare up nowadays of his IBD is if he doesn't eat every 3 hours. But with approval from my lovely vet last year I decided to start feeding my boy 8 small meals a day including 2 during the night (left in an auto-feeder) and this has made a big improvement to his IBD symptoms. All his meals are weighed out on scales and recorded, and he has a special diet.

    I will certainly do some wider reading on recent articles on feline IBD - it will be useful for me to bring myself more up-to-date with recent developments and theories.

    Thank you again for the link and for starting (or restarting) me on reading up on the subject. :)
     
  11. Silverdoof

    Silverdoof PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2014
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    228
    Hi
    Just wondering when you mentioned he goes outside? Most ragdoll breeders advise not letting them outside. Over the years it has been bred out of them to make them the ideal housecat. They have no homing sense and many get lost if they go outside. Forgive me if your garden is secure or you have a catio

    Was just wondering if after years confined as a working cat and confined, does he find going outside stressful.

    We have found feeding specific hairball food very helpful especially with the long haired cats. Our little Siamese has IBS - rarely eats dry, so we give her hairball paste which she eats from a tube

    our Ragdoll thankfully can eat whatever she is given

    would love to see a photo of your boy, this is Evie
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Claude123

    Claude123 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    5
    Hi all, thanks for you comments, some interesting points raised.

    Silverdoof - good point about Claude going outside. We only have a small catio area which is rarely goes in without us there. I try and encourage him to go out there by by himself as I think he's stimulated by the smells and noises outside. Also this time of year he like to chase flies which keeps him entertained without me running around the house with a toy, which is great!

    Forester & Buffie - I think in Claude's case, the stress is the affect and another factor is the cause. I think this because I'm observing a regular pattern of behaviour in the weeks after his Depot injections wear off.

    Forester - thanks for sharing the article on IBD an interesting read.

    I've had a consultation with a different vet than usual (via the Joii app, free with the pet insurance I have), and she essentially thought Claude may have an allergy. She suggested trying food with Hydrolysed proteins (this a a treatment option in the article you linked to Forester, along with the Novel protein diet). The two options on the market are Royal Canin anallergenic (dry) and Hills ZD(wet & dry). So I've ordered some of the Hills stuff and will give that a go. Claude is quite a fussy eater so it may be a challenge! The next step after that according to the vet is a consultation with a behaviourist and dermatologist.

    Will keep you posted. Cheers
     
  13. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    29,782
    Likes Received:
    26,503
    Thank you for the update @Claude123. :)

    It is worth bearing in mind that hydrolised protein diets do not help every cat with IBD or skin problems. Those diets were no help at all to my cats who have allergies or IBD. Only the elimination diet helped by identifying their allergens.

    I mention this because if the hydrolised diet is no help, I wouldn't take it as conclusive evidence that Claude does not have food allergies.
     
  14. Silverdoof

    Silverdoof PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2014
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    228
    the vet put one of our cats on z/d she ate it for a while
     
  15. Silverdoof

    Silverdoof PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2014
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    228
    Did your cats have skin scrapes and blood tests carried out if skin related to identify what they were allergic to?
     
  16. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    29,782
    Likes Received:
    26,503
    Blood tests are known to be unreliable and therefore a waste of money when it comes to diagnosing any kind of allergy in cats, including those causing dermatitis.

    Yes, skin scrapings were taken by the vet and sent to the lab for testing for ringworm and various other skin diseases. Results were all negative.

    Basically the cat had FAD (Flea Allergy Dermatitis) which he had long before I adopted him. But, as can happen with FAD, even when it is treated ( fleas are gone) it triggers other allergies, in his case it was food allergies. These were diagnosed successfully by means of an elimination diet. That was some years back and he has had the culprit foods excluded from his diet since, and has had no more dermatitis. And, naturally, he has ongoing preventative treatment against fleas.
     
  17. Claude123

    Claude123 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    5
    Thanks for the pointer re the elimination diet Chillminx.

    Quick update and query about Claude...

    He likes the ZD kibble, but doesn't like the ZD wet food. When I mix the ZD wet with his usual wet food, he walks away in disgust shaking each individual leg as he goes.

    Do you think it's feasible to move him completely onto the dry food? I don't think he'd enjoy it much as it currently only makes up about 1/3 his diet, and I often have to mix in the Webbox fish paste treat to get him to eat anything. Alternatively, any thoughts on techniques to make him like the ZD wet food, or is that not an option if a cat has already made his decision?

    By the way, the additional litter try and kibble left out for him over night next to where he sleeps is making for less stressful night times for everyone. I can't get him to eat out for the autofeeder I bought, but will persist!
     
  18. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    29,782
    Likes Received:
    26,503
    @Claude123 - I wouldn't move him onto a dry food only diet, I would see that as a backward step in terms of his long term health.

    Unfortunately many cats do not like the Hills ZD wet food. My cats with allergies wouldn't touch it, hence my use of an elimination diet to identify their food allergies.

    Claude needs to enjoy his food. I assume you gave him the ZD wet several tries on consecutive days, just a teaspoonful at a time on a separate dish alongside his usual food? If so and he still refused it I think you need to give up on it as he has made his opinion of it clear.

    To get Claude to eat out of the autofeeder, separate the autofeeder dish from the autofeeder and feed him his meals in the dish during the day for several days. Once he is OK with that put the dish in the open autofeeder and feed him in that. (with it left open) Once he is used to that, try experimenting during the day time with his favourite treats in the closed feeder.
     
  19. Claude123

    Claude123 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    5
    @chillminx - that's good advice about the autofeeder, I will give it a go this week.

    If the ZD wet food is not good for Claude, the next steps are either trying the elimination diet or a consultation with a specialist vet I guess. I may try him again on the ZD wet this week as I have another 23 cans to use!
     
  20. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    Messages:
    25,682
    Likes Received:
    23,257
    Hills ZD wet food according to my lad is the work of the devil and I have to agree with him.
    It looks horrible and from what I have read from other responses to it tastes as bad as it looks.
    I would give it a miss and return it for a refund , Hills will take it back if your cat wont eat it .Did you buy it through your vet or on line ?. Not that it matters they will refund you either way.
    I went down the "specialist " route with my lad which really didn't help a lot as they agreed with my vet that it looked likely that he did have IBD but without invasive full thickness biopsies taken it couldn't be confirmed ,rightly or wrongly I didn't want to put him through that.
    Elimination diets were never going to work with him as he is a fussy sod of a cat and refuses point blank to eat anything he doesn't like.
    In the end we found that a combination of Famotidine (antacid) / Bioglan (probiotic )and Sheba fine flakes has made a huge difference to his vomit patterns.
    I'm not advising that you try this diet simply saying that sometimes there is an easier way to work around it.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice