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Older cat OCD?
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Winterblue2 posted:
Hello Dr. I have a senior kitty who is the smartest cat and just so lovable. This is not really a problem, I don't think, but we read each other with body language, he's also a talker and tells me what he wants. What I consider what may be a problem is he is so attached to me. I'm not complaining but the older he gets I've noticed that he has to know where I am, has to be near me and when we are laying down, he has to be touching me somewhere. He also sleeps with me at night and is just so trusting with me. Fortunately, I am on disability and I'm home with him most of the time. There is someone else in the house, but he isn't as attached to this person. Is this a form of OCD? I worry that if I had to leave the house, for instance a hospital stay, that he would not eat and become very depressed. Is this normal?

A little background may help. He is a retired outside cat. The last owners moved to a condo, were always working and didn't have time for him. He was alone a lot but I've had him now for about 4 years. They would have him stay with me when they had to leave town and finally decided he should just make this his permanent home.

This may sound like a silly question, but I do worry about this.

Thanks for your opinion.
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AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
Bernadine Cruz, DVM responded:
It sounds like you have a very special loving relationship with your cat. Having a cat that is confident enough to be on its own for periods of time is marvelous. When a pet MUST be with a person at all times AND becomes stressed when they can't be, this is typically referred to as sparation anxiety rather than OCD. Pets can literally have panic attacks when their owners leave them, injuring themselves and damaging items in their environment.

You might try having your housemate observe your cat when you leave to go to the market or doctor's appointment. How does it react? If it does show signs of being stressed, you should start separating yourself from it for very brief periods of time (go to the bathroom without it) and slowly extend these periods of time.

I hope this helps...
Dr. Bernadine Cruz
 
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Winterblue2 replied to Bernadine Cruz, DVM's response:
Hello Dr. Cruz. I posted 4 months ago to ask about OCD and my older cat. Since he is an older kitty I started him on a regiment of cosequin b/c I noticed that his bones crack (like mine) sometimes and thought it might make him a little stronger. Well, he seems to be more talkative, plays a bit more, more explorative with his cat furniture, but his not wanting me to leave the room is getting out of control. I do not know if this new regiment is causing this or it's just a coincidence. He has always been a mellow kind of fellow and now when I leave to use the bathroom and I'm gone for a long period, he sits in the living room and howls even if he is not alone in the room. You could almost compare his howl to the kind of howl you often hear when two feral male cats are outside of your window. This I've never heard him do before. If he doesn't get his way, at times, he will grab my leg and nip me. He has done this before once in a great while a few times in the past, but it's getting to be a more regular thing w/him. He is terribly spoiled and rules me (totally my fault).

With the cosequin, I changed the way I had been feeding him. He was on a dry food diet but I added a tablespoon of canned food, which he just loves and cut back a tiny bit on the dry food on the days (every other day) he gets his cosequin, per the instructions. My questions are, could the cosequin have made him feel less like an old man and he's feeling his oats so to speak, lol? Is he unhappy that he doesn't get his canned food everyday? Also, I've changed my routine a bit. I used to get up super early, feed him and in a few hours we both would lay back down and take a short nap since I usually do not sleep well. Now, I have a chronic sinus issue and I'm in and out of the bathroom all morning and our routine has changed with our morning nap.

Kinda changing the subject here but I think I will start giving him both canned and dry food. I've read that a good quality canned food is more natural for them, provides more fluids that he needs and he does seem to love it. Maybe this would make him happier. Anywho, I'm confused and think I should try more of what you suggested before with slowly separating myself from him for even more extended periods of time.

What do you know about this cosequin? Could it be that? Should I take him off and see what happens?

Thanks for your take on this.
 
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Winterblue2 replied to Bernadine Cruz, DVM's response:
Hello again Dr. Cruz. I just posted another discussion ref my cats behavior a week ago. While checking to see if you had replied to my post yet, I thought I would add to my post about my cat getting stressed when I leave the room. You mentioned possible panic attacks and I suffer from panic disorder. I know some pets can pick up on their owner's moods, etc. Is this a possibility? Just curious.

I also posted a question about Cosequin and will wait for your reply.

Thank you.


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