The Taming of Kai | Behaviour Issues

If you are new to my blog, there are a couple of relevant things you should know before we get to Kai’s behaviour modification program. Firstly, I live in the Philippines where it’s common to have domestic staff and drivers. It’s not exploitation, which I also address here in my article on Linked In; it provides fulfilling employment to locals who would otherwise not be able to support themselves or their families. My helper Lyn is an absolute wonder, and intrinsic to my household. She has a good job with me, is well paid and loves her work.

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Kai is sleek and shiny

Secondly, the issues around Kai’s behaviour reached an intolerable level over recent weeks. He has been bullying Lulu for some time, and was previously a significant factor in Maxi being rehomed after he made her life so unhappy. He’s still part feral and is easily stressed. He displays a lot of territorial behaviour and pees all over the place. His territorial peeing instigated territorial peeing by Lulu, Chico, Pip and Asha.

To address the fighting and peeing issues, I have tried the following:

  • Calming collar
  • Feliway atomiser – in the room in which they sleep, in the lounge and kitchen
  • Feliway spray on their beds
  • Pet Rescue Remedy in their water
  • Separating Kai and Lulu overnight
  • Spirit Essences
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Kai on alert

 

For 9 cats I have 13 litter trays in various locations using two types of litter. They each have their own food bowl and are fed over a wide area several times per day. They have 4 water fountains inside and one bowl outside. They have an enclosed garden with a cat flap for access from 6am – 9pm, and two catios at the back of the house with cat flaps for access 24/7.  They have an abundance of nice places to sleep, cat condo’s, high perches and climbers and lots of toys. What they don’t have is enough of me. I am the scarce resource.

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Focussed Kai

Over the last few months, the peeing has become worse and the fighting with Lulu escalated. One day Kai decided to show Chico who was boss, which started a round of fighting between those two – this time with Chico as the regular instigator. The stress in the house surrounding Kai has become palpable and the peeing worse.

Lyn cleans my house from top to bottom 5 days a week, yet it was starting to smell like a toilet. I have a black light to highlight the pee areas after dark, and was horrified to find stains on the walls in almost every room. I had to take some action. Kai had a full physical and dental examination and there is no physical cause for his behaviour.

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Kai has beautiful green eyes

In discussion with a friend who had suffered similar issues, she shared her experience putting her cat on prescription medication. I consulted with several vets in Cebu and my former vet in Manila, but none could advise me on the medicine, so I had to go it alone. I was able to buy Fluoxetine over the counter in Cebu, which is Prozac, a popular antidepressant for humans. I was only able to buy 20mg capsules; my research showed that 10mg was a standard dose for a cat.

I proceeded with caution, without the oversight of a vet. Breaking the capsule open, I gave him 1/8th of the powder mixed with some cream cheese, which is quarter of the recommended dose. There were no adverse reactions, so I increased the dosage to 5mg, which is half the recommended dose. After a few further days, I increased it to the full 10mg dose. Lyn decided to try giving it to him without the cream cheese and managed to get the powder into his mouth, but the second day of this he figured out how to salivate to eject it. I’m also not happy with this – I’m sure it’s very bitter tasting. I’m trying to find Fluoxetine in tablet form instead of capsule as this will make it easier. In the meantime, my next technique is to use a syringe with the powder mixed into tuna water.

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Cautious Kai is cautious

At the same time, I moved one of the Feliway vaporisers into my bedroom, as Kai sleeps with me at night. This is causing a bit of jealously amongst the kitties, but I’m hoping once there is some long-lasting behaviour change in him, he may be able to move back into the cats’ room at night.

So far it’s been a week, and Lulu has been playing in the lounge room near Kai today. And yesterday I caught him grooming Tully – something he’s never done before. Last night Asha tried to pick a playfight with him and he didn’t rise to the bait, so I think the medicine is working.

Putting a kitty on prescription human anti-depressants is not something I wanted to do or would recommend. And I certainly don’t recommend anyone takes this step without the guidance of a qualified veterinarian. Unfortunately, I felt I had no other option to preserve my sanity and the health and well being of all the kitties in my care.

 

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Kai’s paw and a smile in the background
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Kai’s sweet feets
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8 thoughts on “The Taming of Kai | Behaviour Issues

  1. I hope his more subdued behavior continues…

    The territorial spraying also bothered me with my then un-neutered male cats…so i had them neutered and had them spent a month in a cage (separately). The peeing had already stopped and they can roam freely again now.

    It is a huge task taking care of 9 kitties…(and 12 in my case, all indoor!) I always wonder how my household would be if i only maintained 4 cats…but when i see all of them living happily and comfortably… i am happy too and my wondering thoughts remain to be, well, just wondering thoughts. Haha.

    I really look forward to your blogs coz i learn a lot from you! I just cant afford all the stuffs you have for your kitties…theyre lucky to have u indeed…one day, im gonna have that cat condo too for them to climb and play with…still saving for one now. :)

    Keep writing michelle. And i hope Kai’s behavior improves… have a great week!

    1. Thanks so much Grace, I appreciate your feedback! I can’t imagine having 12 inside! I also sometimes think how much easier and harmonious life would be with only 4 kitties. But then where would the other 5 be today? Not nice to speculate on that…..

  2. I admire all your efforts to help Kai and your other kitties – it’s certainly a labor of love. I’m a licensed veterinary technician in the US and sometimes medication is needed for certain patients. It’s definitely not out of the ordinary for a veterinarian at my practice to prescribe fluoxetine – only after full medical work up has been done and a complete history of behavior issues has been shared and understood. We then revisit the patient to see how medication is working and how behavior is modified. With fluoxetine it takes a few weeks for full effects to be seen but you did the right thing to introduce it slowly to Kai in increasing doses before giving him the therapeutic dose. I’ll be following along to see how he does! I wish him all the best. ❤️

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback! None of the vets here could advise me at all, so getting endorsement from someone who knows what they’re doing is very reassuring. My only concern is that his trust in humans is already very fragile, and capturing him to medicate him every day seems to be making him more nervous everytime we approach. Is this likely to improve when the meds take effect? We re giving him a treat after each dosage.

      1. It sounds like you’re doing the right thing with associating his medication time with treats. It’s hard to know if it will be easier when the medication has taken full effect- the most important thing is that the routine is predictably enjoyable for Kai so the medication aspect is not on his mind, but the treat is. Fluoxetine is available in tablets I believe, in 20mg tabs which would have to be broken in two for cats. It can also be compounded into intra-dermal where you rub it on the ears, or in a liquid form as well. I’m not sure if that’s an option in Cebu. I’m happy to talk to my vets to see if there’s any way we can advise you on any questions you have with his treatment. :)

        1. That is such a generous offer you are making to Michelle. I hope your vets agree to advise. I’m an IG follower and was wondering how Kai was doing. Don’t feel the need to respond if the answer is in your other posts here that I haven’t read yet.

        2. Hi there, I appreciate your advice. Do you know if your vets are able to ship some prozac transdermal gel to me? I can buy Prozac here without a script, but I’m having problems getting it into Kai (see my latest post).

          Thanks,
          Michelle

  3. You are a must resourceful person and Kai is so handsome. Good luck. I have 5 down from 12. The others were adolescents and went to loving homes. I always think and worry about all the cats I’ve found homes for and hope they are all happy and safe. The stress of this concern eventually caused me to drop out of rescue. Anyway, 5 is easy!

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