When Shadow joined my multi-cat household, the muscular heavy feline made a mad dash for space below the couch. Several cat behavior problems later, the vet recommended Valium for cats to treat his separation anxiety. Valium?
Separation Anxiety Impacts Cat Health
Shadow was a rescue thrice over. First taken in by a friend, he was shuttled between crates when the friend died. I ended up taking him because, frankly, he evidenced some cat behavior problems nobody wanted to deal with. Before long this huge animal had come to terrorize my smaller felines, took to defecating in the most inappropriate places and refused to have anything to do with me.
The Cat Health Guide confirms that stress does indeed lead to cat behavior problems and adversely impacts cat health. In the case of Shadow, the death of a beloved human caretaker and the subsequent shuffle from locale to locale – frequently confined to a crate for long periods – did precious little to help relieve any separation anxiety he may have felt.
The experts trace back this behavior to the brain’s hypothalamus that reacts to stress by inducing a fight-or-flight response. When the condition persists, the toll it takes on cat health leads to aggression and a host of other (related) problems.
Treating Cat Anxiety with Valium
Valium for cats is not unheard of. The Pet Place advises that diazepam (known to humans as Valium) has not received the Food and Drug Administration’s seal of approval for veterinary care. Even so, veterinary professionals are legally authorized to prescribe the drug off-label for pets.
When my vet first talked about Valium for cats, I was unsure about the treatment option. That said, after administering the first dose, the muscular feline was visibly relaxing. He still growled and spat, but the edge of aggression had toned down quite a bit.
Over the next week, I made sure to keep up the dosing schedule. Shadow had begun to take an interest in canned tuna, which made hiding the ground up pill rather easy. My other cats breathed a collective sigh of relief. After a couple of days, Shadow finally sauntered into the hallway closet to visit the litter box.
At the end of the second week, I weaned him off the Valium. The separation anxiety had dissipated, his health was restored and he was now actually bonding nicely with me and the felines already in residence.
It is noteworthy that Shadow lived with me for about a decade before he passed on. He made it through some subsequent apartment changes and a cross-country move without problems. His one and only bout with separation anxiety was successfully overcome with Valium for cats.
Even though it sounds like an unorthodox treatment to a cat owner who has not seen the full extent of damage that cat anxiety causes, Valium is well worth the discussion with a veterinarian when cat behavior problems (due to anxiety) are insurmountable.