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Schrodinger Beethoven Dickson-Lorenzen is my first and most favorite kittyface. He purrs when he sees me, naps on my lap for hours while I’m working, and meows at me to turn on the bathroom faucet for him every night.
However, dude’s got some issues. He is pretty terrified of people and has a lot of anxiety. Now, some cats are shy naturally, but I don’t think that’s the case with Schrodes. He really loves people and loves being cuddled and pet, but he seems to be held back by his fears. He also still hisses at my husband John on a regular basis, although they’ve lived together for over two years now.
Based on my knowledge of his backstory before he was given up to PAWS (out in Chicago, they’re amazing) and his current emotional and physical health, here’s what I think probably happened. His previous owners got him declawed in his front legs. This resulted in his feet being really hurt by the cat litter, so he developed cat litter issues and ended up peeing basically everywhere else (the surrender papers were pretty awful to read). I’m guessing his previous owners got very frustrated by this and abused him in an effort to train him to stop doing it. He’s got one kidney that’s larger than the other, which probably means he was kicked at some point.
He stopped eating when he was at the main PAWS facility in Chicago, so they put him in a foster home with my bestie Holly. I met him through her and fell in love with him. For a long time, we had to put puppy pads in the litter box for him so he had a soft place to put his paws when he used the box. He hasn’t needed that in a couple years now, but it really helped him at the beginning when he was still recovering from the declawing and his previous owners’ abuse.
He was a pretty anxious cat who seemed lonely when I wasn’t around, so I adopted Ziggy Stardust pretty soon afterward so he’d have a friend. They’ve been great bros since and get along really well. He’s much happier now, but he’s definitely still got anxiety issues.So finally, last August, I went to the vet, explained the whole situation, and asked if we could get him on some anxiety meds. He’s been on daily Prozac ever since. He’s been on these meds for the past year now, but it took a LONG time to get him to take the meds regularly and consistently.
My Initial Attempts:
First, I just gave him the pills in his food. He quickly caught on within a week or so and refused to touch them.
Second, I put the pills in pill pockets, which i then hid in his food. I got a few weeks out of that before he refused to touch it anymore. :/ (I later discovered that he greatly prefers the tuna and cheese pill pockets to the salmon ones! Picky animal.).
Third, I got fancy tuna-flavored liquid meds for him and tried putting it in his food, then just squirting it into his mouth. Each time, he caught on and struggled and fought against it even more.
I resorted to getting some flavorless gelatin capsules online to put his pills in (I bought a pack of 1,000 capsules on Amazon, which should last me a couple of years!). I do have to cut these down to a more cat friendly size, but it doesn’t take too long if i just do a whole bunch of them at once. I had to experiment with the best ways to use these capsules - for a while I actually was putting the capsules into a pill pocket and THEN covering it with tuna to get him to eat it, but I FINALLY FINALLY found a method that works. I’ve been getting him to take his medicine consistently in this way since April! HALLELUJAH.
It only took me NINE MONTHS to figure out a system that consistently works!
So. What I do.
My Foolproof Method of Getting Schrodinger to take his damn pills:
Cut a flavorless gelatin capsule down to a cat friendly size.
Put his pill into the capsule.
Put the capsule into a tuna and cheese pill pocket, Schrody’s favorite.
[I actually work in batches and put a ton of pill/capsule/pill pockets together at a time. I store them all together in a bag so the pill pockets don’t dry out. The capsules soften up a little within the pill pocket, but Schrody doesn’t seem to notice or care.]
Once Schrodinger starts eating his morning wet food, I put the pill pocket into the food immediately next to where he’s scarfing, so he eats it up without even really noticing it. It works every time!
I’ve also started squirting a little salmon oil on the pill pocket lately, as he’s been walking stiffly lately and I’ve read that it can help relieve joint pain in senior cats (he hasn’t been taking it long enough for me to really tell if it’s working, but he does lap up EVERY BIT OF IT, so clearly it tastes good).
The pills combined with more exposure to friendly people on a regular basis (because of the theater troupe that’s been rehearsing in our basement all summer) have REALLY helped him. He’ll actually come out to greet my friends now! He seems much more relaxed and happier.
He still hates my husband John, but that seems to be pretty mutual. Not sure there’s anything I can do about that at this point! But