Clomipramine For Cats
Nowadays, antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs aren’t only for people: veterinarians prescribe them for pets with behavioral issues and mood difficulties not alleviated by other means. Some cats get anxious or misbehave, and develop problems like separation anxiety, over grooming, aggression, or soiling outside the litter box. Some become withdrawn for no apparent reason. Or they struggle to adapt to a new addition to the family, whether it’s a baby, or another pet. In these situations, responsible owners’ first port of call is often products like pheromone diffusers and natural remedies, or a trip to an animal behaviorist. But those don’t always work.
Some cats, like some humans, need more help than others. Clomipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant, is one of the medications which can calm cats down. It’s available under brand names Anafranil and Clomicalm. Tablets of 5mg, 20mg and 80mg are manufactured for cats and dogs. (The tablet sizes for humans are different.)
Your veterinarian should check the cat’s medical history before prescribing clomipramine, to make sure there are no contraindications. Be sure to advise if your cat has had seizures, or kidney and liver problems – in some cases those mean a different treatment is more suitable. Most medicines have potential side effects, and clomipramine for cats is no exception. These are usually mild, but can include water retention, changes in heart rhythm, slower movement in the gut or pressure in the eyes. If a cat is on clomipramine long-term, the veterinarian may do annual kidney and liver fuction tests. Some other drugs are not recommended for a cat who is taking clomipramine, including cisapride and cimetidine for the digestive system, certain thyroid medicines, antihistamines, and tramadol.
Clomipramine for cats needs to be given daily, and it can take several weeks after the first dose for the beneficial effects to be seen. That’s because this tricyclic type of drug works by gradually increasing neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Don’t worry if you can’t see a change in the cat’s behavior after only a few days of tablets.
Clomipramine should help your cat feel better emotionally, and to react less to things that upset him or her, but behavior modification training may be needed as well if bad habits were acquired. Many people get better more quickly by using both medication and therapy, and it’s the same with cats: a less anxious feline will learn new constructive, household-friendly behavior more quickly.