Scared cat on feline medication

by Natasha
(Kansas City)

Dear Dr. Neely,

We have a complicated situation with our cat. Our 10 year old kitty, Maxx, is on feline hyperthyroidism medication, 1/2 pill twice per day. He is also taking liver cat medication once a day, but we hope this levels out and that we will eventually discontinue his cat liver medication.

Maxx is a very scared cat. He hides from everyone but my husband and me. My dad has visited frequently enough that Maxx will hide in the same room or will cautiously exit the room instead of running. From all others, however, he runs, hides, and can't be found for about an hour. We now give a small sedative to bring my cat to the veterinarian because he fights so hard against the cat carrier and hardly lets the vet take him out to examine him.

This leaves only my husband and I the ones who are able to give Maxx his cat medications at this point, every 12 hours.

Big question-- How in the world can we take a vacation or leave home for days and find a way to care for Maxx?

The veterinarian has recommended boarding my cat. As I've explained, Maxx will likely be very upset if we do. A while back, my cat got a urinary tract infection when my mom stayed with us for a week once, and the vet said the stress may have caused the UTI.

Your answers have been so helpful. I hope you have ideas for us, too!

Best regards,

Dear Natasha,

Thank you for your kind words. Unfortunately, there is no great or easy answer to your cat question. There are many different factors to consider when it comes to cat care while you are away.

Your kitty absolutely needs to be getting his cat medication while you are away from home. Cats are more comfortable being in their own home, even more so than being around their owners. Cats prefer their own environment because they are creatures of habit, and even the slightest change can throw them off. With this considered, perhaps the best option would be for your Dad to stay in your home while you are away, since your cat has shown some comfort and familiarity with him. This is, of course, assuming your Dad can give your cat his medications.

If your kitty cannot be found to be given his feline medication, though, this would be unhealthy for him. In this case, if you trust your veterinarian and the technicians at the veterinary hospital, it may be best to board your cat with your vet. Although he will likely be stressed by the change in his environment, your cat will be in the care of veterinary professionals, and will get his feline medication on schedule. And, while stress can certainly cause other cat health problems such as cat urinary tract infections, as has happened for your kitty previously, your cat will ideally be examined daily for any signs of cat illnesses.

My only other suggestion would be to consider bringing your cat with you on your vacation if possible. While the stress of the travel may be difficult on him, being with you and knowing for certain that he will be getting his cat medications as directed is important, so this would be your next best option.

Going away with a sick kitty at home is never an easy thing to do, and although none of the above options are perfect solutions, taking a vacation is certainly doable. The top priority is to make sure that Maxx receives his cat medications, and you can begin to help him with whatever stress he has endured during the vacation when you get home.

Wishing you all the best,
Dr. Neely

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